BROOMFIELD, Colo., Jan. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Level 3 Communications, Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) and XO Communications today announced they have entered into a long-term settlement-free Internet traffic exchange agreement, also commonly referred to as a peering agreement, that is based on the bit-mile balance approach.

The peering agreement ensures that customers on each of the two Internet service providers’ networks can continue to exchange data with customers on the other service provider’s network efficiently and cost-effectively. It is based on the bit-mile peering approach which measures both the volume of traffic exchanged and the distance over which that traffic is carried by each network. In order to keep the relationship equitable and settlement-free, both networks carry approximately the same bit-miles of data, a model that promotes efficient, high-quality service for customers, while ensuring a balanced cost burden across each network.

As the Internet continues to grow and evolve, this approach resolves the imbalances that can occur in traffic patterns and that would otherwise result in increased network costs to one provider or the other involved in a peering relationship.  When asymmetry occurs, the Internet traffic carriers agree to adjust traffic routing and interconnections to maintain a fair and equitable relationship between the two networks. They must also maintain the ability to exchange traffic in a scalable, resilient and reliable manner so that consumers can enjoy the best possible Internet experience.  The bit-mile arrangement ensures this consumer benefit while doing so in a way that is equitable to both Level 3 and XO.

“Level 3’s primary focus is on providing quality service for Internet consumers,” said Jack Waters , Level 3’s chief technology officer. “We look forward to working with our peering partners to drive broader adoption of this bit-mile model to ensure fair and equitable interconnection. We are also working with providers of traffic-flow monitoring systems to make the measurement process straightforward and consistent across the industry.”

“XO Communications supports equitable settlement-free peering to ensure fair and unconstrained interconnection,” said Randy Nicklas , senior vice president and chief technology officer, at XO Communications. “This agreement will ensure a balanced backbone cost burden between our two networks as we continue to grow while providing high-quality service for our respective customers.”

The peering agreement also contains provisions to add capacity and establish new interconnection locations between the two networks to stay ahead of growing traffic demand. This approach offers flexibility to each network while improving performance and reliability for customers.

Press Release