The attorney general of New York has launched a probe into whether customers are getting the network connection speeds they are paying for from Time Warner Cable, Verizon and Cablevision. To that end, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has rolled out an online form to enable citizens to test their connectivity speeds and then submit their data to the state.
Net neutrality advocate Tim Wu, who joined Schneiderman's office as senior enforcement counsel in September, sent letters to the three companies in October asking for documents related to the Internet connection speeds they provide to customers.
"New Yorkers should get the Internet speeds they pay for," Scheiderman said in a statement Sunday. (Photo: New York Attorney General's office). "Too many of us may be paying for one thing, and getting another. By conducting these tests, consumers can uncover whether they are receiving the Internet speeds they have paid for."
Comparing Speeds to 'Rest of Internet'
The Internet Health Test, designed by Measurement Lab (M-Lab), was launched by the Net neutrality advocacy group Battle for the Net after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission announced its order in favor of an open Internet in February. The order bars blocking, throttling and paid prioritization of content delivery by Internet service providers.
The M-Lab test compares users' connection speeds to "the rest of the Internet" rather than simply to other customers using the same ISP, according to Battle for the Net.
"Interconnection congestion has become an important issue for the open Internet, as intentional throttling of interconnection on the part of large ISPs is a tactic that has been used to demand payment from popular content and service providers," the advocacy group noted. "This practice results in users not having access to content and services that don't pay -- which results in a non-neutral network and an Internet in which speech and access to content is controlled by the economic interest of big ISPs."
'Sustained Degradation' at Interconnection Points
In his October 23 letters sent to Cablevision, Time Warner Cable and Verizon, Wu wrote that the attorney general's office was concerned that "consumers may not be experiencing the speeds advertised." That concern extended to two issues, he added: whether "last-mile" speeds between the cable headend and a customer's home deviated far enough from promoted speeds to "render the advertising deceptive"; and whether decisions made at interconnection points between the Internet service provider and other networks "may so affect end-to-end throughput that the speeds are not what was promised."
Schneiderman's office launched its investigation based on complaints from ISP customers as well as the findings of a report released by M-Lab in October 2014. That report, "ISP Interconnection and its Impact on Consumer Internet Performance," found "sustained performance degradation" in customers' network speeds across the U.S. when traffic passed through interconnection points.
"No individual New Yorker acting alone can influence the giant telecom companies that control broadband in our state, so the attorney general's investigation is very welcome and we look forward to helping gather the necessary data," said Susan Lerner, executive director of the advocacy group Common Cause New York, in a statement.
Posted: 2015-12-16 @ 7:37am PT
Very appropriate to learn that there is an effort to maintain honesty in advertising and that it is enforced. Internet Service Providers routinely oversubscribe their network services as a way to increase profitability at the expense of those to whom they are delivering services to. There are viable means to deliver both concurrently, the ISP's have to want to.