Open Internet Policy

Open Internet Policy

COLUMBIA ENERGY INTERNET

Open Internet Policy

(as of June 12, 2018)

 

Columbia Energy LLC (“Columbia Energy,” “we,” “our,” or “us”) provides high-speed broadband, satellite, and fiber transmission Internet access services, voice services, and other ancillary services to residential and business Subscribers in Washington and Oregon (collectively, “Services”).  Columbia Energy is committed to offering reliable Internet access services that will allow our Subscribers to take full advantage of all of the lawful content and services available on the Internet.  We support the following Net Neutrality principles:

  • Transparency
  • NO Blocking of lawful Internet content, subject to reasonable network management as described below
  • NO Throttling of lawful Internet content, subject to reasonable network management as described below
  • NO Unreasonable Discrimination
  • NO Paid Prioritization of Internet content
  • Freedom of Subscribers to access lawful Internet content
  • Freedom of Subscribers to use non-harmful applications of their choice
  • Freedom of Subscribers to attach non-harmful personal devices

This Open Internet Policy sets forth certain information regarding the policies and practices of Columbia Energy and how we manage our networks for residential and business broadband Internet access service (the “Columbia Energy Networks”).  This Open Internet Policy is a supplement to and is incorporated by reference in the various legal terms and conditions of our Services, which are found at our website., including but not limited to the Standard Customer Internet Agreement, Internet Acceptable Use Policy (collectively, “Service Agreements”).  In the event of any inconsistency between this Open Internet Policy and the Service Agreements, this Open Internet Policy shall control.  

This Open Internet Policy applies to broadband Internet access service Columbia Energy provides to residential and business Subscribers using fixed wireless and satellite transmissions.  It does not apply to Subscribers that receive the service via fiber transmission.  Columbia Energy serves fiber Subscribers with a customized Internet access service plan with varying download/upload speeds, related installation and/or other fees/charges.  The FCC’s Open Internet Policy regulation only applies to “mass market retail services” and does not apply to the services Columbia Energy provides to fiber Subscribers where customized service plans are offered based on a Subscriber’s location and specific needs.  We do, however, abide by the same Net Neutrality principles as mentioned above and the network management practices detailed in this Policy.

Columbia Energy’s High Speed Broadband Internet Service is primarily a fixed wireless service using bandwidth that is shared with other users on our various computers, servers, transmission equipment and other infrastructure in various states.  Generally, given the nature of fixed wireless services, certain circumstances may affect the speed and quality of the service, including but not limited to foliage, line-of-sight obstructions, the distance between a Subscriber’s premises and the transmission point, as well as the Subscriber’s connection of multiple devices to our transmission equipment and other broadband infrastructure.

Columbia Energy is an authorized dealer and installer of Viasat™ Satellite Internet Service (“Viasat”) (formerly called Excede Internet®). Viasat provides Internet access service when other access services are not available using satellite transmission and using bandwidth that is shared with other users on our various computers, servers, transmission equipment and other infrastructure in various states.  We also offer Internet access services via fiber, called Fiber. All three types of transmissions are collectively called, the “Columbia Energy Networks”).  Although we have engineered the Columbia Energy Networks to provide consistent high-speed data services, some network management for these scenarios is required in order to provide the best online experience possible for all of our Subscribers.  Very heavy data usage by even a few Subscribers at times and places of competing Columbia Energy Networks demand can affect the performance for all Subscribers. And the Service performance may vary based on the specific transmission used to provide the Service.  

 I. NETWORK MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

Congestion Management:  Our Subscribers are subject to the maximum connection speeds set forth in the specific Columbia Energy Service they have purchased unless there is a need to make adjustments based on congestion management.  In a manner consistent with the Columbia Energy Service Agreements, Columbia Energy monitors network traffic to ensure capacity is sufficient to maintain an efficient network load, to perform diagnostics and to otherwise manage and enhance our network.  To help manage traffic on the Columbia Energy Network, Columbia Energy may give priority on an unpaid basis to interactive or critical classes of traffic such as VoIP, and traffic essential to the efficient operation of the Columbia Energy Networks.  Columbia Energy’s congestion management practices are in place to ensure that all Subscribers experience high quality service.  If Columbia Energy determines, in its sole and reasonable discretion, that the manner in which a Subscriber is using the Services negatively impacts other Subscribers or the Columbia Energy Networks, Columbia Energy reserves the right to apply additional congestion management techniques.   

