Crusading law prof Tim Wu -- who coined the term "Network Neutrality" and literally wrote the book on telcoms, corruption, and networks as a force for corruption or liberation -- has a new gig: he's "Senior Enforcement Counsel and Special Advisor" to the New York Attorney General, and he's on the warpath.
First up is Time Warner Cable, a company that provides excellent services at a reasonable price said no one ever. Wu and the AG office distributed open source network monitoring service to New Yorkers and produced a dataset showing, to the third decimal place, just how terrible Time Warner's Internet offering is. He's written them a blazing open letter laying out the problems that they've documented and asking what Time Warner's going to do about it.
Wu shot my dwarf in the back with a crossbow when we were in elementary school together in Toronto, but with this towering and powerful invective, he has redeemed himself at last. All is forgiven, Tim.
Wu—coiner of the phrase "network neutrality"—has been investigating the speeds delivered by TWC, Verizon, and Cablevision. Wu's letter did not include specific numbers, saying the results are "preliminary," but "troubling." Wu declined to make the numbers public when contacted by Ars.
Wu's letter castigated TWC for promising "blazing-fast" and "super-reliable" Internet connections in advertisements, while providing substandard service. Wu wrote:
[I]t appears that the company has been failing to take adequate or necessary steps to keep pace with the demand of Time Warner Cable customers—at times letting connections with key Internet content providers become so congested that large volumes of Internet data were regularly lost or discarded. This translates into degraded performance for customers, including those using popular on-demand video services, like Netflix—despite specific promises from Time Warner Cable that they could stream video content reliably and with “no buffering.” The problems appear to have been particularly acute at primetime, precisely when many customers log on or tune in. Customers have been frustrated, as movies freeze, websites load endlessly, and games become non-responsive. In addition, it appears that Time Warner Cable has been advertising its Wi-Fi in ways that defy the technology’s technical capabilities and has been provisioning some of its customers with equipment that simply cannot achieve the higher bandwidths the company has sold to them.
Open letter to Time Warner [Tim Wu/New York Attorney General's Office]
Time Warner Cable Internet speeds are “abysmal,” NY AG claims
[Jon Brodkin/Ars Technica]