FairPoint Communications Consumer Disclosures - Broadband Internet Access Service

Consumer Disclosures[1] - Broadband Internet Access Service

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as part of its initiative to create rules aimed at Promoting and Protecting the Open Internet, promulgated the Transparency Rule (Rule). The FCC further enhanced the Rule in 2015 through its Open Internet Order, which can be found at  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-15-24A1.pdf. The Rule applies to FairPoint Communications (“FairPoint”) in its role as a broadband Internet access service (BIAS) provider.

The Rule requires BIAS providers to “publicly disclose accurate information regarding the network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of its broadband Internet access services sufficient for consumers to make informed choices regarding use of such services and for content, application, service, and device providers to develop, market, and maintain Internet offerings.”

In compliance with the Rule, FairPoint provides this Consumer Disclosure document and the related hyperlinks to additional resources. For more information regarding the FCC’s Open Internet Order or for other general information from the FCC visit  https://www.fcc.gov/.

If you have questions, complaints, or inquiries concerning FairPoint’s BIAS offerings you can contact us by e-mail via our corporate website at     http://www.fairpoint.com/contact or by  phone  by visiting http://www.fairpoint.com/residential/, entering your zip code, and then clicking the “Contact Us” link under “Support” at the bottom of the webpage.

FairPoint Communications’ Network Management Practices

FairPoint is committed to delivering high-quality and cost-effective BIAS to its customers. To achieve this commitment, FairPoint uses numerous technologies to serve its customers and employs a number of reasonable network management practices.

Subject to its reasonable network management practices, FairPoint does not block the ability of its customers to access lawful websites or applications. For further details regarding FairPoint’s practices regarding consumer access to lawful content and any related limitations regarding Internet use, please review FairPoint’s Acceptable Use Policy at  http://www.fairpoint.com/global/fp_acceptable-use-bdia/iaup.jsp

FairPoint is further committed to providing customers with a private user experience and allowing for transparency in how FairPoint uses its customers’ information. To find more information regarding these practices please review FairPoint’s privacy policy at http://www.fairpoint.com/global/fp_privacypolicy/index.jsp

Although FairPoint takes significant steps to maintain positive user experiences, FairPoint is not responsible for delays, congestion, interruption, degradation or any network management techniques that occur on the Internet or on the networks of other carriers that can impact service quality.

Congestion Management

FairPoint continually monitors, troubleshoots, manages and reinforces its network to address congestion. If congestion occurs, FairPoint follows industry practices. For example, we employ several different industry leading network and element management systems to monitor use of our network. As further example, we also monitor our network during peak traffic hours (7 p.m. to 11 p.m. local time) and based on the results we then properly size, trend and plan upgrades to improve services to the largest number of our customers at a reasonable price.

These monitoring, management and trending techniques, although common among Internet Service Providers (ISPs), cannot forecast or anticipate any short-term use spikes due to unplanned network events or extremely high download periods. For example, short-term use spikes and related congestion can occur when a new operating system is released, a viral video is propagated, or live over-the-top broadcasts are occurring. Such events do not follow anticipated traffic forecasting. These types of events may lead to a period of congestion and degraded service quality as a result of data traffic exceeding the capacity available on the network at one or more aggregation points. 

When congestion is caused by unanticipated short-term network use, peak hour traffic or other impactful events manifest on the network, all BIAS traffic will be slowed until the congestion clears, resulting in a decreased service performance. All standard BIAS offerings are in the same routing class and all users and associated Internet based data packets are treated equally. To minimize the potential for service degradation during peak usage periods, FairPoint uses planned maintenance windows to perform network maintenance during low network use times, typically between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Monday through Friday local time.

Network topologies and practices for ISPs require data packets to be converged onto shared facilities in their networks, commonly referred to as the aggregation portion of the network. FairPoint has several different aggregation technologies deployed within our service area to perform this function – from TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) technology over SONET, to packet over SONET, Ethernet switching, and IP routing.

FairPoint’s network topologies use shared IP Ethernet infrastructure in the aggregation and core layers of our network. If congestion is happening in a segment of the aggregation or core layers of the network, packets will be passed based on the highest to lowest priority, with Internet traffic being passed only as bandwidth is available with equal treatment on the network with no differentiation. For DSL-based services (ADSL and VDSL), aggregation begins in the part of the network known as the digital subscriber line access multiplexer (DSLAM). For GPON-based services, the aggregation point is known as an optical line terminal (OLT).Cable modem Data Over Cable Service Interface Specifications (or DOCSIS) services work on a shared HFC plant architecture and the aggregation of Ethernet starts at the Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS).

Application-Specific Rules 

FairPoint’s BIAS offering allows consumers full access to all lawful content, services and applications over the Internet. FairPoint does not block, prioritize, or degrade any Internet sourced or destined traffic based on application, source, destination, protocol or port unless it does so in connection with a security practice, congestion management practices, or a violation of the Acceptable Use Policy located at http://www.fairpoint.com/global/fp_acceptable-use-bdia/iaup.jsp.