Columbia Energy’s network management is temporary and based on constantly changing and dynamic network conditions.

A. Blocking: Other than reasonable network management practices disclosed below, we do not block or otherwise prevent a Subscriber from accessing lawful content, applications, services, or your use of non-harmful devices. 

B. Throttling: Other than reasonable network management practices disclosed below, we do not throttle or otherwise shape, slow, degrade or impair a Subscriber from accessing lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, application, service, user, or use of a non-harmful device.  All lawful Internet use is handled identically.

C. Affiliated Prioritization: We do not directly or indirectly favor some traffic over other traffic, including through use of techniques such as traffic shaping, prioritization, or resource reservation, to benefit any of our affiliates, defined as an entity that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with Columbia Energy.

D. Paid Prioritization: We do not directly or indirectly favor some traffic over other traffic, including through use of techniques such as traffic shaping, prioritization, or resource reservation, in exchange for consideration, monetary or otherwise.

E.  Congestion Management: Our Services are provided on a “best efforts” basis and our congestion management practices are in place to ensure that all Subscribers experience as high quality a service as possible.  Our typical frequency of congestion is estimated at less than 10%.  Subscribers select how much high-speed data they receive under a designated service plan.  If a Satellite Subscriber exceeds his/her/its selected high-speed allotment during a service cycle, we may reduce the Subscriber’s data speed for the remainder of that service cycle.  We do not impose any additional usage limits for the Services.

In a manner consistent with our Service Agreements, we may monitor network traffic to ensure capacity is sufficient to maintain an efficient network load, to perform diagnostics and to otherwise manage and enhance the Columbia Energy Networks.  To help manage traffic on the Columbia Energy Network, during times of high demand, we may allocate available bandwidth among Subscribers on an equal basis, by plan level.  In addition, we may prioritize certain applications, such as public safety and VoIP, over other traffic types. 

i. Columbia Energy may use fair-queueing, which allocates network resources evenly when the Columbia Energy Networks reach maximum capacity.

ii. Columbia Energy may also use specific traffic shaping software in order to better manage Subscribers’ data.

iii. Columbia Energy may also conduct deep packet inspection (“DPI”), which is a type of filtering that will examine the data and/or header part of Internet traffic for viruses, spam, intrusions, or protocol non-compliance that may harm a Columbia Energy Networks; to determine the routing of Internet traffic; for internal statistical and performance purposes; for lawful intercept capabilities, and/or enforcement of our Service Agreements.  We do not use DPI to conduct data mining for targeted marketing or advertising, or anti-competitive purposes.

iv. If Columbia Energy determines, in our sole and reasonable discretion, that the manner in which a Subscriber is using the service negatively impacts other Subscribers or a Columbia Energy Network, we reserve the right to apply additional congestion management techniques. 

F. Application-Specific Behavior: Subject to the qualification that Columbia Energy may reasonably limit or rate-control specific or classes of applications, or other specific protocols or protocol ports as set forth below, Columbia Energy generally treats all lawful applications identically.  However, we reserve the right to block or limit access to any applications, ports, or protocols that we determine, in our sole and reasonable discretion, may expose any Columbia Energy Network to potential legal liability, harm any Columbia Energy Network or otherwise interfere with or impair the experience of other Subscribers on a Columbia Energy Network. 

Subject to the qualification that Columbia Energy may reasonably limit peer-to-peer applications as set forth above, Columbia Energy generally treats all lawful applications identically; however, Columbia Energy reserves the right to block or limit access to any applications that Columbia Energy determines, in Columbia Energy’s sole and reasonable discretion, may expose Columbia Energy to potential legal liability, harm a Columbia Energy Network or otherwise interfere with or impair the experience of other Subscribers on a Columbia Energy Network.

The Columbia Energy Networks may not support certain high-bandwidth video and voice applications, or peer-to-peer applications that carry unlawful or harmful content/software.

