LAPA Leased Access Programmers Association

Time Warner Reneges on Internet Access for LAP’er

WNTS, a small leased access programmer (LAPer) in Upstate New York was told that internet access would be provided through Time Warner’s headend in house system but they would need to provide a VPN router to be located at the headend location.

Time Warner claims this VPN service is necessary to protect their network. If you are familiar with VPN (Virtual Private Networking) service you know that it is designed to protect the data that the VPN user is transmitting over the connection, something that is completely not necessary for WNTS as all of their content is for public viewing. They could easily have restricted access and kept their network security without the VPN connection. That being said, WNTS made the decision to comply with the demand purchasing a “Sonic Wall” brand router as recommended by Time Warner.

There were problems however making the remote access software work with VPN so, already behind their projected start schedule, WNTS decided to purchase internet service until the bugs could be worked out of the VPN environment. Although Time Warner offers basic internet service for $19.95, a service that provided bandwidth more than adequate for WNTS needs, they were forced to pay $99.00 per month because they had a business address for the service, which was of course the Time Warner headend address.

Finally after purchasing the requested equipment and spending weeks of work ironing out the bugs and adapting the remote access software to work with the VPN, WNTS informed Time Warner it was ready to install the VPN router for the in house network as requested. Time Warner now however informs WNTS that it will no longer offer internet access for them.

If a LAP’er caused the cable provider the slightest amount of work, even the slight amount of labor needed to chang a DVD, the LAP’er is immediately slapped with a labor charge.There is the absurd but true instance posted in this site where Time Warner charged WNTS for an hour of technical support to send them an email informing them that they would not be able to provide them with technical support.

The simple fact is Time Warner caused WNTS to bear the expense of purchasing special equipment and spending dozens of hours changing their system to work in the VPN environment, a requirement ridiculous to begin with, and then backing out of the service arrangement with no consequence or repercussions on the cable service provider.

The question is, “do they do this just to cause undue expense and hardship on the leased access programmer?” If so, it wouldn’t be the only steps they’ve taken that seem to inhibit the LAPer simply exercising the right to leased access as provided by Congress. Sadly, to make matters worse, it is nearly impossible for LAPers to get any assistance from FCC, the agency that is supposed to insure cable operators provide leased access airtime under the law and FCC’s own regulations and rules.

At issue here is which party is disregarding the wishes of Congress, Time Warner, FCC, or both?