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'16-month investigation shows Spectrum-Time Warner has been ripping you'

Staff Writer |
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a lawsuit against Charter Communications and its subsidiary Spectrum Management Holdings.

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The lawsuit is for allegedly conducting a deliberate scheme to defraud and mislead New Yorkers by promising internet service that they knew they could not deliver.

The complaint alleges that since January 2012 Spectrum-TWC’s marketing promised subscribers who signed up for its Internet service that they would get a "fast, reliable connection" to the Internet from anywhere in their home.

But a 16-month investigation by the Attorney General’s office – which included reviewing internal corporate communications and hundreds of thousands of subscriber speed tests – found Spectrum-Time Warner subscribers were getting dramatically short-changed on both speed and reliability.

The suit alleges that subscribers’ wired internet speeds for the premium plan (100, 200, and 300 Mbps) were up to 70 percent slower than promised; WiFi speeds were even slower, with some subscribers getting speeds that were more than 80 percent slower than what they had paid for.

As alleged in the complaint, Spectrum-TWC charged New Yorkers as much as $109.99 per month for premium plans could not achieve speeds promised in their slower plans.

“The allegations in today’s lawsuit confirm what millions of New Yorkers have long suspected - Spectrum-Time Warner Cable has been ripping you off,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.

“Today’s action seeks to bring much-needed relief to the millions of New Yorkers we allege have been getting cheated by Spectrum-Time Warner Cable for far too long. Even now, Spectrum-Time Warner Cable continues to offer Internet speeds that we found they cannot reliably deliver.”

The AG’s investigation also found that Spectrum-TWC executives knew that the company’s hardware and network were incapable of achieving the speeds promised to subscribers, but nevertheless continued to make false representations about speed and reliability.

The investigation further revealed that while Spectrum-TWC earned billions of dollars in profits from selling its high-margin Internet service to millions of New York subscribers, it repeatedly declined to make capital investments necessary to improve its network or provide subscribers with the necessary hardware.

As the complaint alleges, Spectrum-TWC continues to underserve their subscribers by failing to make the capital investments necessary to live up to their promised speeds.

These investments would include substantially upgrading Spectrum-TWC’s network capability and replacing large numbers of deficient modems and wireless routers that subscribers currently pay Spectrum-TWC up to $10 per month to rent.

Spectrum-Time Warner Cable currently has approximately 2.5 million subscribers across New York State.

The New York-based cable operator, originally known as Time Warner Cable, is currently rebranding itself as “Spectrum” throughout the state.

Spectrum-TWC provides Internet service to approximately 2.5 million households/subscribers in New York State, and the complaint covers the subscription plans of almost 5 million subscribers over the relevant period.


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