High Speed Internet Service Management
CenturyLink is committed to providing its customers with the best online experience. We follow industry-leading network security standards to ensure the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of our customer network and of our customers' confidential information. We view network management as critical to the services we provide to our customers. Managing our network well is one of the most important parts of our business. It ensures that our customers have access to the content and applications that they enjoy.
Congestion Management Policy
CenturyLink engineers monitor and proactively reinforce our network with additional capacity in areas where growth trends identify a need. If acute network congestion occurs, CenturyLink employs various techniques to ensure a positive customer experience and fair distribution of network resources.
Based on our experience, CenturyLink customers may encounter congestion, if at all, during the hours of peak usage – Weekdays between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. local time. During peak hours, the majority of residential customers are attempting to use the Internet simultaneously, giving rise to a greater potential for congestion.
When network congestion is identified, CenturyLink engineers employ various techniques to ensure a positive customer experience. Our network management techniques include ensuring that customer systems are not propagating viruses or distributing spam email (i.e. by preventing virus/spam delivery to customer email accounts). We also reinforce our network with additional capacity in areas where congestion is identified or as part of standard network engineering design plans. In some cases, we may limit the number of customers that may be served on a particular network node until additional capacity can be added. Also, we seek to ensure that our customers are not excessively using the service.
Customers in areas where CenturyLink provides wireless hotspots with CenturyLink's Wi-Fi service should consult the applicable Terms and Conditions specific to Wi-Fi service for further information about these practices.
CenturyLink Excessive Use Policy
The CenturyLink Excessive Use Policy (EUP) sets download guidelines based on the High-Speed Internet service plan that a customer purchases.
CenturyLink is committed to providing an optimum Internet experience for every customer we serve. To accomplish this, CenturyLink needs to ensure that customers are on the rate plan that meets their data download requirements. Of the millions of CenturyLink High-Speed Internet customers, less than 0.5 percent are expected to exceed the download usage limits provided with their monthly plan. This small percentage of customers is on the extreme margin, using 30 to 1000 times the monthly volume of customers in the same speed tier.
It is for this reason that CenturyLink has made the decision to place download limits on residential plans. This policy only impacts residential customer plan download usage; upload usage is not impacted. It does not impact business class High-Speed Internet plans. Residential 1 Gbps plans are not subject to download limits. High-Speed Internet and video traffic associated with Prism™ TV service is not subject to the CenturyLink EUP.
CenturyLink will not charge a fee for excessive download usage. CenturyLink will weigh variables such as network health, congestion, availability of customer usage data, and the line speed purchased by the customer as factors when enforcing this policy. For those customers who are subject to EUP enforcement, we will notify them up to three times using a mix of mediums including an online pop-up message, email or phone call.
Customers will be given options to reduce their usage, subscribe to a higher speed residential plan, or migrate to an alternative business class High-Speed Internet service. Our EUP is application neutral; it only considers the total usage (bytes transferred) over a defined period of time independent of protocols, applications, or the content that is generating the excessive usage.
CenturyLink's download guidelines are designed to support today's usage patterns. Our plans include the following download usage limits:
- 1.5Mbps plans – 150 Gigabytes
- Plans greater than 1.5Mbps – 250 Gigabytes
View questions and answers (PDF) about the Excessive Use Policy (EUP).
CenturyLink High-Speed Internet customers receive full access to all of the lawful content, services, and applications that the Internet has to offer. CenturyLink 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 described in the security policy section below.
Device Attachment Policy
Customers have the flexibility of attaching any MODEM of their choice to their CenturyLink High-Speed Internet service provided that the modem supports the technology on which the customer is provisioned. CenturyLink will not support any MODEM related issues for customers that attach a non-certified MODEM. A list of approved MODEMs can be found on the attached .PDF document. Customers who choose to attach a MODEM approved by CenturyLink may contact our High-Speed Internet Technical Support available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to receive support. Contact information for our High-Speed Internet Technical Support can be found in the activation material.
CenturyLink customers may attach devices of their choice to the MODEM they select and any attached devices must be used in a manner consistent with our Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy.
Customers in areas where CenturyLink provides wireless hotspots with CenturyLink's Wi-Fi service can connect wirelessly using any device equipped with IEEE 802.11 protocol.
