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Spectrum-Time Warner sued over slower-than-promised cable, internet speeds

Ariel Zambelich/NPR

New York's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against Charter Communications - the parent company of the former Time Warner Cable - alleging the cable and internet provider failed to deliver on promised internet speeds and reliability at least since 2012.

The lawsuit filed by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman claims the company failed to address network problems that led to slower-than-promised speeds.

“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 Schneiderman.

The AG says Spectrum-TWC executives knew the company was incapable of achieving the speeds promised to subscribers, "but nevertheless continued to make false representations about speed and reliability" and it "repeatedly declined to make capital investments necessary to improve its network or provide subscribers with the necessary hardware."

The lawsuit alleges internet speeds for the premium plan (100, 200 and 300 Mbps) were up to 70 percent slower than promised, while WiFi speeds were more than 80 percent slower. It seeks compensation for customers.

"For example, as of February 2016, Spectrum-TWC still charged over 185,000 New Yorkers, or roughly 7% of its 2.5 million active subscriber base at the time, $10 a month for deficient modems that, in its own words, were 'not capable of supporting the service levels paid for,'" Schneiderman said.

Although Spectrum-TWC provides Internet service to approximately 2.5 million subscribers in New York State, the complaint covers the subscription plans of almost 5 million subscribers since 2012.

Last year, Schneiderman's office asked Stamford, Connecticut-based Charter to fix the service problems following its acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The company said it was making investments in the network and would continue to do so as it integrates Time Warner's system.