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New York sues Charter over slow internet speeds

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Wi-Fi speeds were up to 80 percent slower than advertised

charter communications (from charter)

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today filed a lawsuit against Charter Communications, the parent company of Spectrum (previously known as Time Warner Cable.) The lawsuit alleges that the cable and internet provider misled customers on internet speeds and failed to address network issues that impacted service.

At a news conference in New York, Schneiderman said Spectrum’s Wi-Fi speeds were approximately 80 percent slower than advertised. Service was so poor that customers claim they could not use Spectrum’s service to access online content from Netflix, Facebook, and gaming platforms.

“Reliable internet service is not a luxury, it is a necessity,” said Schneiderman. The office’s internal investigation claims that Spectrum knew it was not delivering the advertised speeds. Schneiderman cites one internal email in which Spectrum engineers acknowledged that the modems they were delivering could not support the speeds the company advertised, and that Spectrum executives planned to continue using the so-called fraudulent corporate strategy to rip off customers.

The speed tests, conducted independently by the office over a 16-month period, allege that on wired 300 mbps plans, customers on average only received 85 mbps. The lawsuit applies to service between January 2012 to present day.

Charter Communications bought Time Warner Cable last year for $79 billion, and rebranded the ISP to Spectrum. Following the buyout, the attorney general’s office launched an investigation into Spectrum’s internet speeds which found slower service than advertised. In June, the office sent a warning to Charter, urging the company to fix the issues post-acquisition.

In response, Charter claims it is “disappointed” by the lawsuit since the misleading speed advertisements occurred before the acquisition. "Charter has already made substantial investments in the interest of upgrading the Time Warner Cable systems and delivering the best possible experience to customers," the company told Reuters.

The lawsuit seeks reimbursement for affected customers.