Comcast, Level 3 Cut New Interconnection Deal

Agree to ‘Maintain Ample Capacity’ for Internet Traffic Exchanges
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Putting some bad blood behind them, Comcast and Level 3 Communications announced Thursday that they have signed a long-term interconnection deal that “will help both companies meet their customers’ needs into the next decade and beyond.”

Financial terms were not disclosed, but they said the deal expands on agreements already in place between the two companies, and that Comcast and Level 3 will enhance their existing network capacity while extending their mutual interconnection agreements, ensuring that both maintain ample capacity to exchange Internet traffic between their networks. The agreement covers both companies’ existing networks as well as any expansion that may occur during the term of the agreement, they said.

It also comes into play about five years after Level 3 and Comcast went public with a contentious peering dispute, with Level 3 complaining that Comcast was erecting a “toll booth” on the Internet soon after Level 3 landed a deal to be a primary content delivery channel for Netflix streaming traffic. At the time, Comcast argued that Level 3 wanted Comcast to accept a huge increase in traffic from Level 3 for free. 

Apparently, that’s all water under the bridge now.

"We are delighted to strengthen our relationship with Level 3,” John Schanz, Comcast Cable’s chief network officer, said in a statement. “We place great value on our relationships with network partners like Level 3 and are continually seeking mutually beneficial, market-driven agreements that enhance value throughout the network." 

"We believe the agreement will benefit Level 3’s and Comcast’s customers for years to come," added Jack Waters, chief technology officer for Level 3. "Our companies share the goal of enabling a growing, secure and resilient interconnection environment."

Comcast and Netflix announced a separate paid interconnection deal in February 2014. 

Level 3 announced similar interconnection deals with Verizon Communications on April 23, and with AT&T on May 11.

Those deals all come together as the FCC’s embattled, new Open Internet rules, which reclassify broadband under Title II, are scheduled to go into effect June 12.

The FCC has until noon ET tomorrow (May 22) to tell the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit why it should not grant cable and telco petitions to stay the FCC's Title II reclassification order while the court hears the underlying case.