Acceptable Use Policy:

Vernon Communications Cooperative strives to provide all its members and customers with the highest quality Internet service available, while adhering to Internet use policies established by the Internet Community and State and Federal Laws.

The Provider’s Acceptable Use Policy (“AUP”) covers all of its Internet Products and Services (“Services”) and is designed to help improve the use of the Internet by preventing unacceptable use. All users of the Services must comply with this AUP.

Use of the Services constitutes acceptance of the AUP. Users are solely responsible for any and all acts and omissions that occur while accepting the Services and users agree not violate the AUP or engage in any unacceptable or illegal activities while utilizing any of the Services. The Provider reserves the right to terminate service to any user without notice upon violation of any part of the AUP.

The Provider reserves the right to revise, modify and amend this AUP at any time and in any manner. Notice of any revision, modification or amendment of the AUP will be posted on the Provider’s website at www.vernoncom.coop

The Provider may take action against users for violating these policies; including removing any content that violates the AUP and/or terminating use of the Services. The Provider reserves the right to investigate any violations of this AUP. The Provider may cooperate with legal authorities and/or third parties in the investigation of suspected or alleged criminal or civil violations. The Provider may also cooperate with the System Administrators of the Internet Community to enforce this AUP.

Non-Discrimination Statement:

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident.
Person with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202)720‐2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800)877‐8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD‐3027, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html and at any USDA office
or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632‐9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250‐9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690‐7442; or

(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

FCC Open Internet Disclosure

Broadband Internet Access Services: Network Management Practices, Performance Characteristics, & Commercial Terms and Conditions for Fixed Services

Vernon Communications Cooperative (“the Company”) has adopted the following network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms and conditions for its broadband Internet access services in compliance with the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC’s) Open Internet Framework requirements (GN Docket No. 09-191, WC Docket No. 07-52, and WC Docket 17-108).

These practices, characteristics, terms and conditions are intended to help preserve the Internet as an open framework that enables consumer choice, freedom of expression, end-user control, competition, and freedom to innovate without permission, while permitting the Company to manage its network reasonably.

These practices, characteristics, terms and conditions are effective as of June 11, 2018.

The Company may add, delete, or modify certain practices, performance characteristics, terms and conditions from time to time at its discretion.  The Company will provide as much advance notice as practicable of such changes.  It will normally endeavor to furnish written notice of rate changes thirty (30) days before changes become effective, but reserves the right to use a shorter notice period when regulatory, operational, technical or other circumstances warrant.

 

I. Network Management Practices

The Company manages its network with the goal of providing the best practicable broadband Internet experience to all of its customers.  Within the scope of its resources, it attempts to deploy and maintain adequate capacity and facilities within its own network, and to acquire sufficient Middle Mile capacity or facilities outside its service area to connect with the Internet.  The Company and its staff use their best efforts to monitor, address and minimize (but do not guarantee that they can prevent) the effects of spam, viruses, security attacks, network congestion, and other phenomena that can degrade the service of affected customers.

 

Congestion Management Practices

Congestion is an Internet access service problem that can slow web browsing, downloading, and other activities of the customers during certain peak usage periods.   Congestion may be caused by capacity limits and bottlenecks in a service provider’s own network, or by limitations in the capacity of the Middle Mile transport facilities and services that many rural service providers must purchase from unrelated entities to carry the traffic of their customers between their service areas and the closest Internet nodes.

The Company has experienced no recent problems with congestion.

If significant congestion problems arise in the future, the Company’s approach is to determine the source of the problem, and to increase the capacity of the affected portions of its network and/or of its Middle Mile routes where warranted.  In the event of congestion, all traffic is classified as best effort.

 

Application-Specific Behavior Practices

The Company does not favor or inhibit certain applications or classes of applications.   Customers may use any lawful and commercially available application which they desire on the Company’s network.

The Company does not normally monitor the contents of the traffic or applications of its customers.  It undertakes no obligation to monitor or investigate the lawfulness of the applications used by its customers.  If any party contacts the Company with a substantial allegation that an application being used by a customer is unlawful, the Company will investigate the matter (including consultation, as it deems appropriate, with attorneys, consultants, federal or state regulators, and/or federal, state or local law enforcement agencies), and will take appropriate actions to deal with the use of applications that are demonstrated to be unlawful.

