Con-Ed Steals the 'Net

An interesting event took place last week in New York. Basically an ISP started telling the Internet that traffic for another ISP should be sent to them instead. This is the equivilent of Cingular telling the world to direct all calls to Verizon to them instead. There is a lot of discussion on if this was intentional or an accident, either way it shouldn’t happen. What’s really amazing is how frequent this type of thing really is.
From the message posted on Nanog:

All Panix services are currently unreachable from large portions of the Internet (though not all of it). This is because Con Ed Communications, a competence-challenged ISP in New York, is announcing our routes to the Internet. In English, that means that they are claiming that all our traffic should be passing through them, when of course it should not. Those portions of the net that are “closer” (in network topology terms) to Con Ed will send them our traffic, which makes us unreachable.

A good summary Renesys Blog: Con-Ed Steals the ‘Net

Why did this happen? Probably someone at Con Edison made a mistake, although this series of events is messy and complicated enough that it’s hard to imagine exactly what kind of mistake it could have been. Perhaps they’ll comment here or on the NANOG mailing list. Probably not.