Open Internet Order Agreement
NORTH CENTRAL TELEPHONE COOPERATIVE, Inc. MASS MARKET INTERNET SERVICE POLICIES AND CUSTOMER INFORMATION
The following policies apply to mass market broadband Internet services offered by North Central Telephone Cooperative, Inc (herein after “NCTC”) NCTC. NCTC also offers enterprise level services that can be individually tailored to customer needs. Information on enterprise services can be obtained by contacting NCTC’s Business Office in Lafayette, TN. It is NCTC’s policy to provide robust and reliable access to the Internet for all of its residential and commercial mass market end user customers. Because network resources are shared by all users, NCTC has implemented the following policies to govern mass market Internet service. These policies are designed to: (i) ensure that shared network resources are allocated fairly among all users; (ii) allow users and prospective users to understand service policies and any significant limitations on the service; and (iii) provide a foundation that assures customers that they can rely on consistently receiving the level and quality of service to which they subscribe. NCTC does not block access to, nor discriminate against, any lawful website or Internet application and, with respect to fixed Internet access services, supports the ability of users to select and attach the equipment of their choice to the network so long as that equipment: (i) is used for a lawful purpose consistent with NCTC’s Acceptable Use Policy; and (ii) does not harm the network or degrade network performance for other users. Customers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the following policies which are deemed part of their Service Agreement. By using NCTC’s Internet service, the customer accepts, agrees to be bound by and to strictly adhere to, these policies. The customer also agrees to be responsible for compliance with these policies by third parties, such as friends, family members or guests that make use of the customer’s service accounts or equipment to access the network for any purpose, with or without the permission of the customer.
Service Regulation: FCC now claims authority to re-enact the “Bright Line” rules for internet access.
North Central adheres to the “Bright Line” Rules.
- No blocking: Internet providers “shall not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management.”
- No throttling: Internet providers “shall not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of Internet content, application, or service, or use of non-harmful device, subject to reasonable network management.”
- No paid prioritization. “Paid prioritization” refers to the management of a broadband provider’s network to directly or indirectly favor some traffic over other traffic, including through use of techniques such as traffic shaping, prioritization, resource reservation, or other forms of preferential traffic management either (a) in exchange for consideration (monetary or otherwise) from a third party, or (b) to benefit an affiliated entity.
- No unreasonable interference or disadvantage. Practices that “unreasonably interfere with or unreasonably disadvantage the ability of consumers to reach the Internet content, services, and applications of their choosing or of edge providers to access consumers using the Internet” are prohibited. This rule will be enforced on a case-by-case basis.
I. ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY
1. General Policy. NCTC reserves the sole discretion to deny or restrict your service, or immediately to suspend or terminate your service, if the use of your service by you or anyone using it, in our sole discretion, violates the Service Agreement or other NCTC policies, is objectionable or unlawful, interferes with the functioning or use of the Internet or the NCTC network by NCTC or other users, or violates the terms of this Acceptable Use Policy (“AUP”).
2. Specific Examples of AUP Violations. The following are examples of conduct which may lead to termination of your Service. Without limiting the general policy in Section 1, it is a violation of the Agreement and this AUP to: (a) access without permission or right the accounts or computer systems of others, to spoof the URL, DNS or IP addresses of NCTC or any other entity, or to penetrate the security measures of NCTC or any other person’s computer system, or to attempt any of the foregoing; (b) transmit uninvited communications, data or information, or engage in other similar activities, including without limitation, “spamming”, “flaming” or denial of service attacks; (c) intercept, interfere with or redirect email or other transmissions sent by or to others; (d) introduce viruses, worms, harmful code or Trojan horses on the Internet; (e) post off-topic information on message boards, chat rooms or social networking sites; (f) engage in conduct that is defamatory, fraudulent, obscene or deceptive; (g) violate NCTC’s or any third party’s copyright, trademark, proprietary or other intellectual property rights; (h) engage in any conduct harmful to the NCTC network, the Internet generally or other Internet users; (i) generate excessive amounts of email or other Internet traffic; (j) use the service to violate any rule, policy or guideline of NCTC; (k) use the service in any fashion for the transmission or dissemination of images containing child pornography or in a manner that is obscene, sexually explicit, cruel or racist in nature or which espouses, promotes or incites bigotry, hatred or racism; or (l) download or use the Service in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria or in destinations that are otherwise controlled or embargoed under U.S. law, as modified from time to time by the Departments of Treasury and Commerce.