G.  Device Attachment Rules: Generally, you do not need approval to connect a third-party device to the Columbia Energy Networks.  Columbia Energy does not limit the types of devices that can be connected to the Columbia Energy Network, provided the devices are used for lawful purposes and do not harm a Columbia Energy Network, violate our Service Agreement, expose Columbia Energy to potential legal liability, or harm other users of Columbia Energy Networks.  However, if we determine, in our sole and reasonable discretion, that the connection of a particular type of device to any Columbia Energy Network negatively impacts other users or the Columbia Energy Networks, or may expose us to potential legal liability or violates our Service Agreement, we reserve the right to limit or restrict Subscribers’ ability to connect such type of device to the Columbia Energy Networks.  If you need technical support services to assist you in the installation and configuration of third party devices, please contact us or visit billing@columbiainet.com.  Depending on your level of service and your specific Service Agreement, there may be an additional monthly fee for our IT support services.

H. Security: Columbia Energy uses industry-standard tools and generally accepted best practices and policies to take reasonable physical, technical and administrative safeguards to protect the integrity and operations of the Columbia Energy Network and our Subscribers from malicious and unwanted Internet traffic, as well as harmful online content and activities.  However, Columbia Energy cannot and does not guarantee complete security.  Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors, may compromise the security of Personal Information at any time.

Subscriber’s account is protected by a password for Subscriber privacy and security.  It is Subscriber’s responsibility to prevent unauthorized access to Subscriber’s account and Personal Information by selecting and protecting Subscriber password and/or other sign-on mechanism appropriately and limiting access to Subscriber computer, tablet or device and browser by signing off after Subscriber has finished accessing Subscriber’s account.  Subscriber is required to notify us immediately if Subscriber’s password or account has been disclosed to a person whose name does not appear on Subscriber’s account, even if you have allowed such disclosure.  Subscriber understands, acknowledges and agrees that Subscriber is solely responsible for any use of Columbia Energy Services via Subscriber’s username and password.

We also monitor the Columbia Energy Networks for security threats and may prohibit certain activity on the Columbia Energy Networks that we may deem, in our sole and reasonable discretion, poses a potential risk to the Columbia Energy Networks and/or to other Subscribers.  Triggering conditions include but are not limited to denial of service activity, IP address or port scanning, excessive account login failures; or certain Internet addresses that are disruptive, malicious and typically persistent.  If we notice excessive Subscriber connections, including but not limited to Wi-Fi connections, that are harmful or are commonly used to disrupt the normal use of a Columbia Energy Network or use by other Subscribers, we will attempt to notify the Subscriber to work collaboratively to remedy the issue to the extent possible; however, we reserve the right as a reasonable security practice, without advance notice, to block any Subscriber traffic, ports, protocols, devices, or applications (such as peer-to-peer applications that may carry malicious software or are known to be problematic) that we determine, in our sole and reasonable discretion, may cause harm to the Columbia Energy Networks or to other Subscribers, or may expose us to potential legal liability.  Please see our Internet Acceptable Use Policy for details:  http://www.columbiainet.com/content/internet-acceptable-use-policy

 

II.  PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS AND COMMERCIAL TERMS

Specific service fees and rates for an individual residential or business Subscriber are set forth in the designated Service Agreement.  Some plans are available to both residential and business Subscribers.  Other plans may be only available for business Subscribers. Various information is also publicized on the Columbia Energy website:  http://www.columbiainet.com

A. Service Description, Pricing and Fees: Columbia Energy is continually working to develop a variety of services and plans to meet your individual needs, budget, and Internet demands now and in the future. When we offer new online or satellite services, we will provide the characteristics, capabilities and terms of such new service offerings to allow you to make knowledgeable choices about which services make the most sense for you. Columbia Energy will continue to provide you with accurate and relevant information in plain language so you can make informed choices.

Links to a current description of the categories of Internet access service offered to residential and/or business Subscribers are available below, including pricing, expected and actual access speeds are as selected by customer and package for all services with latency of 50 ms on Satellite, 15 ms on Broadband with lower latency in many areas, and the suitability for the service is the sole responsibility of the customer:

Residential and Business Services:  

i .Broadband High-Speed Internet Service Monthly Plans: details available at http://www.columbiainet.com/content/broadband-internet

ii.Viasat™ Satellite Internet Service Monthly Plans (formerly Excede Internet®) (minimum 2-year commitment): http://www.columbiainet.com/content/satellite

B. Impact of Non-Broadband Internet Access Service Data Services (also known as “Specialized Services”): We do not offer data-related Specialized Services to Subscribers that will affect the last-mile capacity available for, and the performance of, our broadband Internet access service offerings. However, there may be a temporary slowing of Internet speed when using any broadband and VoIP services at the same time.

