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Internet backbone provider Lumen is ending service in Russia

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Lumen Technologies, a US-based company that owns one of the biggest internet backbones and operates a substantial portion of the world’s internet traffic, announced that it will no longer serve businesses and organizations in Russia. A few days ago, Cogent, another internet backbone provider, also announced an exit from Russia.

According to Kentik, a firm that monitors internet infrastructure, Lumen is the largest foreign transit provider in Russia, serving Russia’s telecom giants TTK and Rostelecom, and the top three mobile carriers MTS, VEON, and Megafon.

Initially, Lumen had said it would not accept new business from Russia. However, on Tuesday, the company said continuing to serve Russians was not justifiable.

“Life has taken a turn in Russia and Lumen is unable to continue to operate in this market,” Lumen said in a published statement. “The business services we provide are extremely small and very limited as is our physical presence. However, we are taking steps to immediately stop business in the region.”

“We decided to disconnect the network due to increased security risk inside Russia,” the statement continues. “We have not yet experienced network disruptions but given the increasingly uncertain environment and the heightened risk of state action, we took this move to ensure the security of our and our customers’ networks, as well as the ongoing integrity of the global internet.”

Kentik’s director of internet analysis, Doug Madory, called Lumen’s move unprecedented.

“A backbone carrier disconnecting its customers in a country the size of Russia is without precedent in the history of the internet and reflects the intense global reaction that the world has had over the invasion of Ukraine,” he said.

Last week, domain name system oversight organization Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) refused Ukraine’s request to remove Russian domains.

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