Does anyone actually like CenturyLink?

I’ve never heard a single positive word about them, and I’ve had my fair share of issues myself (as an indirect customer). But it seems that lots of people put them in their transit blend. Other than lack of options, why would anyone use them? To me, it just seems like asking for trouble…but maybe I’m missing something?

This is on the Legacy Level 3 side which is generally much better and still largely separate (according to my former co-workers). So say what you want about CTL but this is an LVLT issue.

  • Mike Bolitho

We (eyeball network in Germany) cancelled all our Level3 transit links last year since it consisted mostly of traffic of their own CDN and they refused to lower the price per mbit/s or set up peering for the CDN traffic. Now we receive their CDN traffic via a different Tier1, for a fraction of the price.

Operating a CDN inside a Tier1 network is just shitty behaviour.

- vidister

No clue. They’ve been progressively getting worse since 2010. I have no idea why anyone chooses them and they shouldn’t be considered a Tier1 carrier with the level of issues they have.

CenturyLink a network which has a long history of troubles, merged with Level3/TWT/Telcove/etc which had, IMOHO, excellent technical history. They’ve created some bastard which is less than what Level3 once was. As legacy Level3, I still have most of my original team, but I’m confident that whatever caused CL’s messes has worked its way into the works.

LQ. Marshall | Sr. Network Engineer | RegEd

I’ve got CL Fiber+ ent service with BGP for my own v4 and v6 space.

There’s been two outages in the several years it’s been installed - once when the major nationwide outage happened, and the other when Track Utils touched our dedicated strand and left us without service for two days while CL tried to figure out what they did and where we were plugged into now.

So, been fine here with us getting the level of service we paid for outside of those two incidents...

It’s just due to network size. Horrid service and reliability aside, if you have enough eyeballs, application providers will want to directly peer, and if you have enough app providers on net then access providers will want to peer. With all the acquisitions, they have a ton of fiber in the ground and they keep rolling the networks in, causing people to continue to buy their circuits.

The service has been horrible compared to the twtelecom days. Fortunately their layer two stuff seems to be managed independently of their IP networks, so those remained up.


Also adding GLBC to this list but as a customer for several CL products I wish we would have more protection and isolation for our region. Even we are working in global BGP terms nowadays, that incident makes the idea of a global CSMA/CD switch more attractive.

A similar event was on 2019-10-07, when several Level3/CL global routers had rolling reboots.

In general and after the CL/L3 merge we have seen a lot of good changes locally. Time to build upon this, act local, think global - a company this size and that is in charge of such "a lot of Internet", also needs to made aware of their responsibility from head to toe. And that can also be done in positive ways.

Yeah. What I think a lot of us liked was Global Crossing. When Global Crossing was sucked into L3, L3 managed to retain a fair bit of what was good about Global Crossing. The L3 got sucked into CenturyLink, and CenturyLink managed to retain a fair bit of what was good about L3. But. There’s still some inefficiency there. Aggregation isn’t the cleanest way to build a network.


I’ve never heard a single positive word about them

There is rarely much in the way of emails/messages sent about things when they work well.

Maybe we should start an “Uptime mailing list” ha! But yeah, when things are working well nobody talks about it. The CTL network is very large. However, it’s clear their blast radius mentality isn’t real great. We saw this yesterday. We saw this Dec 2018. Global outages shouldn’t be a thing.

  • Mike Bolitho


True, but I was including conversations with colleagues where we generally do discuss carriers we like.

What's a Tier 1 network :-)?


For us, the account management took a turn for the worse after CL picked
them up. But we only need them during contract renewals. So it's not a

We get transit from all the top 7 providers, so an issue with one of
them is never a problem.

It's moments like this where their offers to put all your eggs in their
one basket for all of your interconnect PoP's for a "marvelous" price,
should remind you to choose diversity of connectivity, rather.


The only ones that like CL are the ones with no options. CL is now an
operational threat to the whole Internet due to their hours-long time
to withdraw routes, something that having other providers or not being
a direct customer doesn't prevent.

The outage that happened, while long, was the type that every big
enough infrastructure will face one day or another. But their
inability to process BGP messages is unacceptable, and it has been
like that for a long time.


This is probably the most sage piece of advice.

None of us are immune to this occurrence, regardless of size. I our only
hope is that the first one is the last one, per job :-).


This is probably the most sage piece of advice.

None of us are immune to this occurrence, regardless of size. Our only
hope is that the first one is the last one, per job :-).