The rules on net neutrality in the US are only ten days old, and the first accusation that a telco is breaking them has already been filed.
The complainant is streaming company Commercial Network Services (CNS), which is claiming that Time Warner Cable (TWC) is violating the "no paid prioritization" and "no throttling" aspects of the FCC's net neutrality rulebook.
CNS manages a number of webcams and also services high-frequency traders in the US. Under the circumstances, a solid, low-latency internet pipe is a must-have, but CNS claims TWC is only offering it access to congested, high-latency links unless it pays extra.
"TWC has repeatedly refused to peer and instead offered 'a commercial transit arrangement that will provide you with a functionally equivalent solution,'" the complaint [PDF] reads.
"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."
Barry Bahrami, CNS' CEO, cites three cases of such behavior. His company sought direct connections to three common public internet exchanges: Any2 Los Angeles, NYIIX, and Equinix NYC. In each case, he said, TWC refused a direct peer connection and instead offered "a commercial transit arrangement that will provide you with a functionally equivalent solution."
Bahrami said that he expected TWC to say that it didn't have enough capacity to do as CNS requested. If so, this was a result of management failings, he said in the complaint.
TWC, on the other hand, told The Register in a statement that it had fast peering arrangements with plenty of network operators who exchange high volumes of traffic at "multiple locations and where there is a mutual exchange of value" – but that CNS doesn't qualify under those terms.
"Most companies like Commercial Network Services purchase transit service from one of the many commercial operators that interconnect with Time Warner Cable, and such transit providers have ample capacity available at low, market-based rates. TWC also offers comparable transit service at a competitive price," the company said.
"TWC's interconnection practices are not only 'just and reasonable' as required by the FCC, but consistent with the practices of all major ISPs and well-established industry standards. We are confident that the FCC will reject any complaint that is premised on the notion that every edge provider around the globe is entitled to enter into a settlement-free peering arrangement."
It's now going to be up to the FCC to decide what it does about the situation. At this stage, CNS has only filed an informal complaint – sort of a shot across the bows – but Bahrami said that he would make the complaint a formal one if necessary. ®