3. Copyright Infringement/Repeat Infringer Policy. NCTC respects the intellectual property rights of third parties. Accordingly, you may not store any material or use NCTC’s systems or servers in any manner that constitutes an infringement of third party intellectual property rights, including under US copyright law. In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and other applicable laws, it is the policy of NCTC to suspend or terminate, in appropriate circumstances, the service provided to any subscriber or account holder who is deemed to infringe third party intellectual property rights, including repeat infringers of copyrights. In addition, NCTC expressly reserves the right to suspend, terminate or take other interim action regarding the service of any user or account holder if NCTC, in its sole judgment, believes that circumstances relating to an infringement of third party intellectual property rights warrant such action. These policies are in addition to and do not affect or modify any other rights NCTC may have under law or contract. If you believe that copyrighted material has been used in violation of this policy or otherwise been made available on the service in a manner that is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent or the law, you may contact our Designated Agent as follows: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. NCTC may, but is not required to, monitor your compliance, or the compliance of other subscribers, with the terms, conditions or policies of the Service Agreement and AUP. You acknowledge that NCTC shall have the right, but not the obligation, to pre-screen, refuse, move or remove any content available on the service, including but not limited to content that violates the law or this Agreement.
II. SYSTEM PERFORMANCE
NCTC provides residential and commercial mass market customers with a choice of data plans to meet their needs. NCTC also provides enterprise level services that are custom tailored to a specific project and individually priced based on the needs and criteria established by the Enterprise customer. NCTC offers the following mass market services and typical speed ranges. These speeds were calculated based upon internal testing along with third party website speed tests.
While NCTC provisions its network and equipment to ensure that its customers can enjoy the speeds to which they subscribe, Internet speeds generally result from a “best effort” service and are dependent on a number of variables, many of which are outside the control of an Internet Service Provider. Such variables include: the age and processing capability of the user’s terminal device or computer; the number of applications running simultaneously; the presence of viruses or malware; whether the terminal equipment is connected to the network by wire or by wireless; the distance the data packets must travel between the user and the website; the presence of congestion on and technical configuration of any intervening networks; any gating or congestion management schemes employed by websites to limit download or upload speeds in cases where multiple users are served simultaneously. NCTC does not guarantee that a customer will achieve the speeds set forth above at all times. Rather, the foregoing data speeds represent the best information available to NCTC of the typical speeds a customer can expect to experience under normal operating conditions.
Speed tests that allow customers to test the upload, download and latency performance of their broadband data services are available free of charge from a number sources. Generally, these tests are influenced by the same variables that affect Internet speed set forth above. Accordingly, the speed results would not be expected to match a test of [ISP’s] network conducted under laboratory conditions. Please note, however, that all speed tests use different methodologies to calculate Internet connection speed so each of the tests would be expected to yield different results. Accordingly, each of these tests should be viewed as a helpful guide rather than as a definitive measurement of performance. The following are several sites, unaffiliated with NCTC, that provide speed testing:
III. NETWORK MANAGEMENT
NCTC utilizes a redundant network architecture that is designed to provide users with true broadband speeds and reliability even during times of peak demand. The network has been constructed to meet projected traffic demands and is fully scalable to allow for capacity to be added to meet customer needs and to support newly developing and increasingly sophisticated applications well into the future. However, congestion can occur on any IP network, and, when it does, packets can be delayed or dropped, leading to service degradation and delays. Because network resources are shared by all end users, NCTC has implemented a traffic management policy that is designed to ensure that all users are able to utilize their fair share of network resources during periods of high demand.
Prioritization of packets can be used for other purposes as well, such as to ensure the reliability of applications that demand real time or near real time communications such as public safety communications and, in the context of mobile data services, E-911 communications. Generally, provisioned data speeds for [ISP’s] mass market services are sufficient to support such applications as Voice over IP (VoIP), gaming, web surfing, or most streaming video. However, because [ISP’s] residential, mass market broadband service generally does not prioritize such traffic, it is possible that certain applications requiring real time communications may perform at less than optimal levels, especially during periods of peak network demand.
NCTC does take measures to protect its network and ensure that its AUP is enforced. For example, NCTC has deployed measures to prevent spam, viruses, and other malware and to monitor and prevent denial of service attacks using MagicSpam by LinuxMagic. NCTC does not generally interfere with or manage the use of specific protocols or ports. However, in the interests of network security, the following ports may be blocked or unavailable:
NCTC provides fixed data services.
With respect to fixed broadband services, users may generally attach the devices of their choice and run the applications of their choice, subject to the limitations of their data plan and the terms of their service agreement and AUP. While many devices such as routers, Bluetooth and WiFi cards, laptops, notebooks and tablets are readily available from third party sources, such as consumer electronics retailers, other devices, such as DSL modems, proprietary network gateways must be provided by or leased from NCTC. NCTC is not responsible for the compatibility, suitability or functionality of any equipment that is provided by the customer or any third party, and the customer remains fully responsible for ensuring that any such equipment does not cause any harm to the network or degrade the service of other users.