Customers may occasionally develop their own applications, or modify commercially available applications.  The Company will not prohibit the use of customer-developed or modified applications unless there is a reasonable belief that such applications will cause harm to its network.

The Company does not block or rate-control specific protocols or protocol ports.

The Company does not modify protocol fields in ways that are not prescribed by the applicable protocol standards.

 

Device Attachment Rules

The Company does not have any approval procedures that must be satisfied before a device can be connected to its network.  Customers may use any lawful, compatible, type-accepted (if necessary) and commercially available device which they desire on the Company’s network, as long as such device does not harm the network.

The Company does not normally monitor the devices used by its customers.  It warns customers that some types of devices (for example, Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (‘DOCSIS’) devices intended for use on cable broadband networks) may not be compatible with its fiber optic and/or digital subscriber line (“DSL”) network.

The Company undertakes no obligation to monitor or investigate the lawfulness of the devices used by its customers.  If any party contacts the Company with a substantial allegation that a device being used by a customer is unlawful, the Company will investigate the matter (including consultation, as it deems appropriate, with attorneys, consultants, federal or state regulators, and/or federal, state or local law enforcement agencies), and will take appropriate actions to deal with the use of a device that is demonstrated to be unlawful.

Customers may occasionally develop their own devices, or modify commercially available devices.  The Company will not prohibit the use of lawful customer-developed or modified devices unless there is a reasonable belief that such devices will cause harm to its network.

 

Security Practices

The Company does not normally monitor the traffic of its customers.  It undertakes no obligation to monitor or protect such customer traffic from spam, viruses, denial-of-service attacks, or other malicious, unlawful or unwanted activities.

The Company recognizes that customers can purchase spam filtering and anti-virus software from commercial vendors to meet their needs.  The Company may from time to time offer anti-spam and/or anti-virus software or services to customers who desire to purchase them from the Company.  When offered, these software or services will be described and priced in other sections of this website. Customers are free to obtain anti-spam and/or anti-virus software or services from any source they desire, as long as such software or services do not disrupt or degrade the traffic of other customers of the Company or harm the network.

A customer that is subjected to a denial-of-service attack, or similar malicious, unlawful or unwanted activity, is urged to notify the Company as soon as possible.  The Company will work with the customer, other service providers, federal and state regulators, and/or law enforcement to determine the source of such activity, and to take appropriate, and technically and economically reasonable efforts to address the matter.

The Company employs commercially appropriate security procedures to protect its network and its customer records from unauthorized access by third parties.  The Company does not guarantee that it can protect customers from any and/or all security breaches.

 

Traffic Blocking

The Company does not block any lawful content, applications, devices, and/or non-harmful devices.

The only potential exceptions where blocking may occur entail the unlawful or harmful circumstances set forth in Sections I.A through I.D above.  The Company believes that all such circumstances constitute reasonable network management practices.

The Company does not knowingly and intentionally impair, degrade or delay the traffic on its network so as to render effectively unusable certain content, applications, services and/or non-harmful devices.  However, the Company notes that congestion may from time to time impair, degrade, or delay some traffic.

The Company does not charge edge service providers of content, applications, services and/or devices any fees simply for transporting traffic between them and its customers.

 

II. Performance Characteristics

Many of the service and performance characteristics of the Company’s broadband Internet access services are contained in the service offering portions of this website.  The Company offers different tiers of service at different prices, and changes these from time to time.

 

General Service Description

Actual access speeds and time delays (latency) are impacted by the length, capacity and congestion of Middle Mile transport facilities (between the Company’s service area and Internet nodes) as well as the characteristic of the Company’s own network.  Because conditions on these facilities and routes can change frequently, the Company can provide estimated actual access speed and latency information only for specific recent time periods requested by a customer.

The Company’s service is suitable for real-time applications.  The speed tier a customer subscribes to will impact the efficiency of the real-time applications.

 

Impact of Specialized Services

The Company does not offer specialized services to end-users.

 

 III. Commercial Terms and Conditions

The commercial terms and conditions of the Company’s broadband Internet access services are available at our business office or by request.

 

Pricing Terms and Conditions

The Company offers different tiers and levels of service at different prices, and changes these from time to time.  These service tiers and prices are detailed in the service offering portion of this website.

The Company does not impose usage-based fees upon certain tiers or levels of its service

The Company does not impose fees for early termination with respect to certain of its service arrangements.

