How can Cogent Services Cost so Little for So Much?
Up until Cogent was formed in 1999, there was only one type of Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the country.
The typical service provider offered Internet connectivity on leased capacity from existing networks built
for voice. Since the ISP was typically a middle-man, it needed to mark up its prices on top of the rent it
paid to the telco, creating an environment where every megabit was hoarded and oversubscribed with more customers
than it could manage. This was done to maximize the revenue from each megabit rented.
Cogent Changes the ISP Landscape
Cogent Communications started in August 1999 with a very simple hypothesis: Can a company, starting from scratch,
turn bandwidth into a commodity product? It was Cogent's belief that by building its own IP data only network,
independent of the traditional voice-based networks owned by the RBOCs, Cogent could make bandwidth plentiful
while reducing its operating costs significantly.
Over 85 markets, over 21,000 fiber route miles, and 5,000 customers later, Cogent has proven that bandwidth can
be treated as a commodity. Cogent is now a Tier One ISP and the lowest cost provider of bandwidth on a per megabit
basis in the country. Cogent remains focused on delivering ultra-high speed Internet access to businesses in
over 85 markets across North America and Europe.
By building an all-optical network for only data, Cogent reduced the cost of building a voice-based network by 98%.
You may ask: Is a network designed for data as reliable as a voice-based network? The answer is a resounding "YES".
It is actually more reliable and with an SLA guaranteeing 99.99% on-net connectivity, Cogent ranks as one of the most
reliable networks in the country.
Part of the reliability can be attributed to our Layer 3 protected network (the data layer). The combination of a
Layer 3 network and an abundant supply of bandwidth due to the use of DWDM (Dense Wave Division Multiplexing)
eliminates any jitter (lost packets of information) and allows Cogent to provide you with dedicated bandwidth.
Layer 3 also allows Cogent to use routers to transport massive amounts of data effeciently and effectively across
Also adding to reliability is the fact that Cogent's network has been built in a series of physical rings providing
two diverse paths to every building. In the event that a fiber is cut, the router at Layer 3 detects the cut and
redirects the traffic around the ring in the other direction restoring communication within one second. This was
put to the test on September 11, 2001 when Cogent's network was the only one in lower Manhattan to remain operational
and continue to serve its customers' needs.
As you can see, upfront planning is everything and it is the key to Cogent's success. Our unique network has solved
all the major problems plaguing the thousands of other ISPs that ride on voice-based networks. And our ability to
remain focused on delivering the lowest priced bandwidth in the country enables us to keep meeting our goals and
If you remember anything about Cogent it should be that:
- Cogent owns its own network
- The simplicity of the product offerings reduces costs
- Ring architecture and Layer 3 protection create a more reliable network
- DWDM technology provides Cogent with so much capacity, we can basically give bandwidth away
- Cogent is meeting its business plan goals