TWC Hit With Net Neutrality Complaint

Time Warner Cable is the subject of a network neutrality interconnection-related complaint that appears to assert that a peering issue can be subject to bright-line rules the FCC had suggested in its Feb. 26 open Internet order did not apply.

Following through on its signal that a network neutrality complaint was in the works against Time Warner Cable, network and edge services provider Commercial Network Services (CNS) Monday filed what it called an informal complaint, saying TWC was violating the FCC's "no paid prioritization" and "no throttling" rules.

The complaint is targeted at interconnection issues, which have their own, separate, case-by-case complaint process. But while the bright-line rules against throttling and paid prioritization are ostensibly not being applied to interconnection, CNS is arguing that by allegedly "opting to use more congested traffic routes rather than pay for interconnections, TWC is failing to fulfill obligations to its subs.

"By refusing to accept the freely available direct route to the edge-provider of the consumers’ choosing, TWC is unnecessarily increasing latency and congestion between the consumer and the edge provider by instead sending traffic through higher latency and routinely congested transit routes. This is a default on their promise to the BIAS consumer to deliver to the edge and make arrangements as necessary to do that."

CNS also argues that TWC is violating the bright-line rule against paid prioritization by creating a paid fast lane through its peering policy.

"In preparing this informal complaint, I have read and digested the neutrality order many times over and I have faith the commission will move quickly in making this right," said CNS CEO Barry Bahrami. "For this reason, I have submitted this as an informal complaint. However, if by submitting an informal complaint we in any way wave our rights to re-file as a formal complaint then I respectfully ask you to return this complaint so I may re-file it as a formal complaint.

The complaint could be an early test case for how the FCC deals with peering complaints that don't fit neatly into its planned categorization.

TWC has said its interconnection policy is just and reasonable and is confident the FCC would reject any complaint based on the idea that "every edge provider around the globe is entitled to enter into a settlement-free peering arrangement."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.