CenturyLink engineers are dedicated to managing our network to ensure that all customers receive the most secure online experience. We use industry-leading security practices to manage our network, provide services to our customers, and ensure compliance with our Acceptable Use Policy and the terms of our High-Speed Internet agreement. These tools and practices may change from time to time to keep up with the new and innovative ways that customers use the network and to keep up with changing network technologies.
When malicious behavior is identified, CenturyLink engineers employ various techniques to help ensure a positive customer experience. Our security management techniques include ensuring that customer systems are not propagating viruses, distributing spam email, or engaging in other malicious behavior. We use industry best practices to prevent virus/spam delivery to customer email accounts. We provide antivirus and antimalware applications at no additional charge to our High-Speed Internet customers. We automatically detect and mitigate DoS (Denial of Service) attacks for our High-Speed Internet customers. We block malicious sites and phishing sites to prevent fraud against our customers and to prevent our customers from getting infected via DNS (Domain Name Service) black-holing and Internet Protocol (IP) address black-holing.
Specific security practices deployed by CenturyLink may include but are not limited to:
IP Spoofing Prevention
The basic protocol for sending data over the Internet network and many other computer networks is Internet Protocol (IP). The header of each IP packet contains, among other things, the numerical source and destination address of the packet. The source address is normally the address that the packet was sent from. By forging the header so it contains a different address, an attacker can make it appear that the packet was sent by a different machine. The machine that receives spoofed packets will send a response back to the forged source address, which means that this technique is mainly used when the attacker does not care about the response or the attacker has some way of guessing the response.
CenturyLink applies security measures to prevent an attacker within the network from launching IP spoofing attacks against these machines and flooding the network with unwanted data that can cause congestion.
DoS/Distributed DoS Monitoring and Mitigation
A denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) or distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) is an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to its intended users. Although the means to carry out, motives for, and targets of a DoS attack may vary, it generally consists of the concerted efforts of a person, or multiple people to prevent an Internet site or service from functioning efficiently or at all, temporarily or indefinitely.
CenturyLink applies security measures to prevent an attacker within the network from launching DoS or DDoS to ensure that customers can access the internet when needed.
Port 25 Blocking
CenturyLink filters port 25 to reduce the spread of email viruses and spam (unsolicited email). Email viruses allow malicious software to control infected computers. These viruses direct the infected machines to send email viruses and spam through port 25. Port 25 filtering is a recognized Internet industry best practice for service providers like CenturyLink to filter e-mail traffic. The Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG), a global organization focused on preserving electronic messaging from online exploits and abuse with the goal of enhancing user trust and confidence, recommends that "providers block incoming traffic to your network from port 25."
More information regarding CenturyLink's port 25 filtering policy can be found at http://qwest.centurylink.com/internethelp/email-troubleshooting-port25.html.
More information regarding the MAWWG Port 25 filtering best practices can be found at http://www.maawg.org/sites/maawg/files/news/MAAWG_Port25rec0511.pdf.
The CenturyLink Customer Internet Protection Program (CIPP)
CenturyLink has voluntarily undertaken a program to help curtail the spread of viruses and malicious software (malware), including botnets, and assist its customers whose computers are infected with viruses and malware. The CIPP is available to CenturyLink's residential and small business broadband customers on CenturyLink's Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) network and provides infection notification and assistance with the mitigation of virus and malware infections, including botnets, once such infections have been detected. CenturyLink proactively provides virus and malware notification, mitigation and security education for these broadband customers.
The three goals of CenturyLink's CIPP are to: 1) automate the notification of virus- infected customers; 2) assist customers in an online, self-help manner to clean their computers of infections; and 3) educate its customers about the dangers of viruses and malware and benefits of good Internet security practices.
CenturyLink residential and small business broadband customers automatically receive this service at no additional charge.
Upon notifying a customer of a detected infection, CenturyLink informs the customer of safe Internet security practices and offers the customer online self-help tools, if practical, to remove the infection from the computer. The customer's unencrypted World Wide Web (Web) traffic is redirected to a walled garden to perform the notification. Ports commonly used to spread malware are blocked while the customer is in walled garden status. Most normal customer e-mail is not blocked while the customer is in walled garden status. These customers have the option to immediately restore their Internet connection to normal service status at this point or continue through the process for mitigation of the infection. CenturyLink asks infected customers to review the Internet security information that CenturyLink has provided and to access the downloadable or online tools that will help them remove the virus or malware.
