Charter's Commitment to Customers
Charter's goal is to provide the fastest download/upload speeds and most reliable Internet service to our customers. In order to ensure a quality online experience for every Charter Internet customer, we use common network management policies that are consistent with industry standards. Charter has an Acceptable Use Policy ("AUP") that defines the standards for Charter Internet. The AUP along with the FAQs below address the basic principles of network management and how it impacts our customers.
Why is network management important to Charter customers?
Network management enables Charter to deliver the highest quality broadband Internet experience to all customers. Broadband Internet access and network resources are not unlimited, and managing the network is fundamental in order for all customers to receive a quality Internet experience. Being conscientious stewards of our networks means protecting customers from all risks and degradations of service, including viruses, security attacks, spam and network congestion. The practice of network management is common throughout the industry and enables our customers to enjoy the Internet through the implementation of reasonable and responsible policies.
How does network management benefit Charter customers?
Charter monitors its network at all times to ensure the highest quality service. During periods of congestion, we employ certain network management principles ("congestion management") to maintain quality of service for all customers, rather than allowing a few customers with disproportionately high usage to impact the experience of others. While times of congestion are rare, it is important to us that all of our customers experience exceptional service at all times.
When is congestion management utilized?
If a certain area of the network approaches a state of congestion, the network practice will ensure that all customers have equal access to the Internet. This means that the heaviest users over the most recent time period will not impact other users, causing them to have a diminished experience. Congestion management will identify which accounts are using the greatest amounts of bandwidth and those accounts will be temporarily managed, until the period of congestion passes, so no other users are affected. Congestion is not managed based on the online activities, protocols or applications a customer uses; rather it focuses solely on the heaviest users in the most recent measured period, currently 15 minutes. A typical experience might include longer download and upload times, latency in online gaming and overall slower Internet activities, although the period of management may not be noticeable at all. Network management is imperative to ensure "fair share" Internet access to all users.
How will I know if my Internet connection is being managed due to congestion?
An Internet connection subject to network management will not be obvious to the customer, although the user may experience longer download and upload times, latency in online gaming and overall slower Internet activities. Congestion is rare, and the management policy will affect only a small portion of customers for brief periods of time. Congestion management focuses on the usage activity of individual customer accounts using a disproportionately large amount of bandwidth during a time of congestion. We estimate less than 1% of all users will be managed at any given time; however, others on the network will benefit. The goal of congestion management is to enable all users to access a "fair share" of the network capacity when congestion occurs.
Will Charter monitor the type of application I use and manage my account based upon this traffic?
No. Charter believes in the privacy of its customers and therefore does not monitor types of traffic for congestion management. Only the heaviest users at the time of congestion will be impacted, based solely on the amount of bandwidth used.
Does Charter target specific activities, such as peer-to-peer, with this policy?
Charter does NOT target specific customer activities or specific protocols. Congestion management only evaluates the amount of bandwidth use at the time of congestion. Charter will not block any application or traffic as a result of network management.
When does Charter anticipate congestion management will occur?
Since congestion is a function of the total network resources and the bandwidth consumed across an aggregate of many customers, it is often unpredictable. If congestion occurs, it is usually brief and intermittent. We will continue to monitor how user traffic is affected by congestion management and make adjustments as needed to ensure that Charter's Internet customers have a high-quality experience.
What causes the network to be congested?
Congestion can be caused by a number of scenarios. The most common is a large volume of customers enjoying high-bandwidth activities, with a portion of those customers using more than an average amount of bandwidth. Congestion management analyzes the heaviest users and then creates capacity for other customers by managing the highest usage at the time of congestion. This will provide all customers a "fair share" of our network resources.
Can I contact Charter to determine if my Internet connection has been managed?
Customers can contact Customer Care to report slower Internet downloads or uploads. Given the dynamic and unpredictable nature of congestion management, Charter does not have visibility into specific accounts that are managed during the rare periods of network congestion. Given the very small number of accounts that will be subject to congestion management, customers should assume they have not been managed. If Internet speeds are slow, please contact Customer Care to troubleshoot the Internet connection for possible solutions to this problem.
How will network management evolve with higher bandwidth needs by consumers?
Internet use has grown exponentially in a very short time, and Charter's network management practices are designed to accommodate high Internet demands and provide quality of service to our customers. As Charter's network management practices advance, our goal is to make certain that all customers' online experience is safe and reliable. The recently implemented network management practice is to be used only in times of congestion to ensure equitable usage of bandwidth for all of our customers.
Are congestion management and "No Excessive Use of Bandwidth" the same?
Usage thresholds and congestion management policies were implemented with the common goal of providing a quality Internet experience to our customers, but beyond that they are unrelated. Congestion management safeguards against a very small number of customers preventing other customers from having fair access to the network resources. The No Excessive Use of Bandwidth policy relates to the total usage of an account in a calendar month. If you would like to read more about No Excessive Use, please reference our AUP at charter.com/aup.
Will my Charter Phone services be impacted by congestion management?
Charter Phone™ will not be affected by this policy. Customers who use a third-party VoIP provider may experience quality issues if they are using a large amount of bandwidth during a time of congestion and their Internet connection is managed. Phone services use relatively small amounts of bandwidth and might not be affected during times of congestion and management.
Does Charter Throttle?
Throttling is when a service provider manages bandwidth to ensure even speeds across devices on the network and does not involve email. This topic is covered in section 13 of our AUP.
"Charter manages its network to deliver the best possible service to all of our customers. This is necessary because high-speed bandwidth and network resources are not unlimited. Additionally, if we did not manage our network, our customers would be subject to the negative effects of "spam," viruses, security attacks, network congestion, and other risks and degradations of service. To address these risks, Charter uses reasonable network management practices with the goal of relieving network congestion and ensuring that all customers have the opportunity to use the Service with the best available results. Charter uses tools that it considers to be the least disruptive to the customer experience.
In the case of significantly high bandwidth usage causing congestion (regardless of the usage type or format), Charter may temporarily reduce the available bandwidth to those customers identified as using such high amounts of bandwidth as necessary to reduce bandwidth congestion. This may cause high bandwidth users to temporarily experience slower Service speeds, but specific network traffic is not targeted for restriction during these times. While Charter does not guarantee that the network will never experience disruptions, we believe our network management techniques are among the best available for assuring a good customer experience. Of course, Charter's network management practices will change and evolve, along with the uses of the Internet and the challenges and threats on the Internet."