Internet Access Service & Network Management Disclosures
The disclosures contained in this section are made pursuant to 47 USC § 8.1 and the Federal Communications Commission’s Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order, FCC 17-166, which was adopted on December 14, 2017, and released on January 4, 2018, and which is commonly referred to as the “2017 Restoring Internet Freedom Order.”
Astound Business Solutions, LLC and its affiliates (collectively, “Astound Business”) offer a variety of Internet access solutions, some of which fall within the category of mass-market retail Internet Access Service (“IAS”), which is defined by the FCC 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.” The purpose of this disclosure is to make publicly available information regarding Astound Business’s IAS network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms to enable current and potential Astound Business IAS customers to make informed choices regarding the purchase and use of such services. This disclosure statement pertains solely to Astound Business’s IAS offerings. This disclosure statement does not (i) create a contract between Astound Business and any user of Astound Business’s IAS, (ii) replace or alter the legal terms and conditions of service, or (iii) obligate Astound Business to provide any specific level of IAS service or network configuration. The information contained in this disclosure is subject to modification from time to time as Astound Business deems appropriate.
NETWORK MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
Blocking. Astound Business does not block user access to lawful content, applications, service or non-harmful devices other than for reasons of reasonable network management or security reasons, disclosed herein.
Throttling. Astound Business does not throttle traffic on an application or protocol specific basis. Astound Business reserves the right to limit data transfer rates on a general basis, without reference to application or protocol, to reasonably manage its network, or in connection with copyright or network congestion matters.
Affiliated Prioritization. Astound Business does not favor, directly or indirectly, some traffic over other traffic to benefit Astound Business or any affiliates of Astound Business.
Paid Prioritization. Astound Business does not favor, directly or indirectly, some traffic over other traffic in exchange for consideration, monetary or otherwise.
Congestion Management. To ensure a high-quality Internet access experience for all customers, the FCC allows Astound Business to engage in reasonable network management practices, including congestion management practices. Active congestion management practices typically involve the use of network management tools which can cause minor and temporary impairments to a user’s experience. Astound Business prioritizes telephone service traffic to ensure voice quality and phone functionality. At this time, Astound Business does not engage in any other congestion management practices that reduce the capacity available to IAS customers. Instead, Astound Business actively monitors its network for utilization trends, receives regular reports showing changes in network traffic and congestion, and uses this information to plan and implement network upgrades to increase available bandwidth, add ports, and/or add additional connectivity to the Internet. This advance planning and proactive approach to network upgrades have made it unnecessary for Astound Business to implement active congestion management practices.
Application Specific Behavior. Except for prioritizing telephone service traffic to ensure voice quality and phone functionality, Astound Business does not discriminate against or prevent customers or users of IAS from accessing, sending, or receiving lawful content or using lawful applications or services of their choice provided that the applications or services do not harm our network the provision of IAS to our customers or others who use our service, or that facilitates the theft of our service. To avoid these harms, Astound Business has implemented hostile port blocking for customers with coaxial-based Internet access service (i.e., DOCSIS-based Internet access service) as part of its reasonable network management practices to prevent unwanted files, browser hacking and virus attacks. Based on internal observations and needs, the following ports are blocked for security reasons for customers having coaxial-based Internet access:
Port 25: Blocked to all traffic other than our SMTP servers
Port 67: CPE source port UDP blocked to customers acting as a DHCP server
Port 69: CPE source port UPD blocked to customer acting as a TFTP server
Port 80: Blocked to inbound traffic
Ports 135 – 139: Blocked to all traffic
Port 445: Blocked to all traffic
Port 5353: Blocked to UDP/TCP – Apple Bounjour/File Discovery and Sharing Protocol
Port 1900: Blocked to UDP traffic
The above list is subject to change without prior notice as determined necessary by Astound Business.
Device Attachment Rules. Astound Business does not place any general restrictions on lawful devices that a customer may connect to Astound Business’s network, so long as the device is: (i) compatible with Astound Business’s network; and (ii) does not harm Astound Business’s network or other users. Astound Business’s IAS works with most types of PCs, laptops and other Internet compatible devices like game systems and Internet-enabled TVs. If a wireless router is connected to our IAS, wireless Internet compatible devices including tablets, smartphones, and other devices can be used with Astound Business’s IAS.