The CenturyLink CIPP website also provides customers with links to virus and malware removal guides (http://www.centurylink.com/home/support/internetprotection/). In some cases, customers may need to contact an anti-virus or anti-malware software provider to help them remove the virus or malware. If a customer tries to remove a virus or malware and still has problems, the customer can call CenturyLink broadband technical support; however, if the customer has a malware infection, CenturyLink encourages the customer to get assistance from an anti-malware software provider. CenturyLink does not scan customers' computers for viruses or malware – nor does CenturyLink remove viruses or malware from computers for customers. Further, CenturyLink does not scan or otherwise monitor customers' content.
Other security practices to address viruses or malware
CenturyLink may block connections on other ports that are commonly used to exploit other customers or non-customer computers.
CenturyLink may block sites that are used in a malicious manner to infect customers, perform fraud against them and otherwise as needed to protect our network and our customers.
CenturyLink separates public Wi-Fi traffic on wireless hotspots with CenturyLink's Wi-Fi to protect the private traffic of the business customer providing the wireless hotspot.
In addition to protecting its own network, CenturyLink provides information to its customers to help them protect themselves when they are online. Customers can find this information at http://www.centurylink.com/Pages/AboutUs/Legal/onlineSecurity.jsp.
Other Network Practices Description
The following section provides additional information with regard to certain services that CenturyLink offers its customers.
In areas where CenturyLink is a facility based CLEC, CenturyLink is a reseller of AT&T High Speed Internet Services. AT&T's disclosure can be found at http://www.att.com/gen/public-affairs?pid=20879.
In the areas where CenturyLink is a CLEC reseller of AT&T High-Speed Internet Services, the business customer price lists may be found here.
CenturyLink Web Helper
The CenturyLink Web Helper service provides helpful search results to our customers as they browse the Web. Customers may encounter the CenturyLink Web Helper when they click on an invalid link, enter an invalid web address, or enter a search term into their browser's address bar. Misspellings and typing errors frequently cause these errors.
Customers can opt out of this service at any time. When customers opt-out, their preference is stored permanently and applies to all computers connecting to the Internet via their CenturyLink connection. To disable or enable the service customers must be on a computer connected to their CenturyLink modem. Customers may disable CenturyLink Web Helper by clicking http://webhelper.centurylink.com/prefs.php.
Customers may view a copy of the CenturyLink Web Helper FAQ's at http://webhelper.centurylink.com/faq.php.
Service Description Policy
When you order CenturyLink High-Speed Internet access service, the service we will quote you is based on the connection speeds that are available at your address. We continually upgrade our network, but our quoted speed is based on the characteristics of the relevant network facilities at the time you order. We confirm your advertised speed at the time of installation.
The actual throughput you experience may vary. During most periods, you can generally expect throughput ranging from 80% to 110% of the advertised speed of service purchased. The service speed is provisioned between the network device and in premises modem and may vary due to physical condition of the line and other factors. The percentage of throughput achieved will vary depending on the amount of bandwidth our network uses in delivering service to you, as well as other factors outside of CenturyLink's facilities control such as customer location, the quality of the inside wiring within the home, the websites accessed by the customer, usage of the network during peak periods of the day and the customer's equipment within the home or premises.
Latency is highly variable depending on the network path, other providers in the path, as well as the actual distance to the destination and performance of the end destinations servers. CenturyLink High-Speed Internet customers should expect roundtrip latency to most general Internet sites in the range from 50-150 milliseconds.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has conducted a broadband testing program which provides measurements of ISP performance, including peak time upload and download speed and latency performance. The FCC's report on the results of this program, which includes data regarding the performance of CenturyLink High-Speed Internet services, is available at http://www.fcc.gov/measuring-broadband-america#download.
Note, due to CenturyLink's corporate history, the relevant data in the FCC report may refer to a CenturyLink or a Qwest service depending upon a customer's geographic area.
Consumers may also determine the High-Speed Internet speeds available at their address on the CenturyLink website located at www.CenturyLink.com. For a full description of the CenturyLink High-Speed Internet service please refer to the services agreements at http://www.centurylink.com/Pages/AboutUs/Legal/.
Once service is installed, customers can also determine the throughput of their High-Speed Internet service via CenturyLink Speed Test servers available at the following websites:
These websites will provide the throughput and latency results for service provisioned over the CenturyLink network. Third-party speed test results may be different than the data provided on the CenturyLink-provided speed test since third-party sites may include data for non-CenturyLink network facilities.
