Another US internet backbone provider shuts down services in Russia

Lumen, a US company that provides essential internet services, says it is withdrawing from Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. It is the second major company of its kind to do so in less than a week, following a similar announcement by rival Cogent last Friday, and is the latest example of a “digital Iron Curtain” growing between Russia and the West.

In a blog post, Lumen said it would close all business in Russia “due to an increased security risk” in the country.

“We have not yet experienced any network disruptions, but given the increasingly uncertain environment and increased risk from government action, we have taken this step to ensure the security of our and our customers’ networks, as well as the continued integrity of the global internet. ‘ said Lumen.

The company downplayed the impact of this move, stressing that it has no consumer customers in Russia and that the business services it provides there are “extremely small”.

However, this statement does not seem to fully reflect the scope of Lumen’s activities. Network analyst firm Kentik says Lumen is “the largest international transit provider to Russia”. and that its customers include the largest telecom company in the country, Rostelecom; the large broadband provider TransTelecom (TTK); and three major mobile operators, MTS, Megafon and VEON.

These companies may switch to services provided by other companies, but the loss of first Cogent and then Lumen will strain existing capabilities and likely disrupt Internet services in Russia. As Kentik CEO Doug Madory said: The Washington Post: “This is going to add up. That would be noticeable, I think.”

It is the latest example of Russia’s increasing isolation from Western internet services — a trend in which Russia is blocking or restricting access to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as US companies restricting the services they offer in Russia. This includes companies such as Google and YouTube that are halting ad sales in the country, and Amazon Web Services that is blocking new Russian cloud computing accounts.

While some experts argue that these measures are a necessary part of the broader package of economic sanctions against Russia, others argue that these measures will only further isolate the country and impair its citizens’ ability to access independent news about the war in Russia. Ukraine.

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