The Company is willing to consider and negotiate prices for customized additional network services requested by specific customers or edge service providers if such services can be designed, developed and furnished in a commercially reasonable manner.  If and when such customized services are developed and furnished, the Company reserves the right to adapt and provide them to other customers on a non-discriminatory basis so long as such subsequent provision does not entail disclosure of proprietary or confidential information of the initial customer.

 

No Unreasonable Discrimination

The Company does not unreasonably discriminate in its transmission of traffic over the broadband Internet access services of its customers.  It endeavors to give its customers as much choice and control as practicable among its different service offerings and among the content, application, service and device offerings of edge service providers.  When reasonable network management practices entail differential treatment of traffic, the Company does not discriminate among specific uses, or classes of uses, of its network.

The Company does not impair, degrade or delay VoIP applications or services that compete with its voice services and those of its affiliates.

The Company does not impair, degrade, delay or otherwise inhibit access by its customers to lawful content, applications, services or non-harmful devices.

The Company does not impair free expression by actions such as slowing traffic from particular websites or blogs.

The Company does not use or demand “pay-for-priority” or similar arrangements that directly or indirectly favor some traffic over other traffic.

The Company does not prioritize its own content, application, services, or devices, or those of its affiliates.

 

Privacy Policies

As indicated above, the Company’s network management practices do not generally entail inspection of network traffic.

The Company retains and stores certain traffic information (such as the identity of the customer using a particular IP address during a specific period) for time periods required by federal or state law.

The Company retains, stores and provides to law enforcement any traffic information requested pursuant to the procedures of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (“CALEA”), the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) or other applicable national security or criminal statutes.

The Company does not collect, store or use traffic information to profile its customers in order to sell additional services to them, or for similar non-network management purposes.

 

Redress Options

Questions and complaints regarding the foregoing matters should be addressed to the Company’s General Manager, Rod Olson at (608) 634-3136.

The Company strongly desires to resolve questions, complaints and other problems of its customers and edge service providers in an informal and direct manner that satisfies all interested parties to the greatest extent practicable.

Customers and edge service providers that are not able to obtain satisfaction from the Company have the option of invoking the FCC’s informal and formal complaint procedures regarding Open Internet Framework disputes.

DISCLAIMERS

Applications For Service

To obtain information for any service, changes in location and discontinuance of service, call our office at (608) 634-3136 or 1-800-543-2029.  Applications for telephone service must be made by the applicant, or his/her duly authorized agent, to whom service is to be billed.  Vernon Communications Cooperative reserves the right to refuse service to any applicant that is found to be indebted to Vernon Communications Cooperative for service previously rendered.

Responsibility For Messages

Subscribers are responsible for all charges for messages originating from or reserved to their telephones.

Telephone Numbers

Your telephone number, preceded by your Area Code, is the only one like it in the United States and Canada.  Vernon Communications Co-op may change the number of the customer’s telephone it the requirements of the service demand it.

Directory Listings

For each residence customer with a listing is included in the Alphabetical Directory without consent.  Each business customer is entitled to a listing in the Alphabetical Directory and also one listing in the Classified Section.  Customers may arrange for additional listings, under regulations applying to such listings, as desired.  Between directory issues, a great many telephones are installed and changed.  Customers may obtain telephone number not shown in this directory by calling information.

Directory Errors

The vast majority of all directory listings are correct.  But, as with any job of this size, some errors are bound to occur.  If your listing in the directory is incorrect, it cannot be changed until the next edition of the directory is issued.  In the meantime, we can make sure the listing is correct in Directory Assistance records.

Service Difficulties

Report service troubles promptly to the office.  Vernon Communications Cooperative appreciates such calls and will act immediately to correct the difficulty.  Broken poles, wires, etc., which might endanger life or property should be brought to the attention of Vernon Communications Cooperative.

Maintenance

All ordinary expenses of maintenance and repair, unless otherwise specified in Vernon Communications Cooperative’s schedule will be borne by Vernon Communications.  If any leased equipment or piece of apparatus is destroyed or injured otherwise than by unavoidable accident, the subscriber is to pay the actual cost of replacing or restoring the same to its original condition.

Communications Cooperative Property

All equipment, wiring or other material furnished to provide telephone service is and shall remain the property of Vernon Telephone Cooperative.  Patrons must not attach, or permit to be attached, any mechanical, electrical, advertising, or other device to any equipment provided by Vernon Telephone.