Network and End User Security. Astound Business employs certain practices to maintain the security of Astound Business’s network and our end users from unwanted and harmful activities. These include practices designed to protect Astound Business’s network against denial of service attacks, to prevent malware, spyware, spam, and identity theft. To preserve the effectiveness of Astound Business’s security practices, Astound Business does not publicly disclose specific information detailing the levels and types of activities that may trigger the deployment of security protection measures. When security measures are employed, they may affect performance characteristics of Astound Business’s IAS or the ability to access certain suspicious websites, but such measures are employed in a manner designed to have non- discriminatory impact on all similarly-situated customers and end-users.
Service Description. Astound Business offers “fixed” IAS that is designed to provide the capability to transmit data to and receive data from all or substantially all Internet endpoints. Astound offers different tiers of IAS which are primarily differentiated by the speed with which data is transmitted and received. Tier characteristics may affect the suitability of a specific tier of service for the way you access and use the Internet. Specific tiers of IAS and the characteristics of each tier are subject to change from time to time and all tiers may not be available in all areas.
Service Technology. We deliver some IAS over systems that use hybrid fiber-coaxial architecture and some IAS over systems that use fiber-to-the-premises architecture. In Astound Business’s hybrid fiber-coaxial network, Astound Business uses the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) which facilitates customer use of our service using cable modems. To connect from our network to the Internet, we use equipment called a Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) that acts as a gateway to the Internet for our customers’ cable modems. This is a shared network, as disclosed in the congestion management section, above, which means that our customers share upstream and downstream bandwidth which can impact the performance of our network. In our fiber-to-the-premises network, we deliver fiber to the premises and use Ethernet cables to deliver connectivity to the premises.
Speed. The speeds we identify for each IAS level are the maximum upload and download speeds that customers are likely to experience. No Internet service provider can guarantee a specific speed at all times. The actual speed that a customer will experience while using Astound Business’s IAS depends upon a variety of conditions. These can include the customer’s computer, the customer’s home network configuration, including wireless router performance, performance of the application(s) being used, congestion on our network, congestion on the Internet itself, and/or the performance of the website(s) visited. Astound Business designs and engineers its network to deliver the speeds of IAS to which our customers subscribe. Astound Business regularly monitor’s its network and conducts regional testing to ensure it is delivering these speeds. However, Astound Business does not guarantee that a customer will actually achieve those speeds at all times.
Latency. Latency is a term that refers to the time it takes for information to travel between your networked device and your Internet destination. High latency, or “lag,” occurs when the time it should normally take for the information to make the trip becomes abnormally long. Most applications, such as email and web browsers, work well despite average latency. Highly interactive applications, such as multi-player games and video conferencing, do not work well with higher latency. Latency is typically measured in milliseconds, and varies based on any number of factors, most importantly the distance between a customer’s networked device and the ultimate Internet destination (as well as the number and variety of networks your packets cross). In general, Astound Business’s average round trip latency in any of its markets is 22 ms for its hybrid-coaxial network and 12 ms for its fiber-to- the-premises network.
Suitability of the Service for Real-time Applications. Astound Business’s IAS is suitable for typical real-time applications including messaging, voice applications, video conferencing applications, gaming, and streaming video.
Impact of Non-IAS Data Services. In addition to IAS, Astound Business also provides a variety of other communications services, the composition of which vary from system-to-system but may include other types of Internet access service, IP transit, Ethernet transport, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone service, hosted voice, wavelengths, video, and other communications services. Our provision of these other non-IAS services has no effect on the availability or performance of our IAS.
Prices. Astound Business’s current pricing for IAS can be found on the Astound Business website at: https://www.astound.com/business/smb/internet/hsi/. (Click on the “See special offers for your area” button under the table listing our standard speeds.) The pricing and other commercial terms of our IAS are subject to change and the information contained herein.
Small Business Services Subscriber Agreement. Astound Business’s terms and conditions governing IAS are contained in Astound Business’s Small Business Services Subscriber Agreement, which can be found on the Astound Business website at: https://www.astound.com/business/legal-disclosures/terms-conditions/.
Redress Options. Customers or edge providers with complaints or questions relating to Astound Business’s IAS or these disclosures can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The FCC has established procedures for addressing informal and formal complaints relating to its “Open Internet” rules. For information concerning these formal and informal complaint procedures, please refer to the FCC’s website at https://www.fcc.gov/guides/getting-broadband