MIDTOWN — Spectrum-Time Warner Cable has been “ripping you off” since at least 2012 by lying about internet speeds and connection reliability while earning billions in profits, the New York State Attorney General said in a lawsuit filed Wednesday that could cost the company "hundreds of millions of dollars."
The internet and cable provider, which was acquired by parent company Charter in 2016, knowingly delivered slower speeds and less reliable service than advertised to nearly 5 million New York subscribers during a five-year period, according to prosecutors.
Spectrum-TWC primarily delivered terrible service to premium subscribers who paid about $110 per month and were expecting internet speeds up to 300 megabits per second, but instead got Wi-Fi up to 80 percent slower than what consumers had paid for, officials said.
“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 Eric Schneiderman in a statement.
“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 office found the company had been misleading customers after speed-testing accounts during a 16-month investigation.
Aside from the subpar modems and routers the company also “declined to make capital investments necessary to improve its network,” causing it to be constantly overloaded, which led to slower speeds and connection problems that could have impacted millions of users since 2012.
The company also “rigged test results” to mask its slower speeds, the AG’s office added.
Prosecutors are seeking restitution for impacted consumers and to force the company to provide better service.
Spectrum-TWC has about 2.5 million active subscribers across the state.
Charter said in a statement it was "disappointed" the lawsuit was filed after the corporate 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," the statement read.
"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."