NY AG Complaint Slams TWC on False Speed Claims, Pay to Play

New York’s Attorney General has filed a complaint against Spectrum-Time Warner Cable for engaging in fraudulent and deceptive practices:

  • Spectrum-TWC promised Internet speeds that it knew it could not deliver to subscribers; second, and
  • Spectrum-TWC promised reliable access to online content that it knew it could not deliver to subscribers.

The NYAG complaint alleges that failed to allocate sufficient bandwidth such that subscribers of its highest speed plan “generally received only 10% to 70% of the promised speed.”  Spectrum-TWC also leased older-generation, single-channel modems

despite knowing that such modems were, in its own words, not “capable of supporting the service levels paid for.”

The complaint also alleges that Spectrum-TWC engaged in a pay-to-play scheme whereby “used its leverage over access to subscribers to extract fees from online content providers in exchange for granting such access.”  The complaint details how Netflix and Riot Games had to pay Spectrum-TWC to get speeds.

For example, when Netflix failed to pay,

the quality of the Netflix video streams received by Spectrum-TWC subscribers dipped significantly during peak hours . . .This resulted in subscribers getting poorer quality streams during the very hours when they were most likely to access Netflix.

Once Netflix agreed to pay, subscribers’ viewing experience improved.

This is precisely the conduct that Net Neutrality seeks to prevent.

Attorney General Schneiderman explained:

Reliable internet is vital for millions of New York families and businesses.  As alleged in our complaint, our sixteen month investigation found that Spectrum-Time Warner Cable’s 2.5 million subscribers in New York were repeatedly cheated into paying more internet speeds the company knew it would not provide.

 

The Complaint is below, followed by the AG’s press conference announcing the suit.

 

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