The agents of Vernon Communications Cooperative shall have the right to enter a subscriber’s premises at any reasonable hour to install, rearrange, inspect or repair telephone equipment and facilities, or following termination of service, to remove same.

Objectionable Language

The subscribers shall not use or permit to be used profane, obscene or abusive language, or impersonate any other individual with the fraudulent intent over the wires connected with his/her, or use the same for any unlawful purpose.

Notice of Intent to Disconnect

Upon non-payment of any sum whenever the same is past due a written notice of our intent to disconnect telephone service is mailed to a customer at least (5) days before the scheduled disconnect date.  If a written request from a resident subscriber is on file in the local business office at the time of the disconnection notice is mailed, five day notification will also be sent to the County Department of Human Services

Use of Residence Telephone for Business Purpose

Residence Telephones are installed with the understanding that they will be used for normal social or domestic purposes.

A residence rate will be changed to a business service if used primarily or substantially for business purposes, or if the residence phone number is advertised in connection with the sale of products or services, and the subscriber has no business service elsewhere within our system.

FCC Regulations

All telephone customers, residential as well as business, are charged a federal end user fee.  This nationwide fee gives all customers access to the long distance network, whether or not they choose to place long distance calls.  The end user fees supplement the reduction in toll revenues by local telephone companies resulting from the deregulation of the telephone industry. The end user fees are set by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and may change from time to time as the FCC deems necessary.  For more information visit the FCC’s website at www.fcc.gov

Consumer Telephone Numbers

Wisconsin Public Service Commission 1-800-225-7729

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 1-888-225-5322

Yellow Page Advertising (The Berry Company) 1-800-877-0475

Consumer Protection Agency 1-800-422-7128

Important Customer Notice:

Your placement of and interstate or international toll call over Vernon Communications Network constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.

I. The Service That We Provide To Our Customers

a.  Vernon Communications Cooperative is a common carrier and provides access to facilities, services and equipment over which our customers may transmit voice, data and other communications of their own choosing to interstate and international destinations.

b.  Vernon Communications Cooperative provides service on a 7 days per week, 24 hours per day basis to all destinations in the United States (Including Alaska and Hawaii), and to those international destinations listed in the international rate sheets, maintained at the Vernon Communications office and on its web site.  (See International Rates)

c.  Vernon Communications Cooperative primarily resells to its customers the interstate and international tolls of larger, facilities-based carriers.  Vernon Communications Cooperative endeavors to purchase these services at volume discounts, and to resell them to our customers at lower prices than they would pay if they had purchased service directly from other carriers.  However, resale also means that Vernon Communications Cooperative has no control over outages and other service disruptions (See limitations of liability below)

d.  Vernon Communications Cooperative has customer service representatives available Monday thru Friday, 8:00 a.m.  to 5:30 p.m., to assist our customers with any questions or problems regarding its interstate or international toll services.  A Vernon Communications Cooperative representative can be reached during these business hours by dialing (608) 634-3136 or 1 800-543-2029.

II.Charges, Bills and Payment for Service

1. Service is provided and billed on a monthly basis, and will continue to be provided and billed until canceled by the customer or terminated by Vernon Communications Cooperative.

2. The rates and charges for Vernon Communications Cooperative’s interstate and international toll services can be inspected during regular business hours at Vernon Communications Cooperative office at 103 North Main Street, Westby, Wisconsin 54667.

c. The rates and charges for Vernon Communication Cooperative’s interstate and international toll service can also be inspected on it’s website at www.vernoncommunications.com

d. Vernon Communications Cooperative bills for its interstate toll services on usage basis in 1-minute periods. Vernon Communications Cooperative bills for its international toll services on a usage basis in 1-minute periods.

e. Vernon Communications Cooperative will pass through to its customers all applicable federal, state and local taxes or surcharges (including sales, use excise, gross earnings, and gross income taxes), as well as surcharges to recover Vernon Communications Cooperative contributions to applicable federal or state funds (including funds for universal service, telecommunications relay service, local number portability, and telephone number administration).

f. Payment for bills rendered by Vernon Communications Cooperative for its interstate and international toll services is due within 10 days after the bill is mailed by Vernon Communications Cooperative to the customer.

g. No late charges will be assessed upon properly disputed charges (See disputed procedures below).

