Paul Williams
Paul Williams

November 17, 2017

No matter your ISP, you must understand their policy when it comes to bandwidth throttling. Who wants to watch a 4K movie and suffer a poor picture due to the lowering of your Internet speed? This policy also hampers online gaming, controlling your smart home over the IoT, as well as streaming HD video.


Spectrum logo. Image Copyright Spectrum.

Spectrum customers interested about their ISP’s attitude on bandwidth throttling need to read further. Let’s take a closer look at how this provider handles this important issue facing most Internet users.

The Data Cap Agreement when Charter merged with Time Warner Cable

When the FCC approved the merger between Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable – thus creating Spectrum – the company agreed to forego the institution of data caps for at least seven years. While not the same thing as bandwidth throttling, some ISPs with a data cap policy throttle the Internet speeds of their customers who exceed their monthly data allowance. Others charge an overage fee; for example AT&T’s runs $10 for each 50 GB of data consumed per month.

Understanding the differences between bandwidth throttling, data caps, and overage charges remains an essential part of being an Internet consumer. Make sure you read the fine print of your Internet service agreement. In many cases, ISPs offer unlimited Internet service for an extra fee or when you bundle Internet with other products.

Spectrum’s Bandwidth Throttling Policy

Even with their FCC agreement not to introduce data caps for seven years, Spectrum includes a bandwidth throttling policy in the fine print of their residential Internet acceptable use policy. Note that they never updated the policy to use their new company name.

Charter uses a variety of reasonable network management tools and practices consistent with industry standards. In the event the periods of congestion necessitate such management, Charter has available the following tools and practices (without limitation and as may be adjusted over time): (i) use of an upper limit of bandwidth allocated for uploading of files during congested periods; (ii) Subscriber Traffic Management (STM) technology to temporarily lower the priority of traffic with the greatest impact on peak congestion; (iii) spam filtering and detection techniques; and (iv) measures to protect the security and integrity of its network, resources and subscribers. In limited instances if employed, these techniques may affect the throughput rate at which subscribers may send and receive data, the ability of users to establish session connections within the network, or result in the delay of certain traffic during times of peak congestion. 

In short, during periods of high network traffic, Spectrum may limit bandwidth for uploading data, and reduce the priority of the network traffic using the most resources. Ultimately, they will throttle your bandwidth if network congestion warrants, with the hopes of providing a similar level of service to every customer.

Keep that in mind if you want to stream a 4K movie during a high traffic period. As always, run a quick speed test to verify your current service level

Paul Williams
Paul Williams

Paul Williams brings a wide range of experiences to his writing. He worked extensively in technology, as a software engineer, technical writer, and now a technology writer. Known as the leader of one of the top American Spacerock bands, his forward-looking music continues to be heard all over the world.