Some time ago Allan Chong said:
Only time I've heard mention from ISPs about tiers is usually
from some small ISP claiming that they are a "tier 1" provider
because they own some piece of equipment at a NAP.
We call ourselves a "Second Level Provider". We get our connection
directly from SprintLink.
I explain it to them as "First Level" would be Sprint, MCI, UUNET,
etc. They have national backbones and are at multiple NAPs.
"Second Level" providers get their connectivity from "First Level"
"Third Level" prodivers get their connectivity from "Second Level
Providers". I generally note that there do not seem to be a whole
lot of "Third Level" providers.
I also note that the distinctions between the levels are quite fuzzy?
I can't really think of NetCom as in the same league as Sprint or
MCI, but by that definition they are a first level provider.
This whole thing reminds me of the useless "bandwidth to net"
that is listed so prominently in Boardwatch. BTW: Has anyone
used a program called treno to measure bandwidth availability on
the Net from different points?
We counter the "we have more bandwidth than you have" by pointing
them to our bandwidth utilization stats on our web site. We publish
the utilization of our uplinks to the 'Net for any and all so see.