 

C. Various Fees. We will assess the following fees for our Fixed Wireless, and/or Viasat Satellite Internet Access Services, where applicable. Please see our website and/or Standard Customer Internet Agreement for pricing details.

  1. Security Deposit:
  2. Installation Fee Broadband:
  3. Installation Fee Satellite:
  4. Equipment Rental/Lease Fee Broadband:
  5. Equipment Rental/Lease Fee Satellite:
  6. Equipment Repair/Replacement Fee:
  7. Late Fee:
  8. Cancellation Fee:
  9. Early Termination Fee
  10. Reconnection Fee for Terminated Service Due to Non-Payment:
  11. ACH Overdrawn Check Fee:
  12. CAN-SPAM Damage Resolution Fees:
  13. Broadband Static IP Address Fee if required:

D. Network Speeds: Columbia Energy offers a standard range of download speeds to residential Subscribers varying from 1.5 Mbps to 1000 Mbps depending on location and packages ordered.  The standard range of download speeds for business Subscribers is from 1.5 Mbps to 1000 Mbps depending on packages ordered.  The Columbia Energy Networks are designed to support these speeds to help ensure that every Subscriber receives the speeds to which they have subscribed.  Columbia Energy however cannot guarantee speeds at all times, as there are many factors and conditions beyond Columbia Energy’s control that can affect Internet performance.  Some of these external factors and conditions are:

  • Performance of Subscriber computer and/or router
  • Type of connection to Subscriber’s own equipment (i.e., Wi-Fi)
  • Congestion of websites and services on Internet
  • Website or service limiting speeds on the Internet
  • Internet and equipment performance outside of the Columbia Energy Network

The Columbia Energy Services are advertised as “up to” certain speeds reflecting performance under ideal conditions.  Without purchasing an expensive “dedicated” Internet connection, no Internet Service Provider can guarantee package speeds at all times.

E. Impact of Non-Broadband Internet Connection Service Data Services (also known as “Specialized Services”): Columbia Energy does not offer Specialized Services to Subscribers that will affect the last-mile capacity available for, and the performance of, our Columbia Energy Services.  We note, however, that there may be a temporary slowing of Internet speed when using any of Columbia Energy’s broadband and VoIP services at the same time.

F. Acceptable Use: As set forth in the applicable Service Agreements, all of Columbia Energy’s residential and business service offerings are subject to the standalone “Internet Acceptable Use Policy (“AUP”) for all Internet Access Services.] We may from time to time establish or revise this AUP and any of the Service Agreements.  

G. Privacy Statement:  Columbia Energy’s current Privacy Policy is available at the following address: http://columbiainet.com/content/privacy-policy-and-your-california-privacy-rights.

H. Redress Options: Columbia Energy endeavors to respond to all Subscriber concerns and complaints in a timely and fair manner.  We encourage Subscribers to contact us at our web site with any complaints or issues with the service.  For escalation information please contact the local number Monday – Thursday and ask for the Manager of Communications:   http://www.columbiainet.com/content/contact-us.

I. Disputes and Arbitration: The Service Agreements limit the remedies available to Subscribers in the event of a dispute.  If necessary Arbitration is available through the Standard Customer Internet Agreement: 

III. FCC REQUIREMENTS AND COMPLAINT PROCESS

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has adopted rules to preserve the Internet as an open platform (“Rules”).  Information regarding these Rules is available on the FCC’s website at: https://www.fcc.gov/restoring-internet-freedom  

If a Subscriber believes that we are not in compliance with the FCC’s rules, the Subscriber may file an informal complaint with the FCC.  The FCC urges Subscribers to submit any complaints via its website at the following address: https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us.

IV. ADDITIONAL DISCLAIMERS

This Open Internet Policy does not affect, alter or otherwise supersede the legal status of cooperative efforts by Columbia Energy that are designed to curtail copyright or trademark infringement in response to information provided by rights holders in a manner that is timely, effective, and accommodates the legitimate interests of the company, rights holders, our Subscribers and other end users.  Furthermore, this Open Internet Policy does not prohibit us from making reasonable efforts to address the transfer of unlawful content or unlawful transfers of content.  For additional information, please review the Service Agreements and Privacy Policy.

 

 

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