Might Be Something To The ISP Slowdown

June 25, 2015

I took the Internet Health Test and it found my download speed was a whopping 2mb on their test, which measures speed outside of the ISP network.

My ISP here is Time Warner Cable and I pay $60 a month for "up to" 20mb. A couple months ago I tried various speed tests and the fastest was Time Warner's which showed 16mb, though others made it as 12mb. Today I tried their test again and it showed 7.5mb.

Oddly enough they promise 2mb up and that's still what I get, only the download speed is half.

I tried to contact TWC support to find the legal agreement defining what they promise to do but there is only a single large agreement, and it's fairly vague. To wit:

Throughput Rates. We do not guarantee that you will obtain the Maximum Throughput Rate for the level of HSD Service to which you subscribe at any given time or on a continuous basis. The Throughput Rate you experience at any time will be affected by a number of factors, including the nature of the Internet and its protocols, our facilities, the bandwidth we devote to carriage of protocol and network information, the condition and configuration of our Equipment or Customer-Owned Equipment at your location, whether you use an in-home wi-fi network (which can significantly limit the Throughput Rate obtained by devices attached to it), our use of Network Management Tools, data volume and congestion on our network and the Internet, the time of day you are using the HSD Service, the performance of the website servers you try to access, and the priority we give to our business subscribers' data traffic and specialized services we deliver using our Equipment as described in our Network Management Disclosures.

Weaselspeak of course. It's interesting that there are no actual legal definitions of what each "package" provides other than the marketing info of "up to 20MB" in the case of the "Turbo Internet".

The basic package of 6mb is about half the price of the one I am paying for but is much closer to what I am actually getting. I wonder if it's also at half speed. It seems I am paying for more than I am getting. Of course their legalweasels managed to make it seem I should not expect to get anything at all, despite using (1) their equipment and modem (2) their internet connection to communicate with (3) their speed test.

If you are reading this from a modern country with high-speed connections, please don't laugh too much at me. In this third-world internet country our local ISPs are mostly monopolists who really could care less about their customers.

Of course the weasels know full well that they can throttle our speeds done to 1200baud modem speed (for those old enough to remember those) and still meet their legal obligations. Isn't monopoly wonderful?

I'd be happy if I actually got 20mb. The only other alternative I have is DSL at the max limit of distance which if lucky is 2mb.

So are the ISP's all throttling speeds because they hate our freedoms (oh wait those are terrorists), or maybe they don't like Net Neutrality and smugly feel they can do whatever they want to us to "protest" and there is nothing we can do about it?

I don't know, all I can measure is what I am getting and it's not worth $70 a month. It's like buying gas and only getting to drive half as far, or buying half eaten apples, or watching half a movie. At least in those cases we could go elsewhere. That's the beauty of competition in a "market economy".

I wish I could set up a continuous (like once per hour) automated speed test to both inside and outside the Time Warner Cable network, just to provide some better stats.

Time to upload this post. brrrrrrzipbrrrzip <- old modem noise.