Device Attachment Rules 

FairPoint’s policy for BIAS customers is to require the purchase or lease of a FairPoint-provided modem, router or gateway device. If customers use their own devices outside this policy, FairPoint will not be able to provide support in the event of a problem. Customers that purchase or lease one of these devices from FairPoint can obtain support by contacting our help desk and repair centers. You can locate the number for your service area by visiting http://www.fairpoint.com/residential/, entering your zip code, and then clicking the “Contact Us” link under “Support” at the bottom of the webpage.

 

Security 

FairPoint has an existing Information Security Program that is a built on a risk-based approach to monitoring, investigating and responding to threats on our core network infrastructure.

We are always monitoring our core network infrastructure for performance issues and threats. We also monitor, investigate and respond to these threats that include, for example, DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. In many cases, this type of malicious traffic originates from a customer whose computer has been compromised. When we detect a threat, our engineers will evaluate the impact or the potential for impact to the network and take appropriate steps to mitigate. All incidents are cared for using our internal incident response process documenting the cause and mitigation as it relates to each incident.   

Blocked Port Service Level

FairPoint does not currently block any TCP/UDP ports; however, a need to block these ports could arise and FairPoint reserves all rights to do so.

Law Enforcement Obligations

Nothing in these network management practices supersede or limit the ability of FairPoint to address the needs of emergency communications, law enforcement, public safety, or national security authorities, consistent with or as permitted by applicable law.

FairPoint Communications’ Service Performance

 

Service Description 

FairPoint offers a variety of BIAS options for residential and business customers. The offerings mainly vary by performance, speed, and price. FairPoint uses various technologies to provide BIAS and the technology deployed in a given geographical area, combined with the distance of the customer premises to our servicing equipment, determines a user’s speed eligibility. To review FairPoint’s BIAS territories and current options available you can visit  http://www.fairpoint.com/coverage_map , http://www.fairpoint.com/residential/internet/ , or contact a Customer Service Representative at the number provided for your service area, which can be found by visiting our website at http://www.fairpoint.com/residential/, entering your zip code, and then clicking the “Contact Us” link under “Support” at the bottom of the webpage. You can also visit the Commercial Terms section of this document for specific details related to our BIAS offerings. FairPoint may not have BIAS offered in the entire service territory listed and all speed tiers and technologies are not available in all areas.

Service Technology 

As indicated, FairPoint operates a number of BIAS technology platforms, which include:

• High Speed Internet (HSI) service, which uses xDSL technologies ranging from ADSL2, ADSL2+, Bonded ADSL2+, VDSL2, Bonded VDSL2 and VDSL. These technologies are deployed over FairPoint’s extensive copper infrastructure across its service territory.

• Passive optical network (BPON) and Gigabit passive optical network (GPON) technology, which is available in areas where fiber has been deployed to individual locations (FTTP) in New Hampshire, Maine, Washington, Florida and Missouri.

• Data Over Cable Service Interface Specifications (DOCSIS), which is used to provide broadband service in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.

• Fixed Wireless broadband, which is used to provide service in areas of Kansas, Pennsylvania and New York.

Service Performance 

Our residential and business HSI offerings are based on maximum achievable speeds. The actual speed available to a customer can vary and is based on factors such as the distance between the customer premises and our DSLAM or CMTS, which as mentioned above, are broadband aggregation points to the end user location. These maximum speeds are based on “line rate” data packet transfer measurement tests from the serving electronics to the network terminating modem port, which is more generally explained as the speed that can be attained over the last mile of our network to the customer’s modem.

Actual speeds reported by customers, which are typically generated using generic online speed test measurement programs, can vary from a customer’s purchased speed due to several variables in the customer location or beyond our network peering providers and include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Actual copper gauge and distance from the serving terminal to the Network Interface Device (NID), which is a device at the customer premises used to deliver BIAS.
  • Distance and quality of the inside wire used to extend from the NID to the jack location where the modem is located.
  • Quality and distance of the Local Area Network wired connection from the modem to the customer’s computer.
  • Spectral interference, if connecting to a modem using Wi-Fi from a tablet or other mobile device. Spectral interference can be caused by several factors such as Bluetooth devices, wireless equipment using similar spectrum and channels within the premises (even if not connected to the Wi-Fi network), or overlapping networks within the spectrum carrying other users (common in multi-dwelling units or densely populated areas).
  • The customer device (e.g., computer, tablet, smartphone) processing power or other limitations.
  • The number of devices simultaneously using the broadband connection from the premise (or number of data streams using the connection simultaneously).
  • The location selected for any online speed test program, which may reside outside of the direct FairPoint serving territory.
  • The performance of the hardware, software or applications of the destination address the consumer is accessing (i.e., the servers and related facilities at the data center where the website you visit resides).

