Mass-Market Open Internet Transparency Disclosures

TIME WARNER CABLE DESCRIPTION OF NETWORK MANAGEMENT PRACTICES, PERFORMANCE, AND COMMERCIAL TERMS FOR MASS-MARKET BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICES (AS OF JUNE 12, 2015)

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has adopted rules that require broadband Internet access service providers such as Time Warner Cable to publish certain information about their services. See 47 C.F.R. §§ 8.1-8.11. In accordance with those rules, this document provides information concerning three aspects of Time Warner Cable’s mass-market broadband Internet access service offerings, which the FCC defines as “a service marketed and sold on a standardized basis to residential customers, small businesses, and other end-user customers such as schools and libraries.” Those three aspects include: (1) the practices that Time Warner Cable employs to manage its broadband network, (2) key performance characteristics of Time Warner Cable’s mass-market broadband offerings, and (3) certain commercial terms applicable to these services. These disclosures are intended to provide information to customers who currently subscribe to Time Warner Cable’s mass-market broadband Internet access services or who may do so in the future, as well to providers of applications, services, and content that make use of Time Warner Cable’s network to reach users.

The broadband marketplace is dynamic and constantly changing. While this document is intended to be thorough and current, Time Warner Cable expects to continue evaluating its approach to network management in response to changes in technology and Internet usage, and it reserves the right to adopt new or different network management practices. Time Warner Cable will provide updates regarding such changes when warranted, and the information provided in this statement may be revised and updated from time to time. In addition, other aspects of Time Warner Cable’s services—such as prices and performance capabilities—are subject to change. Updated information can always be found by visiting Time Warner Cable’s website at http://www.timewarnercable.com.


I.  NETWORK MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

PLEASE READ THIS DOCUMENT CAREFULLY. IT SERVES AS AN “ADDENDUM” TO THE RESIDENTIAL SERVICES SUBSCRIBER AND OTHER CUSTOMER AGREEMENTS THAT GOVERN YOUR USE OF THE TIME WARNER CABLE SERVICES, INCLUDING YOUR USE OF THE TWC WiFi™ SERVICE. THE ADDENDUM INCLUDES THESE AND OTHER IMPORTANT TERMS:

  • Network Congestion
  • Time Warner Cable does not block specific applications or traffic that may tend to increase congestion. In addition, there are no network management practices that would be triggered by a customer’s use of the network prior to or during a period of congestion. Instead, it focuses on anticipating and avoiding congestion by monitoring network usage and augmenting capacity in a targeted manner. By focusing on forecasting subscriber and usage growth in advance and expanding network capacity to accommodate it, Time Warner Cable aims to ensure that sufficient bandwidth exists to provide robust service. If Time Warner Cable’s network were to experience significant congestion, it may apply traffic management practices to ensure the most efficient use of its network, including by giving priority (by dropping fewer packets) to certain traffic. In particular, in the event of such congestion, Time Warner Cable would accord priority to (i) network control bits, without which the network as a whole would not function; (ii) traffic for services classified by the FCC as non-broadband Internet access service (“non-BIAS”) data services, such as voice-over-Internet-protocol (“VoIP”) services; and (iii) broadband Internet access traffic originated by or terminated to business customers. In the latter case, this network management practice would rarely (if ever) be applied, as peak usage times for residential and business customers generally do not overlap. As Internet traffic volumes continue to grow, Time Warner Cable will continue to evaluate its practices in this respect and will revise its approach as needed to deliver a quality online experience.

  • Device Attachments
  • Time Warner Cable mass-market customers have two options:  they can lease a modem from Time Warner Cable or purchase their own modem at retail. Customers who choose to use equipment that they provide are free to attach any device, including modems, to their service as long as such devices do not harm the network. Time Warner Cable currently recommends a broad range of qualified, DOCSIS-compatible modems in connection with its mass-market broadband services, and regularly modifies its list of compatible devices as new equipment is introduced in the marketplace. A list of those modems is available at Time Warner Cable Compatible Modem List.

  • Network Security Measures
  • Time Warner Cable actively seeks to address the threats posed by harmful and unwanted traffic and thus to protect the security and integrity of its network and its customers. Indeed malicious software (often referred to as “malware”) such as viruses, worms, spyware, and distributed denial of service (“DDoS”) attacks not only can adversely affect the network, but also can result in harm to customers’ computers and the quality of the service they receive, compromise their data, and harm third parties as well. Unwanted communications such as spam can lead to similar problems.

