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Tier 1 Internet Service Provider (Tier 1 ISP)

A Tier 1 ISP or a Tier 1 Internet Service Provider is able to establish a direct connection with global Internet backbone. The access to the Internet backbone is limited to a defined region and facilitates a voluntary exchange of information within networks.

A Tier 1 Internet Service Provider belongs to the most superior class of ISPs and has the ability of maintaining region's entire routing table. With facility of its own IP network, a Tier 1 ISP connects with the primary Internet backbone or other peers in different regions.

Internet Service Providers belonging to Tier 2 and Tier 3 categories, buy bandwidth from Tier 1 Internet Service Provider to facilitate Internet connectivity to individual users. It should be noted that a Tier 1 ISP is not supposed to charge for any exchange of information and traffic with other peers in different regions. Payment of peering fees or transit charges disqualifies an ISP as a Tier 1 ISP.

The description of Tiers in case of Internet Service Providers is based on a common understanding and is not governed by any international authority. It is very difficult for an Internet Service Provider to act as a Tier 1 ISP by stringently adhering to the described norms.

Usually large telecommunication providers exchange or buy resources of fiber among each other instead of actual exchange of any monetary settlements. The arrangement of peering is established to acquire equality among Tier 1 Internet Service Providers of different regions and to have a common basis of understanding.

In terms of ethics of peering policies, a Tier 1 Internet Service Provider is not open to new peering association and is supposed to maintain the current peering relation with all important regional networks pertaining to a particular region. The Internet community recognizes many Tier 1 ISPs such as Orange, AT&T, GTT, Cogent Communications and so forth.

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