USA COMMUNICATIONS’ INTERNET, CABLE AND PHONE NETWORK MANAGEMENT PRACTICES(Pursuant to 47 C.F.R. § 8.1 et seq)
USA Communications Internet, Cable and Phone (through its operating affiliates, Cable Nebraska, Cable Montana, Antilles Wireless, CAP Cable and USA Communications) ("USA Communications") has developed the following network management practices with respect to its broadband Internet access services. This document is intended to meet the Transparency requirements of the Preserving the Open Internet regulations promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission ("Commission") (codified in 47 C.F.R. §§ 8.1, et seq.). This document is in addition to and supplements any other existing terms, policies and procedures relating to USA Communications' broadband Internet access services. USA COMMUNICATIONS’ NETWORK MANAGEMENT PRACTICES, AS WELL AS THE PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS AND TERMS OF SERVICE, FOR ITS BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. We will provide updates to this document, the most recent version of which is located at http://www.usacommunications.tv/network_management.php, and in other appropriate locations if we make important or significant changes to our network management practices.
The purpose of this document is to disclose information regarding USA Communications' network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of its broadband Internet access service (the "Service") sufficient for consumers to make informed choices regarding use of such Service and for content, application, service, and device providers to develop, market, and maintain Internet offerings, consistent with the Commission's Preserving the Open Internet regulations. High-speed bandwidth and network resources are limited and managing the network is essential to promote the use and enjoyment of the Internet by all of our customers. USA Communications is committed to providing the best online experience possible for all of its customers and uses reasonable network management practices to ensure that the USA Communications service is used in ways that are consistent with the specifications of a shared network, and the standards of our local municipality and the Internet community. USA Communications also aims to ensure that the Internet access resources we provide are used in a manner that benefits everyone. The network management practices used by USA Communications are consistent with industry standards. For example, we use tools and practices to reduce the negative effects of spam, viruses or other harmful code or content, security attacks, network congestion, and other risks and degradations of the Service. By engaging in reasonable and responsible network management, USA Communications can deliver the best possible broadband Internet experience to all of its customers.
USA Communications maintains an Acceptable Use Policy located at http://www.usacommunications.tv/acceptable_use.php for its commercial and residential Service customers (referred to as the "AUP" or "Terms"). The AUP contain a series of use policies, guidelines and restrictions that USA Communications expects its customers to adhere to as they use the Service. Overall, the AUP and this Network Management Practices disclosure address USA Communications' (and where applicable its providers') network management techniques and approaches.
USA Communications' use of various tools and techniques to manage its network, deliver its service, and ensure compliance with the AUP and its terms and conditions of service, can and do change periodically. As the Internet and related technologies continue to evolve and advance, USA Communications' network management practices, techniques and tools will also change so that we can deliver a reliable and safe onto all of our customers. We will provide updates to this document, the most recent version of which is located at http://www.usacommunications.tv/network_management.php, and in other appropriate locations if we make important or significant changes to our network management practices.
II. NETWORK PRACTICES
A. Congestion Management:
USA Communications monitors its network on a continual basis to determine if an area of congestion could occur. The area of possible congestion will be identified and network improvements will attempt to be made prior to any congestion occurring. These network improvements may include: the addition of network hardware or network segregation to accommodate additional traffic. If a period of congestion occurs, customers may experience things like: longer times to download or upload files, surfing the Web may seem somewhat slower, or playing games online may seem somewhat sluggish. USA Communications does not manage congestion based on the online activities, protocols or applications a customer uses; it only focuses on the areas with the heaviest usage and works to alleviate any congestion prior to any customer impact. The purpose is to eliminate periods of congestion as quickly as possible.
The criteria or indicators that we use to determine if USA Communications should implement a congestion reducing practice is we utilization has reach a predetermined level, typically above 75%, we begin developing a network design to accommodate the additional traffic as well as calculating for future growth.
Congestion in the USA Communications network most often occurs during the evening hours between 5pm and 12pm, although congestion may occur at any time. USA Communications makes every effort to ensure your connection is as stable as possible to ensure you receive the bandwidth you are expecting.
USA Communications does not have usage limits, but will remove network access to any users determined as being abusive to the system, which we generally define as any user violating our Terms of Service or Acceptable Use Policy.