III. Obligations of Customer

a. The customer is responsible for the timely payment of all billed charges for services or facilities provided by Vernon Communications Cooperative to the customer, and for the payment of Vernon Communications Cooperative reasonable attorney’s fee and court costs if Vernon Communications Cooperative is forced to retain an attorney to collect any of its billed charges from the customer.

3. The customer will not use Vernon Communications Cooperative services in a manner that interferes unreasonably with the use of the services by one or more other customers.

c. The customer will not uses Vernon Communications Cooperative services in an abusive, illegal, or fraudulent manner, nor alter or tamper with Vernon Communications Cooperative connections or facilities.

d. The customer will indemnify Vernon Communications Cooperative against any and all liability, including reasonable counsel fees, arising from any claims against the customer for libel, slander, or infringement of copyright or trademark in connection with any material transmitted by the customer over Vernon Communications Cooperative facilities, services, or equipment.

IV.Resolution of Billing Disputes

a. If the procedures of this section are followed, the customer may withhold from payment the disputed portion of any bill pending resolution of the dispute.

b. Within 20 days of the bill date of a disputed bill, Vernon Communications Cooperative must receive from the customer an itemized statement, in writing, which identifies the disputed charges and reasonably explains the basis of the dispute. Failure to comply with this requirement shall mean the bill is deemed to be correct and all amounts are due and owing Vernon Communications Cooperative.

c. Vernon Communications Cooperative shall review the customer’s statement, and shall issue a written initial determination within 5 days after its receipt of the customer’s statement to set forth Vernon Communications Cooperative proposed resolution of the dispute.

d. If the customer is not satisfied with Vernon Communications Cooperative proposed resolution, the customer must advise Vernon Communications Cooperative in writing within 5 days after the customer’s receipt of Vernon Communications Cooperative initial determination of the specific reasons for the dissatisfaction, and provide any additional information, which the customer deems pertinent or relevant to the dispute.

e. Within 5 days after Vernon Communications Cooperative receipt of additional information, Vernon Communications Cooperative shall make its final determination and resolution based upon all documentation or information.

f. If the customer continues to withhold any disputed amount determined to be owed to Vernon Communications Cooperative, the customers account shall be deemed to be past due, and subject to termination.

V.Limitation of Vernon Communications Cooperative Liability

a. The liability of Vernon Communications Cooperative for damages resulting in whole or in part from mistake, omissions, interruptions, delays, errors or other defects in the interstate or international toll service provided shall not exceed its billed charges for the defective call or calls.

b. Neither Vernon Communications Cooperative nor its officers, agents or employees will be liable for indirect incidental, special or consequential damages.

c. Vernon Communications Cooperative shall not be liable for any interruption, failure or degradation of service due in whole or part to causes beyond its control, including, but not limited to:

  • acts of God, fires, flood or other catastrophes;
  • any law, order, regulation, directive, action or request of any instrumentality of the United States Government, or of any foreign, state or local government;
  • any national emergency, insurrection, riot, war, strike or labor difficulty;
  • any act or omission by an unrelated carrier or other entity affecting the facilities or equipment over which Vernon Communications Cooperativeservices are provided.
  • any negligence by the customer or defects or failures of the customer’s equipment; and
  • any negligent acts or omissions of third parties

VI. Refusal, Termination or Suspension of Service

a. Vernon Communications Cooperative may terminate service 5 days after a written notice of termination is mailed to a customer that has failed to pay a bill for more than 25 days after it was rendered, or that has failed to pay disputed charges determined to be owed to Vernon Communications Cooperative via Vernon Communications Cooperative billing dispute resolution procedures (see above) for more than 5 days after the end of the dispute resolution proceeding

b. Vernon Communications Cooperative reserves the right to establish a credit limit for customers or classes of customers, and to suspend service to a customer when the customer reaches the applicable limit.

c. Vernon Communications Cooperative may suspend or terminate service to a customer immediately if Vernon Communications Cooperative reasonably believes that the customer or entities using the customer’s accounts or facilities are using Vernon Communications Cooperative services in a manner that:

  • interferes with the use of the services by one or more other customers;
  • is abusive, illegal or fraudulent;
  • damages Vernon Communications Cooperative facilities or equipment;
  • places excessive capacity demands upon Vernon Communications Cooperative facilities or services

VC Co-op Tariff