Speed; Packet Loss and Latency Disclosures 

Customers who qualify for higher speeds than ordered are rate limited to the ordered speed using service speed profiles at the terminating DSLAMs or CMTS. 

FairPoint Communications deploys two separate transport modes for data delivery using xDSL protocol, known as Fastpath Mode or Interleaving Mode. These are widely used in the industry and can be described as follows. Fastpath Mode transmits and receives one packet at a time, reducing the latency experienced by the user in optimal conditions, but increasing susceptibility to noise and possible lost packets and retransmissions, resulting in a rise in latency in instances in which several retransmissions are required. Interleaving Mode is designed to multiplex several packets into a Codeword prior to transmission, which greatly reduces the amount of retransmissions required due to the ability to recover missing Codewords using error correction information in the rest of the packet. This Interleaving Mode adds latency due to the compilation and deconstruction of the Codewords during transmission and receiving, but can significantly improve performance for applications which are sensitive to packet loss and retransmissions (e.g., video). FairPoint controls and deploys the appropriate mode to the customer ports depending upon performance and line noise quality.

Table 1 below represents certain advertised xDSL speed offerings and related latency and packet loss details, transport medium, and protocol. The service parameters are derived from random network tests for real-world expectations and cross-referenced to comparable technology statistics that are generally available from the Measuring Broadband America Program. 

Expected speeds below are based on a single data stream and include necessary payload overhead for data transmission. Packet loss is calculated on a per line ping test, derived from SES’s (Severely Errored Seconds), or derived from CVs (Code Violations) based upon CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Check) anomalies, depending on the transport method, protocol, and technology used for the service. When a customer’s service performance is decreased and subject to packet loss, our Broadband Services & Repair Center uses remote testing capabilities on a per-user basis to test the service and line conditions.

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 FairPoint also provides GPON- and BPON-based fiber to the premises (FTTP) services in certain markets in New Hampshire, Maine, Washington, Florida and Missouri. These services are available to residential and business customers. FTTP speeds are not distance limited due to the access medium used for delivery. Customers can order speeds to suit their performance and budgetary needs if they qualify for FTTP. We deploy service profiles for the ordered speed to rate-limit the transport medium to the purchased package.

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For Tables 1 and 2 above the expected latency is subject to overall network use in the aggregation and peering layers of the network. The performance experience of a customer can be negatively impacted during planned or unplanned network events that may reduce the number of available paths for the data streams through the network, resulting in an oversubscription on same paths.

FairPoint’s DOCSIS-based cable modem services are available in certain markets in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. These services are available to residential and business customers.

FairPoint’s DOCSIS cable modem service advertised speed offerings, the expected download and upload speeds, latency, packet loss, transport method and transport protocol are included in Table 3 below. The service parameters are derived from random network tests from live plant testing, including during defined peak hours of 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. local time, and cross-referenced to comparable technology statistics. The expected speeds are based on actual throughput on a single wired data stream and referenced to the same generic speed measurements and will vary due to several variables in customer premise and our network upstream providers. Latency is derived from the customer premise equipment device to our network edge device to peering meet point. Packet loss is calculated by pre- and post- bit error rate (BER) percentage to octets being transmitted and received per digitally modulated radio frequency (RF) channel. Common cable TV plant issues can result in degradation of customer’s experience, which is consistently monitored by our Network Operations Center.

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 Impact of Specialized Services

Some applications and services can share capacity with BIAS over the last-mile facilities (e.g., IPTV and VoIP) that connect our network to the consumer’s premises. These “specialized services” can reduce the bandwidth available for BIAS. FairPoint offers specialized services and subscribers should be aware of the potential impact of these services on the performance of BIAS.

Commercial Terms[2]

Contract Terms of Service 

To review FairPoint’s Terms of Service for residential and business Internet services please visit  http://www.fairpoint.com/global/fp_terms-conditions/index.jsp. Note: These are standard Terms of Service. You must refer to and review your Terms and Conditions of Service received at the time of contracting for your applicable contract terms as the terms may vary.

Pricing 

For current FairPoint promotional pricing offers that may be available please visit  http://www.fairpoint.com/global/current_offers/  or call a Customer Service Representative at the phone number for your service area, which can be located by visiting  http://www.fairpoint.com/residential/,entering your zip code, and then clicking the “Contact Us” link under “Support” at the bottom of the webpage.

