Who is a Tier 1? (was: Cogent/Level 3 depeering)

Cogent and L3 had _no_ interconnectivity besides the direct peering
relationship. L3 knew it, Cogent knew it. L3 made a decision to
sever that direct relationship, and bifurcation ensued. This was not
only not a surprised, it was expected. Whether Cogent is a "tier
one" or not is irrelevant to the decision, and the resulting effects.

I suspect that the consumer definition of "Tier 1" is something
like "provides good connectivity to the entire Internet". By this
definition, L3 and Cogent are not currently tier 1 providers.
The consumers that I had in mind are the VP finance types who
approve the spend on Internet services.

A few years ago you could probably bamboozle them about your
secret sauce containing "transit free", "peering", "x exchange points"
and so on. Today I suspect they are less susceptible to that
kind of story and more likely to rely on the experience of
existing customers. And if the existing customers of L3 and
Cogent are experiencing agony, what kind of marketing story
does that tell?

--Michael Dillon