All users are fully responsible for securing their equipment, including wireless routers, to prevent unauthorized access to the network by third parties and will be held fully responsible for the actions of such third parties that gain unauthorized access to the network through unsecured end user equipment.
IV. COMMERCIAL TERMS
a. Your service order indicates whether you have agreed to a minimum service term for your service and, if so, the number of months in the term. YOU WILL BE SUBJECT TO AN EARLY TERMINATION FEE IF YOU CANCEL SERVICES BEFORE THE END OF THE MINIMUM SERVICE TERM (OR IF WE TERMINATE YOUR SERVICE EARLY FOR CAUSE UNDER THE AGREEMENT). The Early Termination Fee, as noted on your broadband agreement
b. If your service plan does not include a minimum service term or, if it does and you reach the end of the minimum service term, your service term will be “month-to-month” and will not be subject to an Early Termination Fee if you cancel your service.
c. If your service term is month-to-month, NCTC can change the price of your service by providing you at least one billing cycle’s notice of the change.
Changing or Canceling Service
a. If you cancel your service, in addition to any applicable Early Termination Fee, you must pay for your use of the service up until the date on which you cancelled, including charges for exceeding any data cap that applied to your account, and applicable taxes.
b. If, during the minimum service term, you decide to change to another NCTC service plan (for example, one with different rates or usage allowances) or to add additional services, such as international roaming, to your plan, then NCTC has the right to restart the minimum service term from the beginning of the change in plan or addition of service.
c. If, during the minimum service term, NCTC changes the terms of your service and the changes are materially disadvantageous to you, you may terminate the service without paying an Early Termination Fee by providing written notice to NCTC within 30 days of the effective date of the change.
We collect information about your use of our products and services. Information such as call records, websites visited, application and feature usage, network traffic data, service options you choose, and other similar information may be used for billing purposes, to deliver and maintain products and services, or to help you with service-related issues or questions. In addition, subject to any legal restrictions that may apply, this information may be used for other purposes such as providing you with information about product or service enhancements, determining your eligibility for new products and services, and marketing to you based on your use of your products and services. This information may also be used to: (1) manage and protect our networks, services and users from fraudulent, abusive, or unlawful uses; and (2) subject to consent practices described in this policy, help us improve our services, research and develop new products, and offer promotions and other services. This type of information may be aggregated for business and marketing uses.
If you subscribe to NCTC Internet access services, we may automatically measure and monitor network performance and the performance of your Internet connection to improve your, or our, overall service levels. If you contact us for service support, we also may access information about your computer, wireless device or other device settings to provide customized technical support or to install specific applications or services that you use or that are necessary to the applications or services you use.
NCTC will not gather information from your use of our Internet access services to direct customized advertising specifically to you based on your visits over time and across different non-NCTC websites, unless we first provide you with notice of our plan and obtain your affirmative consent.
Information Provided to Us by Third Parties
When you purchase products or apply for service with us, we may obtain credit information about you from outside credit reporting agencies to help us with customer authentication and credit-related decisions.
NCTC obtains information from outside companies that collect consumer information such as demographic and interest data. We use this data and combine it with other information we have about you to help us predict customer preferences and to direct marketing offers that might be more relevant to you.
A cookie is a small data string that is written on your computer hard drive by a web server. (A web server is the computer that hosts a website and responds to requests received from your computer). Cookies can play an important role in providing a good customer experience using the web, such as enabling a website to maintain information when a user’s web browser requests a series of web pages.
You can manage cookies by using features and functions available on most Internet browsers. For example, most browsers will allow you to choose what cookies can be placed on your computer and to delete or disable cookies. You can find instructions for managing cookie controls on websites for particular browsers. Please note that disabling cookies may prevent you from using specific features on our sites and other websites, such as ordering products or services and maintaining an online account.
Cookies associated with your Flash Player may be removed by managing your settings with Adobe by visiting: http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/security/.
Resolution of Disputes / Customer Complaints
Upon receiving a complaint from a customer at the NCTC Business Office, either by telephone, in writing or in person, NCTC will make a prompt and complete investigation and advise the complainant of its findings. A record of the complaint will be kept and show the name and address of the complainant, date and nature of the complaint, and the adjustment or disposition of the complaint. This record will be maintained for two (2) years from the date of resolution. If a written complaint or complaint made in person is not resolved, NCTC shall provide written notice to the complainant of their right to file a complaint with the Commission, and shall provide them with the address and telephone number of the Commission. If a telephonic complaint is not resolved, NCTC will provide at least oral notice to the complainant of their right to file a complaint with the Commission and the address and telephone number of the Commission.