All CenturyLink High-Speed Internet services are provided either by fiber, DOCSIS, wireless hotspots with CenturyLink's Wi-Fi service, or digital subscriber line technology. The particular technology for your service will be based upon what is available in your geographic area. CenturyLink High-Speed Internet services may be suitable for real-time applications such as VoIP. The suitability for real-time applications depends on the speed purchased, bandwidth required for the application, and time of day usage of the application.
Network speeds for wireless hotspots with CenturyLink's Wi-Fi service may vary. The performance the user experiences, once they connect, may vary based on any number of factors, such as the maximum bandwidth allocated for Wi-Fi services, the number of other users trying to use the same Wi-Fi at the same time, the user's computer or wireless device, the Wi-Fi receiving antenna, and the distance from the Wi-Fi router. These Wi-Fi routers use spectrum that the FCC has allocated for "unlicensed" use, which means that, like wireless routers used for in-home networking, the use of this spectrum is not protected from interference from other devices using the same spectrum in the same geographical area. This makes it inherently difficult to predict what kind of performance you can expect.
Customers in areas where CenturyLink provides wireless hotspots with CenturyLink's Wi-Fi service can find additional information regarding the service terms and conditions at http://wifi.centurylink.net/tc/.
CenturyLink Specialized Services Policy
CenturyLink™ Prism™ TV
CenturyLink offers Internet Protocol-video based services called Prism™ TV to its customers in limited locations. Prism is a 100 percent digital TV service offering local, premium and high-definition channels delivered over the company's advanced, managed network. Prism™ TV is built on an interactive platform, where updates are made automatically to offer customers a better combination of TV entertainment features compared to cable and satellite. CenturyLink™ Prism™ TV provides access to more than 240 all-digital channels, including Hispanic and international channels, as well as Pay per View and Video on Demand. Prism™ TV service is available in a number of different packages to meet various customer needs.
Customers may purchase Prism™ TV in a bundle with CenturyLink High-Speed Internet service. Customers choosing this bundle will receive their Prism™ TV video content over the same broadband connection as they receive their High-Speed Internet service. In order to provide a consistently high-quality video service, Prism™ TV traffic is assigned a higher service priority than public Internet traffic (i.e. relative to a Prism™ TV customer's public Internet traffic on transmission paths dedicated to the Prism™ TV customer and relative to all public Internet traffic on those portions of the CenturyLink last mile broadband network architecture that support both Prism™ TV and access to the public Internet). This prioritization technique only applies during times of congestion over that last-mile connection. CenturyLink is also committed to providing its customers with the best online experience. When network congestion is identified, CenturyLink engineers employ various techniques to ensure a positive customer experience. CenturyLink reinforces its network with additional network capacity in areas where congestion is identified or as part of standard network engineering design plans. In some cases, we may limit the number of customers that may be served on a particular network node until additional capacity can be added. Also, a significant portion of the CenturyLink last-mile broadband network architecture that supports CenturyLink High-Speed Internet service consists of a dedicated broadband connection to the home. But, as a result of the network practices described in this section, a Prism™ TV customer's public Internet throughput speeds may be temporarily reduced when the customer accesses a Prism™ TV provided streaming or VOD video. It is also conceivable that other CenturyLink High-Speed Internet service customers who live near Prism™ TV subscribers could see slower broadband speeds relative to the performance of Prism™ TV traffic on the same network architecture during certain times of overall network congestion.
CenturyLink™ Prism™ TV customers can find additional disclosures regarding their PRISM TV service on the CenturyLink website using the following link: http://www.centurylink.com/Pages/Disclaimers/dtvDisclaimer.jsp
CenturyLink offers mass market retail High-Speed Internet service to residential and business customers. Customers may purchase their CenturyLink High-Speed Internet service with other valuable services offered by CenturyLink such as voice, wireless service from Verizon Wireless, television from CenturyLink, or DIRECTV. Customers may also purchase CenturyLink High-Speed Internet service as a stand-alone product called Pure Broadband. Availability, features, rates, terms, and conditions may vary by location.
CenturyLink's residential High-Speed Internet service offers a variety of speed and features to consumers with available speeds from 256Kbps/256Kbps up to 100Mbps/12Mbps and including email, customizable homepage, and backup and support services. Upgrades are available at a small cost for increased backup space, upgraded security options, PC tune ups and discounted or free in-person support. CenturyLink homepage includes Power-up Packs that provide VIP access to premium content services. In certain areas where CenturyLink has deployed fiber to the premises facilities, speeds up to 1 Gbps may be available.