PRICING AND SPEED DISCLAIMERS: FairPoint Communications provides its standard Internet pricing information in Table 4 below to aid potential customers in understanding the Internet services that may be available to them. However, not all Internet service types (e.g., fiber, DSL, DOCSIS, etc.) or speeds are available in all markets, areas, locations or at a particular address. Please call a FairPoint Customer Service Representative to confirm service eligibility, standard rates and current promotional or bundle discounts at your service address.
Tables 4 shows the highest possible upload and download speeds available. Speeds shown may not be available at your particular address; however, lower cost options and speeds other than those in Table 4 may be available at your address. Because Table 4 shows the highest upload and download speeds only, the pricing in Table 4 reflects the highest current starting at price point for each Internet service at that speed and does not include any promotional or bundle discounts that may be available when establishing service. Pricing in Table 4 is the cost of standalone Internet services and does not include the cost of any other FairPoint products or services other than Internet. Pricing shown in Table 4 also excludes certain charges, which can be found in the “Additional Charges and Terms” section below.

Maximum Internet speeds referenced in Table 4 are only available in select markets, areas, locations or addresses. Internet speed claims represent maximum network service capability. Actual customer speeds and uninterrupted service not guaranteed. Actual speeds vary based on a number of factors including, but not limited to, site traffic and congestion, components within your computer such as processor speeds, memory and hardware and software configuration, content provider server capacity, internal network management factors and customer device capabilities.
The Fiber High-Speed Internet services describe in Table 4 below are BPON and GPON technology, which is available in areas where fiber has been deployed to individual locations (FTTP) in New Hampshire, Maine, Washington, Florida and Missouri. High-Speed Internet services in Table 4 below include those provisioned over xDSL technologies including ADSL2, ADSL2+, Bonded ADSL2+, VDSL2, Bonded VDSL2, and VDSL, as well as services provided via DOCSIS. Wireless High-Speed Internet services describe Fixed Wireless Broadband technologies available in select areas of FairPoint's Kansas, Pennsylvania and New York service territory.

Table 4 – Standard Standalone BIAS Pricing Disclosures

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Additional Charges and Terms [3]

Monthly Data Allowance:

Monthly data usage for BIAS is currently unmetered; however, this policy is subject to change.

Equipment Fees:

N/A (except as set forth below).

Modem/Router/Gateway Fees:

Telecom Group Region –

Purchase: $59.95 (wired and wireless).

Network Care Plus Plans: $4.95/Monthly (wired) and $9.95/Monthly (wireless). Plans not available to customer that purchase a modem/router/gateway. Plan limitations, restrictions, and terms and conditions apply.​

Northern New England Region3

Purchase: $99.99 (wired) and $154.99 (wireless).

Lease: $7.99/Monthly (wired) and $8.99/Monthly (wireless).

Network Care Plus Plan – $8.99/Monthly (wired) and $9.99/Monthly (wireless). Plans not available to customers that purchase a modem/router/gateway.

Network Care Plan – Required for 2nd Connect Internet Product customers. Network Care Plan for 2nd Connect Internet customers is $2.00 per month.

Network Care and Network Care Plus Plans are not available to customers that purchase a modem/router/gateway. Plan limitations, restrictions, and terms and conditions apply.

 
Inside Wire Maintenance Plan Fees:

Northern New England Region –

Internet Maintenance Plan – $4.99/Monthly (wired and wireless).

One Time Activation Fees:

$19.99 to 29.99.

Professional Installation Fees:

$49.95 to $129.00 (depends on territory and service type). Note: Customers have the option under certain circumstances to complete their own installation.

Early Termination Fees:

Telecom Group Region –

Customers are charged an early termination fee of $99.00 if Customers terminate service prior to the end of their current term.

Northern New England Region –

Customers are charged an early termination fee of $79.00 if Customers terminate service prior to the end of their current term.

See your Terms of Service for further details.

Broadband Cost Recovery Fee:

Customers are charged a monthly cost recovery fee of $2.97 for each Internet service ordered.

Deposit Requirements:

Based on customer credit risk, as determined by FairPoint personnel with the assistance of a recognized consumer credit bureau report, a deposit of $100 dollars may be required. For additional questions regarding deposits, please contact a Customer Service Representative athttp://www.fairpoint.com/residential/and enter your zip code and then click the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the webpage for the correct number based on location.

Other Charges:

Additional governmental taxes, fees and surcharges may apply, which can vary by location and are subject to change. FairPoint may also impose additional fees and surcharges in accordance with your contract terms and conditions, which are also subject to change; see your current invoice and Terms of Service for further details.


[1]FairPoint Communications is a registered service mark of FairPoint Communications, Inc. BIAS is provided through operating affiliates of FairPoint Communications, Inc. All consumer disclosures herein are subject to change.

[2]All commercial terms described herein are for transparency purposes to provide the widest amount of general information possible understanding that each and every situation cannot be addressed. In the event of a conflict or inconsistency with these disclosures and your Terms of Service, your Terms of Service will govern to the extent necessary to resolve any conflict or inconsistency.

[3]The “Northern New England Region” referenced above only includes Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, and certain limited areas are excluded."