B. Application-Specific Behavior:
USA Communications does not intentionally block P2P traffic or applications like BitTorrent, Gnutella, or others as part of its current network congestion management technique. Some of our fixed-wireless services can prevent some of these and other game console networking services from working due to the Network Address Translation (NAT) used to operate these systems. This can typically be overcome by subscribing to a static IP address, which allows the NAT to be bypassed.
USA Communications does not discriminate against particular types of lawful online content. USA Communications provides its customers with full access to all the lawful content, services, and applications that the Internet has to offer. However, we are committed to protecting customers from spam, phishing, and other unwanted or harmful online content and activities. In that connection, we use industry standard tools and generally accepted practices and policies to help ensure that our customers are protected from unwanted or harmful content and activities. USA Communications’ use of these tools, techniques and policies help to identify and restrict certain harmful and unwanted online content, such as spam or phishing Web sites. In other cases, these tools, techniques and policies may permit customers to identify certain content that is not clearly harmful or unwanted, such as bulk email or Web sites with questionable security ratings, and enable those customers to inspect the content further if they want to do so.
C. Device Attachment Rules:
USA Communications allows for customer owned equipment to be used on the network, so long as such devices do not interfere with the USA Communications network or USA Communications’ ability to provide the Service. These devices are not supported or managed by USA Communications, unless it is in the best interest of USA Communications and the operation of the network.
USA Communications employs a number of practices to help prevent unwanted communications such as spam as well as protect the security of our customers and network. USA Communications limits the number of login, SMTP, DNS, and DHCP transactions per minute (at levels far above "normal" rates) that customers can send to USA Communications servers in order to protect them against Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. We do not disclose the exact rate limits in order to maintain the effectiveness of these measures, which ensure that these critical services are available for all of our customers. In order to further protect our customers, USA Communications blocks a limited number of ports that are commonly used to send spam, launch malicious attacks, or steal a customer's information, for example, SQL Exploits and Microsoft communication protocol ports.
III. PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS
A. Service Description:
USA Communications is a cable television provider that offers high speed cable modem Internet service, direct fiber optic data access, and fixed wireless communications services. USA Communications provides residential and commercial customers with a variety of high speed Internet plans from which to choose, ranging from our lowest tier (with download speeds up to 1.5 megabits per second ("Mbps"), and upload speeds up to 384 kilobits per second ("kbps")) to our highest tier (with download speeds up to 10 Mbps, and upload speeds to 1 Mbps), or higher with a valid Commercial Services agreements. USA Communications provisions its customers' modems and engineers its network to ensure that its customers can enjoy the speeds to which they subscribe. However, USA Communications does not guarantee that a customer will actually achieve those speeds at all times. Without purchasing an expensive, dedicated Internet connection, no Internet Service Provider ("ISP") can guarantee a particular speed at all times to a customer. USA Communications advertises its speeds as "up to" a specific level based on the tier of service to which a customer subscribes.
Expected and Actual Speeds
The "actual" speed that a customer will experience while using the Internet depends upon a variety of conditions, many of which are beyond the control of an ISP such as USA Communications. These conditions include:
1. Performance of a customer's computer, including its age, processing capability, its operating system, the number of applications running simultaneously, and the presence of any adware and viruses.
2. Type of connection between a customer's computer and modem. For example, wireless connections may be slower than direct connections into a router or modem. Wireless connections also may be subject to greater fluctuations, interference and congestion. USA Communications does not recommend wireless modem connections for use with its higher speed tiers as many wireless connections do not perform at the speeds delivered by these tiers.
3. The distance packets travel (round trip time of packets) between a customer's computer and its final destination on the Internet, including the number and quality of the networks of various operators in the transmission path. The Internet is a "network of networks." A customer's connection may traverse the networks of multiple providers before reaching its destination, and the limitations of those networks will most likely affect the overall speed of that Internet connection.
4. Congestion or high usage levels at the website or destination. If a large number of visitors are accessing a site or particular destination at the same time, your connection will be affected if the site or destination does not have sufficient capacity to serve all of the visitors efficiently.
5. Gating of speeds or access by the website or destination. In order to control traffic or performance, many websites limit the speeds at which a visitor can download from their site. Those limitations will carry through to a customer's connection.
6. The performance of the cable modem you have installed. Modem performance may degrade over time, and certain modems are not capable of handling higher speeds.
This is the reason that USA Communications, like all other ISPs, advertises speeds as "up to" a particular level, and does not guarantee them.
