Inter-provider relations

Interesting speech from Peter Kline at NANOG seems that
AGIS's peering requirements are now so strict that AGIS today would not
peer with AGIS of only a few months ago.
  Then there's Peter's comment to Ron Burleson, Cheif Operating
Officer of CAIS Internet (some of you know that CAIS had a very good
relationship with Net99, which continued for a while under AGIS.) "Ron,
we're going to squish you like a bug."
  Peter is doing wonders for inter-provider relations. What do
y'all say that the rest of us follow the older, more friendly model,
instead of trying to kill each other?
  Sure, a lot of us are in competition. From today's speech, it
seems that AGIS is is more competition than the rest of us.
  But personally, if I were a small or mid-size provider, I'd rather
buy service from somebody that I've seen to be in /friendly/ competition
with their peers -- that way, once I got big enough to strike out on my
own, I could stay friendly with my old provider on a peer instead of a
customer level. This was the intention with the Net99 deal, back when
Net99 was known as "the backbone that doesn't suck."

  Back to the point -- like it or not, we all rely on each other and
each others' networks to make the Internet happen.
  We can follow the AGIS model and cut each others' throats until we
really are just a bunch of autonomous systems with the occasional path
between, or we can interconnect -- network, to use a more laoded term.
  I think we should be a network.

  (Please note that while I am speaking only for myself, CAIS's
business plan is more on the friendly side.)

Remember that it is almost a year since Peter Kline told the community
that it needed LAWYERS to whip it into shape and that AGIS would provide
all the lawyers needed.

From a press release on the AGIS web server

Press release: Little Rock, AR: October 23, 1996-- ALLTEL Corporation will
invest **up to** $12.5 million and become a minority investor in Apex
Global Information Services, Inc. (AGIS), one of only six global providers
of Internet access, Joe T. Ford, chairman and CEO of ALLTEL, has
announced. [Cook: emphasis added.]

AGIS is currently serving more than 200 cities in the United States with
points of presence (POPs) for Internet access, and has dedicated service
available in almost 50 countries. In addition, the company provides
backbone services to more than 700 of the estimated 3000 Internet service
providers (ISPs) around the world.

Cook: 700 isps? Gosh. That's impressive. Anyone got any data on when they
overtook MCI, Sprint, and UUNET in market share? Leased line access to
almost 50 countries round the world? Any one seen the map of their global
network? Anyone got a list of their foreign pops? Or are they claiming
LDDS lines and POPs in this country and abroad as though they (AGIS) owned
them all.

Press release: "This venture is an investment by ALLTEL in the
communications link of the future," Ford continued. "ALLTEL is making this
investment because AGIS is one of only six global providers of Internet

Cook: six global providers: Hmmm. Might they be referring to Sprint, AGIS
UUNET, PSI, MCI, and ANS? The so called gang or club of six that a year
ago were the exclusive direct peers at all the major exchanges? If they
are, then, by process of elimnation, BBN is not a global provider -which I
think is news to BBN, nor is AT&T, nor is Advantis, nor is Compuserve, nor
are a lot of other major players with more than a fresh12.5 million behind
them. Gee. I wonder if BBN realizes that AGIS has relegated it to second
rank status?

Or perhaps they are referring to those global providers who are beginning
to move most of their traffic through private inter connects - and in so
doing are becoming a new internet apex? In this case they are not even one
of the five let alone six. Here the five are MCI, Sprint, BBN, UUNET and
ANS. I have been talking to a lot of sources, none of which is aware of
AGIS having any private Interconnects with these five.

Press release: It is these providers that have management control of the
Internet routing tables, which are the directories that identify the
location of all Internet users.

Cook: An enormously inaccurate statement. I would surmise that if any six
providers had the kind of control being talked about, there would have
been a brouhaha on mail lists worse than that directed against NSI, and
that there would be anti-trust action under way. Of course they also tell
you how to get to other routers and not a thing about the location of the
several tens of millions of individual internet users.

Of course this is a press release and those who place too great a trust in
the overall accuracy of press releases are likely to be disappointed. In
my opinion however, the general cluelessness displayed by this press
release reaches new heights. It leaves me to surmise that the folk at
ALLTEL know not a lot about the internet. It would be interesting to
review the due dilligence that was excercised in putting this agreement
together. For example did anyone at ALLTELL ask for archives of which was started in January by agis customers
complaining about agis service? A very recent post from this mail list

Well of course they have. According to the peering policy announced today
BBN wouldn't qualify as a new AGIS peer. (Neither would UUnet, PSI, or


P.S. - At least AGIS came out and said what the deal is. That is