    Time Warner Cable provides a range of tools to its customers to enable them to respond to such risks, offering both free and premium options for anti-virus and anti-phishing software, spyware, and adware. Information on these various options is available at www.timewarnercable.com/en/support/internet/topics/internet-security.htmlAll inbound e-mail is scanned for viruses, and messages found to contain viruses are discarded. In addition, to reduce spam, Time Warner Cable limits outbound e-mails to a set number of messages a day and checks all inbound e-mail against a series of reputation services in order to identify and block known spammers, consistent with common industry practices. All inbound e-mail is spam-scanned, and messages tagged as spam are deposited in a special spam folder, accessible by webmail.

    In addition, Time Warner Cable employs certain practices on a case-by-case and as-needed basis to protect its network and its customers against DDOS attacks. These practices (which could include limiting traffic to DNS and DHCP servers) could be triggered if Time Warner Cable detects traffic levels that significantly exceed certain baselines; the applicable thresholds are not disclosed here, in order to ensure that these security practices remain effective and cannot be deliberately circumvented. Further, in accordance with common industry practices (and in response to demonstrated harms), Time Warner Cable may on occasion and for limited periods of time inhibit certain Internet ports that are commonly misused to harm networks, but please note that this in no way prevents any Time Warner Cable customer or broadband Internet access user from accessing lawful Internet content.

  • Lawful Applications
  • Time Warner Cable does not prevent users of its service from sending and receiving the lawful content of their choice; running lawful applications and using lawful services of their choice; or connecting their choice of legal devices (subject to the discussion above), provided that such applications and services do not harm the network or the provision of broadband Internet access services, facilitate theft of service, or harm other users of the service. Similarly, Time Warner Cable does not impair or degrade particular content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.

II.  PERFORMANCE

  • Description of Time Warner Cable’s Mass-Market Broadband Internet Access Services
    • Overview of Mass-Market Broadband Service Offerings
    • Time Warner Cable offers an array of services intended primarily to provide the capability of connecting to the Internet, provided over Time Warner Cable’s hybrid fiber-coax network. Time Warner Cable’s mass-market broadband Internet access services currently include a variety of different speed levels (depending on geographic region), allowing customers to select an option that is best suited to their online activities:  (1) Ultimate, (2) Extreme, (3) Turbo, (4) Standard, (5) Basic, and (6) Everyday Low Price. To help determine which tiers of service are most suitable based on users’ particular needs and preferences, visit http://www.timewarnercable.com/en/plans-packages/internet/internet-service-plans.html.

      All of the speed-tier plans above include an unlimited data allotment. For more information, please visit www.timewarnercable.com/content/twc/en/residential-home/support/all-faqs.html.

      The capabilities and service options that Time Warner Cable offers, and the equipment necessary to enjoy them fully, may change in the future. For example, from time to time, Time Warner Cable undertakes speed upgrades to its mass-market broadband Internet service-tier levels to thank its customers for their business. These free-of-charge “customer appreciation” speed increases may require the customer to upgrade their existing cable modem in order to obtain the new, higher Internet speed available to them. When this occurs, Time Warner Cable provides targeted communications, in multiple formats, to inform impacted customers about the need to replace their existing modem. These communications include:  email notifications and follow-up reminders; postal letters; bill inserts; phone calls; voice blasts; and print advertisements in local publications. Through these various communications,

      • Customers who lease their modems are directed to visit www.twc.com/modemswap, visit the closest Time Warner Cable store, or call 1-800-TWC-HELP (1-800-892-4357) to obtain an upgraded Time Warner Cable-provided modem at no additional charge.
      • Customers who own their own modem are directed to Time Warner Cable’s list of approved modems located at www.twc.com/approvedmodems to learn which type of modem is best for their Internet service level and speed.

      Time Warner Cable will continue to use these, and other, methods of communication to notify customers about speed increases and to encourage modem upgrades when needed. In addition, updated information about Time Warner Cable’s service tiers and associated capabilities is always available from Time Warner Cable customer service representatives or on Time Warner Cable’s website. To access the most recent service information online, visit www.timewarnercable.com, select “Explore TWC” from the horizontal menu bar, and then click on “Internet” under “Explore Products.” Doing so will lead to a number of topics, including information about the mass-market broadband Internet access service plans available in a particular area.