Latency is another measurement of Internet performance. Latency is the time delay in transmitting or receiving packets on a network. Latency is primarily a function of the distance between two points of transmission, but also can be affected by the quality of the network or networks used in transmission. Latency is typically measured in milliseconds, and generally has no significant impact on typical everyday Internet usage. As latency varies based on any number of factors, most importantly the distance between a customer's computer and the ultimate Internet destination (as well as the number and variety of networks your packets cross), it is not possible to provide customers with a single figure that will define latency as part of a user experience.
Customer Speed Test
USA Communications recommends any speed tests run and results provided to technical support be run from more than one speed test site, and/or source location. There are a variety of speed test sites out there, and they are not all equal. Speedtest.net is one site that USA Communications generally recommends to test your speed, however be sure to choose a test location within the same regional area/state as your current location for the most accurate results.
Suitability of the Service for Real-Time Applications
USA Communications offers a variety of Service plans, with different speeds. Some of USA Communications’ low tier plans would not be suitable for certain real time applications. Generally speaking, real-time applications such as streaming video or video conferencing may require subscription to USA Communications' Service plans with speeds at or above 5Mbps. Customers who subscribe to one of our fixed wireless solutions may also experience fluctuations in responsiveness as these devices operate in open, unlicensed areas of wireless spectrum the same way as a home router or cordless telephone operates. They must accept interference even though it may be harmful to the device’s operation.
IV. COMMERCIAL TERMS
USA Communications offers a variety of service plans in its operating regions, which are subject to change, and which include pricing for Internet Services that vary depending upon the plan and whether the Internet Services are bundled with USA Communications’ other service offerings. All of USA Communications current pricing and offers are available through our customer support line 877-234-0102, or through our commercial services representatives also available at that same telephone number.
Usage-Based Fees, and Fees for Early Termination or Additional Network Services
USA Communications generally does not limit the amount of usage or impose usage-based fees. USA Communications does reserve the right to impose fees for early termination for its residential and commercial service customers when a service agreement or contract has been entered into. USA Communications also retains the right under its terms to impose additional charges upon residential or commercial customers that use excessive bandwidth, which USA Communications considers to be bandwidth that is inconsistent with residential use.
Inspection of Network Traffic
USA Communications automatically measures and monitors statistics related to the performance of our network. USA Communications may also monitor and record information about a customer's connected devices, network usage or activity using the Internet connection. USA Communications does not share information collected for the purpose of network or computer performance monitoring or for providing customized technical support outside of USA Communications or its authorized vendors, contractors and agents. USA Communications does also provide this information to law enforcement when requested with a subpoena and when such requested information is available. USA Communications reserves the right to modify the password(s) for the router(s) used with the Service in order to safeguard Internet security, the security and privacy of customer information, where required by law, and/or for other good cause to provide, upgrade and maintain the Service, protect the network, other users of the Internet, or its customers.
If a customer types a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) which contains a nonexistent or unassigned domain name, or enters a search term into their browser address bar, USA Communications may present the customer with a USA Communications web search page containing suggested links based upon the query entered in lieu of the customer receiving an NXDOMAIN, similar error message or browser assigned query. USA Communications’ provision of the web search page may impact applications that rely on an NXDOMAIN or similar error message and may override similar browser-based search results pages.
C. Redress Options:
Edge providers and USA Communications customers may submit a complaint or question to USA Communications with regard to any aspect of the Service, at any time. USA Communications maintains a toll-free telephone number that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 877-234-0102. (After-hours calls are routed to an answering service.) You can also email us from the "Contact us" section at www.usacommunications.tv, or write to us at:
USA Communications, 920 E 56th St BLDG B, Kearney, NE 68847
When a call is received regarding a service related issue, a customer service/sales representative (CSR) will attempt to determine the nature of the problem. If possible, the CSR will help the customer resolve the problem over the telephone. If the problem cannot be resolved during the call, the CSR may if necessary schedule a service technician to visit the customer's home or business. If the problem cannot be resolved by the CSR, the problem will be referred to a supervisor who will make best efforts to resolve the issue immediately. If a customer has a complaint requiring further escalation, the customer can contact USA Communications at our toll-free numbers or by email or postal mail. USA Communications’ policy is typically to reply to an escalated customer complaint within seven working days of receipt. USA Communications will endeavor to include in its reply a statement of action taken, description of future work needed to resolve any issue or an explanation why the complaint is unjustified or outside the jurisdiction of USA Communications.
(REVISED AS OF: JANUARY 13, 2012)