Never ones to be troubled by the rule of law, telecom giant Time Warner Cable (TWC) violating the “no paid prioritization” and “no throttling” provisions of the FCC’s net neutrality regulations which took effect just ten days ago.
The first accusation of a breach of the rules, which are designed to stop big cable and wireless companies from charging gate-keeping taxes to rivals like Netflix and Google, has been brought by streaming company Commercial Network Services (CNS).
CNS provides internet for a number of webcams but also for high-frequency traders, who are aware of every millisecond difference in their internet access speed.
CNS claims TWC is only offering it access to congested, high-latency connections unless it pays extra. In the world of high frequency trading a solid, low-latency internet connections is essential, and what everyone should be entitled to.
“TWC has repeatedly refused to peer and instead offered ‘a commercial transit arrangement that will provide you with a functionally equivalent solution,'” the complaint states.
“By requiring any payment to peer at a common public internet exchange (a management policy), TWC is violating the No Paid Prioritization rule thru the creation of a paid fast lane to Broadband Internet Access Service (BIAS) subscribers on their network by way of their peering policy.”
CNS, through CEO Barry Bahrami, cites three cases of such abuses. His company sought direct connections to three internet exchanges: NYIIX, Equinix NYC and Any2 Los Angeles.
In each case, Bahrami said, TWC refused to provide a direct peer connection and instead offered a much slower “commercial transit arrangement” claiming that such access “will provide you with a functionally equivalent solution.”
In short, TWC made a business decision to offer the slower service, instead of such a service simply being unavailable.
Bahrami expected TWC to say just that, specifically saying that it didn’t have enough capacity to execute the request.
TWC, on the other hand, says that CNS doesn’t qualify under the terms set forth for peering arrangements, though it apparently didn’t inform CNS of this fact.
FCC will now decide what to do about the situation. Currently, CNS has only filed an informal complaint, but Bahrami said that he would make the complaint formal if necessary, which is tantamount to a lawsuit.