    • Performance Metrics
    • One important component of broadband performance is throughput speed. Time Warner Cable designs its network with the goal of achieving certain upload and download speeds. It also seeks to provide a number of service options with different speed tiers, so that users can select one that is consistent with their desired price, needs, and preferences. The “provisioned” speed that users can achieve—which, as the term is used below, represents the maximum speed enabled by the firmware in the customer’s modem, corresponding to the speed tier purchased by that customer—thus will vary depending on which service a user selects; it may also change over time as Time Warner Cable continues to improve the capabilities of its network. (Please note that, where a modem upgrade is necessary to enjoy speeds now available and a customer has not yet completed that upgrade, that customer’s provisioned speed may be limited by the technical capabilities of that older device.) To see the provisioned speeds available with a particular service tier, please visit www.timewarnercable.com, select “Explore TWC” from the horizontal menu bar, and then click on “Internet.” under “Explore Products” to find speed-related information for each service tier. Alternatively, speed information can be obtained by contacting a customer service representative or, for current customers, through the My Services portal located at myservices.timewarnercable.com.

      The FCC’s disclosure rules require that Time Warner Cable describe the actual speeds that mass-market users can expect to experience with their service. Although Time Warner Cable engineers its network and services to deliver speeds up to the provisioned level, the speed that a user will actually experience at any given time depends on a number of factors, many of which are not within Time Warner Cable’s control. Among other things, speeds can vary depending on the number of users in a household at a particular moment, the number and types of simultaneous applications they are pursuing, the caliber of the end-user equipment being used, the limitations of different devices (such as a smartphone versus a desktop computer), and the quality of any in-home networking. Throughput speeds are also likely to vary based on, for example, the different websites or applications accessed, the time of day, network congestion and other factors in the end-to-end transmission path from a subscriber’s residence to the Internet endpoint being accessed, and other variables. For a list and explanation of these factors, please visit http://www.timewarnercable.com/en/support/faqs/faqs-internet/speed/what-affects-speed.html. Additional speed-related Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), including a link to Time Warner Cable’s speed test, can be found by visiting www.timewarnercable.com/content/twc/en/residential-home/support/all-faqs.html, selecting the “Internet” topic from the drop-down menu, and choosing “Speed” from the choices options listed on the left

      There are a number of publicly available sources of information regarding actual broadband performance, each of which uses a different methodology and thus may produce different results. For instance, along with various other broadband providers and the FCC, Time Warner Cable participates in an ongoing study of mass-market broadband services in the United States, in which information regarding broadband performance is compiled for different regions across the country. The results of that study in 2014 can be found on the FCC’s website at data.fcc.gov/download/measuring-broadband-america/2014/2014-Fixed-Measuring-Broadband-America-Report.pdf. A technical appendix to the study is also available, at data.fcc.gov/download/measuring-broadband-america/2014/Technical-Appendix-fixed-2014.pdf.

      This particular study focused primarily on testing the actual “sustained speeds” that different broadband providers were able to achieve during the testing period, and it offers a snapshot of performance at the time the study was conducted. “Sustained speed” is a measure of long-term performance, which is particularly relevant for online activities such as large file transfers and video streaming that require the transfer of large amounts of information over long periods of time. For purposes of the study, the “sustained speed” was the speed averaged over a particular five-second testing interval. The study measured the sustained speed every other hour over a 24-hour period, including during “peak periods”—that is, periods of greater usage, generally understood to be between 7:00 pm and 11:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

      According to this study, the average actual sustained download speeds for Time Warner Cable’s mass-market service (during peak times, and on a nationwide basis) were as follows:

      Provisioned Speed (Mbps) Actual Sustained Speed (Mbps) Actual Sustained Speed/ Provisioned Speed
      3 3.03 101%
      15 14.63 98%
      20 18.88 94%
      30 29.41 98%
      50 48.69 97%

      The average actual sustained download speeds for Time Warner Cable’s service over a 24-hour period were as follows:

      Provisioned Speed (Mbps) Actual Sustained Speed (Mbps) Actual Sustained Speed/ Provisioned Speed
      3.09 103%
      15 15.51 103%
      20 20.60 103%
      30 31.86 106%
      50 53.10 106%

      The average actual sustained upload speeds (during peak times, and on a nationwide basis) were as follows:

      Provisioned Speed (Mbps) Actual Sustained Speed (Mbps) Actual Sustained Speed/ Provisioned Speed
      1 1.12 112%
      2 2.16 108%
      5 5.47 109%

      The average actual sustained upload speeds over a 24-hour period were as follows:

      Provisioned Speed (Mbps) Actual Sustained Speed (Mbps) Actual Sustained Speed/ Provisioned Speed
      1 1.13 113%
      2 2.17 108%
      5 5.54 111%

      Time Warner Cable offers many speed tiers, and the FCC’s testing did not cover all of them. However, the results from that study are illustrative of what can be expected using these methodologies with the speed tiers that were not tested. In addition, because those test results reflect nationwide averages, the actual speeds users will experience in their specific locations may differ.