Current information, including pricing information, regarding CenturyLink's residential High-Speed Internet service is available at http://www.centurylink.com/home/internet/.
Wireless networking is also available over CenturyLink's residential High-Speed Internet service. Additional information regarding wireless networking is available at http://qwest.centurylink.com/residential/homewirelessnetwork/.
CenturyLink's business retail High-Speed Internet service provides a variety of speed and features for businesses with speeds from 256Kbps/256Kbps up to 100Mbps/12Mbps to choose from, including: email accounts, web hosting, 1 GB storage, domain name registration, backup solutions, security options and more. Current information, including pricing information, regarding CenturyLink's business High-Speed Internet service is available at http://www.centurylink.com/small-business/products/business-internet-data/.
Customers purchasing CenturyLink's business retail High-Speed Internet service may use a CenturyLink provided modem with built-in Wi-Fi router capabilities. Additional information regarding CenturyLink's business retail Wi-Fi High Speed Internet service can be found at https://shop.centurylink.com/small-business/products/business-internet-data/high-speed-internet/.
Customers may purchase CenturyLink High-Speed Internet service as a stand-alone product called Pure Broadband or they may choose to combine High-Speed Internet with voice, television from CenturyLink or DIRECTV and wireless service from Verizon Wireless on one bill and save over the cost of purchasing stand-alone services. Current information, including pricing information, regarding CenturyLink's Pure Broadband service is available at http://www.centurylink.com/home/internetonly.
Customers can learn about the specific pricing and service availability where they live by visiting www.centurylink.com. Customers will have access to CenturyLink's latest promotional and standard for High-Speed Internet service including applicable activation fees. Customers will also see options and pricing for: modem purchase and lease options; standard and premium installation; alternative ISP; premium web content and backup; and security and support options.
Customers may also speak with a CenturyLink representative for services in their area by calling CenturyLink at 1-888-273-5881.
CenturyLink's current High-Speed Internet service offering does not include usage-based fees. Full disclosure of CenturyLink's Excessive Use Policy, Acceptable Use Policy, and High-Speed Internet Subscriber Agreement can be found at http://www.centurylink.com/Pages/AboutUs/Legal/.
CenturyLink may include an early termination fee in the terms of High-Speed Internet services and promotions offered to customers. The applicability and the extent of an early termination fee may vary depending on the terms of the specific service or promotion purchased by the customer. Customers should reference their High-Speed Internet Subscriber Agreement, advertisement, the terms described in their original order and their order confirmation for details regarding the specific pricing, terms, and the calculation of any early termination fee that may apply to them.
Customers in areas where CenturyLink provides wireless hotspots with CenturyLink's Wi-Fi service should consult the applicable web site in their area for pricing schedules.
Like most companies, we have certain information about our customers and use it to provide our services. We also share it as needed to meet our business goals or fulfill our legal obligations. We protect the information we have about our customers, and we require those we share it with to protect it too. We use information generated on our networks to manage those networks, to plan for future development, and to keep our services running reliably and efficiently. For example, we monitor data to check for viruses, to control spam, to prevent attacks that might disable our services, to ensure that your traffic does not violate your subscriber agreement or our acceptable use policies, and to guard against other inappropriate or illegal activity. This may involve looking at the characteristics of our network traffic, such as traffic volumes, beginning and ending points of transmissions, and the types of applications being used to send traffic across our network. In limited circumstances, we need to look into the content of the data (such as the specific websites being visited, files being transmitted, or application being used) for the purposes described above, in circumstances when we are concerned about fraud or harassment, to repair a problem we detect or that a customer contacts us about, or when we are providing the content of broadband traffic to law enforcement which we only do as authorized by law.
You can find more detail about our information gathering practices at http://www.centurylink.com/Pages/AboutUs/Legal/PrivacyPolicy/#collect.
Redress Options Policy
If you have any questions or concerns regarding CenturyLink's High-Speed Internet services and the subjects of this disclosure, you may send email to:
Please include the following information:
- Subject Line: Internet Management Disclosure
- Name: (Optional)
- High-Speed Internet Service Address
- A brief summary of the nature of your concern.
CenturyLink takes all such questions and concerns seriously. The appropriate CenturyLink personnel will review all such submissions and respond in a timely manner.