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Time Warner Cable Responds to GWI's Comparison of Services

Release Date: 08/20/2004

Dear Valued Customers:

As you may have seen in the news this week, Time Warner Cable has disputed recent claims GWI has made based on the Tolly Group research project comparing GWI's service to our Road Runner service.  We want to take this opportunity to share with you the inaccuracies and false statements reported. 

Time Warner Cable's Dispute with GWI's False Claims
Great Works Internet (GWI) recently hired The Tolly Group, a market research firm, to compare GWI and Time Warner Cable’s Road Runner services.  But the comparison was stacked. We want to take this opportunity to share with our customers the inaccuracies and false statements GWI reported.

1) The testing was done on an unlevel playing field.
GWI compared its uncapped DSL service with Time Warner's 3 Mbps capped Road Runner service.  

This is like testing a Porsche that you buy and modify to make sure it doesn't go faster than 30 mph, against a car that can go 80 mph.  If you race those two cars, who do you think will win?  Of course, the car that can go 80 mph.  That is exactly what GWI did - it tested Time Warner's service which was set to make sure it did not go any faster than 3 Mbps.  Meanwhile GWI used its service without a cap, a service it doesn't even offer to consumers.

Testing Time Warner's Road Runner service while capped at 3 Mbps against GWI's service while uncapped doesn't prove that it is faster or has more bandwidth. 

2) GWI's claims it can maintain its speeds at 2.5 miles, or 13,200
GWI tested sites at 13,500 feet and 12,900 feet.  We don't know what kind of service the user got at 13,500 feet (which is a little more than 2.5 miles) because GWI never revealed the results to Time Warner or the public!  And the user at 12,900 feet (which is a little less than 2.5 miles) never even reached 3 Mbps.  Its average was only 2.5 Mbps. 

3) The number of simultaneous users does NOT affect Time Warner's service.
Tolly also claims that Time Warner may be slower because the cable modem bandwidth is shared amongst all users on a line. 

This statement is also false.  Time Warner's systems are built and monitored to avoid any speed slow-downs.  And a court has already considered similar claims made by DSL companies and found that claiming a cable modem system is slower because of "the shared nature of the cable modem system . . . is false and misleading."  Curiously, even the Tolly Group found that Time Warner's speeds, which were capped at 3 Mbps, were "extremely close" for all customers.  According to the Tolly Group Report, the problem of speed slowdowns and inconsistency in speed across the customer base is GWI's, not Time Warner's.

4.) The Tolly/GWI Methodology Contains Additional Flaws That Render GWI's Reliance on it False and Misleading
In addition to comparing capped and uncapped service (and ignoring Time Warner's 6 Mbps service), the Tolly/GWI testing employed other highly questionable method.  Their study only had 7 users, which is not enough to draw any statistically significant conclusions.  And they did not even report the results of all 7 users!  Plus there are many factors that can affect the speed such as the type of computer, the model, the modem, the operating system, and the amount of CPU and RAM.  GWI did not control for these factors in its test, and picked the computer/equipment used for 5 of the Time Warner stations.  But Time Warner did not pick any of the computer/equipment for GWI.  Finally, Tolly told Time Warner it was testing GWI's 3 Mbps service against Time Warner's 3 Mbps service.  But it didn't do that.  It tested Time Warner's 3 Mbps against an unlimited GWI service. 
GWI's claims are clearly false and in violation of the law, which protects consumers and persons engaged in commerce against false advertising and unfair competition.  We initially agreed to participate in this test with the understanding that it was going to be conducted fairly and on an even playing field - comparing apples to apples.  Clearly this was not the case.  Time Warner Cable stands behind the speed and quality of its Road Runner service and is confident that facts will speak for themselves.

About Time Warner Cable of Maine
Time Warner Cable of Maine is a part of the second largest cable company in the country and also a contributor to Maine's economy as well as an active member in the community.  We demonstrate this through our investment and commitment to the communities that we serve.   
Did you know that in Maine:

  • We have 400 employees.
  • Total amount spent to upgrade our fiber optic system to 750Mhz capacity over past 10 Years: $31,434,000
  • Total spent on sales, property and other state and local taxes for 2003: $3,827,000
  • Total 2003 franchise fees paid to local municipalities: $2,533,000
  • Provide free Road Runner High Speed Online and cable services to more than 150 schools in Maine.
  • In 2003, we donated over $1,000,000 to over 110 local non-profit organizations through a combination of cash and in-kind contributions.


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