      In addition, this study attempted to account for many of the factors that can impact users’ actual, experienced end-to-end broadband speeds, unlike many other speed measurement tests, including the one Time Warner Cable makes available on its website at www.timewarnercable.com/en/support/speed-test.html. It is important for consumers to realize that this (and, potentially, any other) online speed test relies on a different testing methodology than that used in the FCC study discussed above, and results may therefore differ. Moreover, because speed tests measure performance at that particular time, the results may vary depending on when the test is run.

      Another technical aspect of broadband performance is “latency”—the average time for a data packet to travel from one point on the network to another. Latency varies depending on a user’s service tier and other factors. For instance, latency is distance-sensitive; the measure of latency can turn on the distance between the two endpoints of a particular communication, such as the server that stores information and the computer being used. As a practical matter, a user may not be able to ascertain differences in latency, which is measured in milliseconds and generally does not result in any noticeable “delay” in terms of load times or other aspects of service for many commonly used Internet applications.

      The FCC study noted above also included data on latency, measuring the average amount of time it took to load a web page using different service tiers. For Time Warner Cable, the weighted average latency (measured in milliseconds) was 26.08 on a 24-hour basis and 27.36 during peak hours.

      Again, the FCC’s test did not cover all of Time Warner Cable’s speed tiers, although the results above can be expected to be illustrative of what users would experience with other speed tiers. In addition, the Time Warner Cable’s speed test, available at http://www.timewarnercable.com/en/support/speed-test.html, includes latency related information in its results.

  • Description and Impact Non-BIAS Data Services
  • Time Warner Cable has built its network to support a range of quality services, including but not limited to its mass-market broadband Internet access services. The performance of such a shared network will turn on how much aggregate bandwidth is being used by all users and all services at a given time.

    The FCC’s rules require us to address services that share bandwidth with mass-market broadband Internet access services, but that do not necessarily include broadband Internet access capability or are not primarily intended to be used for that purpose—a category the FCC calls “non-BIAS data services.” Time Warner Cable provides certain services that the FCC may consider to be non-BIAS data services.  For instance, Time Warner Cable provides certain cable services over its cable systems in IP format (such as simulcasts of its video service) and offers VoIP services—Digital Home Phone (for residential customers) and Business Class Phone (for business customers)—each of which may fall within that category. Time Warner Cable’s IntelligentHome home management service also may be considered a non-BIAS data service. Finally, Time Warner Cable offers a number of value-added services to small and medium-sized business customers that subscribe to its broadband Internet access service, such as certain security, virtual private network (“VPN”), and cloud services.

    As noted above, Time Warner Cable currently deals with potential network congestion primarily by monitoring network usage and augmenting capacity in a targeted manner, as well as through the occasional application of the network management practices described above, so as to be able to provide robust levels of service. Accordingly, although all services are impacted at any given time by the total usage of all services, Time Warner Cable’s provision of non-BIAS data services generally does not adversely impact its provision of mass-market broadband Internet access services.

III.  COMMERCIAL TERMS

The terms of service for Time Warner Cable’s various mass-market broadband Internet access offerings are set forth in the materials specific to each service and are also available on Time Warner Cable’s website, www.timewarnercable.com. The information below highlights three specific issues that the FCC has directed broadband Internet access service providers to address.

  • Pricing
  • Prices for Time Warner Cable’s mass-market broadband Internet access services vary by region and often change over time or as a result of promotional offers. Current subscribers can find pricing information concerning their service on their monthly bill, by contacting a customer service representative, or by accessing their accounts through the “My Services” portal, available at myservices.timewarnercable.com. Prospective customers can obtain pricing information for broadband Internet access service at www.timewarnercable.com/en/plans-packages/internet/internet-service-plans.html or by contacting a Time Warner Cable sales representative.

  • Privacy
  • Time Warner Cable’s privacy policy applicable to its mass-market broadband Internet access services is available at help.twcable.com/twc_privacy_notice.html.

  • Redress Options
  • Customers. Time Warner Cable customers can get answers to any questions about Time Warner Cable’s broadband Internet access services or regarding any of the information set forth above by contacting a customer service representative or by  visiting www.timewarnercable.com and clicking on “Support” in the horizontal menu bar.

    Providers of applications, services, and content. Providers of applications, services, or content with questions or complaints about Time Warner Cable’s policies in connection with its broadband Internet access services should contact Internet.Access.Policies@twcable.com.

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