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New York attorney general sues Time Warner Cable for 'defrauding' customers

New York Attorney General's Office
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is accusing telecommunications giant Time Warner Cable of ripping off their New York customers by allegedly failing to provide Internet speeds at the rates residents paid for.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is suing telecommunications company Time Warner Cable for allegedly defrauding their internet customers. The lawsuit accuses Time Warner Cable of misleading New Yorkers by advertising internet service at speeds they did not provide.

Schneiderman says his office launched the 16-month investigation after receiving thousands of complaints from residents who were experiencing issues with internet speed.

“I have a message for those complainants and for all New Yorkers,” Schneiderman said. “The allegations in today’s lawsuit confirm what many of you have long suspected: Spectrum-Time Warner has been ripping you off.”

The attorney general's office conducted tests that revealed some customers were experiencing speeds that were 70-80 percent slower than advertised. The lawsuit also claims that Time Warner Cable executives were aware of the discrepancy in speeds and chose not to take any action for financial reasons.

“These shockingly slow speeds are the result of a calculated corporate strategy," he said. "Internal emails show that Spectrum-Time Warner executives repeatedly refused to spend money on its networks in order to boost profits, knowing this failure to spend money would overload those networks, ensuring the delivery of subpar service.”

Time Warner Cable's parent company Charter Communications says they have made significant investments in upgrading their New York state systems since the companies merged last year.

“We are disappointed that the NY Attorney General chose to file this lawsuit regarding Time Warner Cable’s broadband speed advertisements that occurred prior to Charter’s merger. Charter made significant commitments to NY State as part of our merger with Time Warner Cable in areas of network investment, broadband deployment and offerings, customer service and jobs. In addition, Charter was among the highest rated broadband providers in the 2016 FCC Broadband Report. Charter has already made substantial investments in the interest of upgrading the Time Warner Cable systems and delivering the best possible experience to customers. We will continue to invest in our business and deliver the highest quality services to our customers while we defend against these allegations involving Time Warner Cable practices."

Schneiderman says he will pursue financial restitution for the customers who were affected by the slower speeds. Time Warner Cable provides internet service for about 2.5 million households in New York state.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.