PSINet's new policy has been in the works since late August, as reported by CNET's NEWS.COM. The company's decision has been welcomed with open arms by small ISPs, which have recently been forced to pay to "peer" with at least one large ISP, UUNet Technologies.
Peering allows ISPs of similar size to route each other's email or Web data to places on both of their networks.
UUNet announced in May that it would no longer peer with ISPs that couldn't handle traffic at its own rate. The national ISP said smaller providers that weren't up to par on traffic would have to pay $2,000 a month for a T1 connection and $6,000 a month for a fractional T3 connection.
"Telecommunication carriers appear to be tightening their grip on Internet access for small ISPs," PSINet's CEO and president William Schrader said in a statement. "PSINet seeks to preserve an open future for the Internet by assuring broad access for all ISPs through our peering initiatives."
PSINet's initiative was prompted by a separate deal it made in July in which it gained 10,000 miles of OC-48 fiber backbone, which transmits data at 2.4 gbps. PSINet gave up 20 percent of its equity to digital network supplier IXC Communications in exchange for the bandwidth. PSINet will get its first allotment of the new fiber in January.