Evaluating Tier 1 Internet providers

Justin M. Streiner streiner at cluebyfour.org
Tue Aug 27 17:35:52 UTC 2013

On Tue, 27 Aug 2013, Eric Louie wrote:

> Tier 1 = Internet backbone providers (United States - AT&T, UUNET, Sprint,
> AboveNet/Zayo, Cogent, Qwest/CenturyLink, L3/GBLX).  However, I might be
> better served with a Tier 2 for reachability as pointed out in another
> response.

Some of those providers are probably not in the DFZ.  I know Cogent has 
been involved in some peering spats in the past.  I don't know off-hand if 
Zayo/Above lives in the DFZ.

> When you say "level of service", what are you referring to?  Customer
> service?  Service level agreement (which is pretty much the same across all
> the Tier 1's)?

Mainly customer service.  Things like how easy it is to get a clued 
individual on the phone when there's an issue, turnaround time for things 
like BGP filter update requests.  Like you mentioned, most providers' SLA 
terms are likely to look pretty similar if you were to compare them 

I would also look at which providers are on-net in your location, or would 
be willing to build into your location for a reasonable cost.  One thing 
you want to avoid is all of your providers using the same local loop 
provider to get into the building, or local dark fiber providers using 
the same right-of-way / conduit / manhole to get into your building.
Many providers might subcontract the physical last-mile construction to a 
local dark fiber provider.  Entrance diversity and last-mile diversity is 
something you can probably have more influence over than how provider X 
gets between Chicago and New York.

Many providers will build into your location if they're in your city if 
you either pay the build costs, or are purchasing enough service that the 
construction costs can amortized over the term of the contract.  If they 
amortize, make sure you keep that in mind when the contract is up for 
re-negotiation, so they're no longer trying to ding you for construction 
costs that you've already paid :)


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