Telecomm and Russia


First, who is NOT pulling out of Russia – at least not yet. Cloudflare and Akamai are not going to pull out of Russia. They say that pulling out would not hurt the Russian government but would hurt Russian citizens trying to access content outside of the country. Cloudflare says that if they shut down, the government would celebrate, and that, possibly, could be true. Credit: ZDNet

On the other hand, backbone provider Cogent pulled out of Russia a few days ago. I suspect this was a combination of optics and the fact that Russia was unlikely going to be able to pay them due to sanctions and their economy crashing.

Now another massive Internet backbone provider, Centurylink, AKA Lumen, AKA Level 3, pick a name, is pulling out. Initially, they said they were just going to stop selling in Russia – like anyone in Russia is worried, right now, about ordering new Internet service, but quickly came around to realize the optics of that didn’t work and said that they are disconnecting from Russia.

That will hurt Russia because Lumen is the top international Internet provider in the country (although, as a percentage of revenue, it is minor). Among its customers are the Russian telecomm giants Rostelcom and TTK. Besides that, all three major cellular providers – MTS, Megafon and VEON – are customers.

It probably doesn’t help that Russia passed a law that penalizes anyone who tells the truth about the invasion of Ukraine could be sentenced to 15 years in a Russian Goolag.

Depending how many other carriers join Lumen and Cogent, it could set Russian business back 40 or 50 years, which is the objective. When rich Russian business people discover that their wealth is going to disappear, they might, gently, suggest to Vlad that he should stop, or, perhaps, something bad might happen to him. They tend to play for keeps there. Credit: Brian Krebs

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