New York's Attorney General is suing cable giant Charter on claims of false advertising of its internet speeds.
AG Eric Schneiderman says Charter defrauded New York state residents when it promised internet speeds and reliability it was not able to deliver. He is seeking damages likely to reach billions of dollars.
The lawsuit [PDF], filed in the New York State Supreme Court, claims that Charter (through its ownership of Spectrum and Time Warner Cable) advertised its services in New York as high-speed and free of outages, then failed to deliver on either of those points.
"Spectrum-TWC promised Internet speeds that it knew it could not deliver to subscribers," the suit claims. "Spectrum-TWC promised reliable access to online content that it knew it could not deliver to subscribers."
Among the claims made in the suit is that Time Warner (now Charter) leased customers older modems it knew could not handle the data rates it advertised. The state also claims that the cable company packed multiple users onto overcrowded lines, ensuring that customers would not be able to get promised speeds.
"To conceal this failure, Spectrum-TWC assured the FCC on or about July 2013 that it would replace its older-generation modems for all of its subscribers, but in fact it did not. The FCC relied on that commitment to exclude the poor results of the speed tests on those modems in the FCC's subsequent public reports," the suit alleges.
"Had these modems' results been included in the FCC's testing program, they would have revealed Spectrum-TWC's deceptive practices."
The state is seeking damages of up to $5,000 per offense. New York has roughly 2.5 million Charter subscribers.
In a statement to The Register, Charter says it is already looking to address the issues cited in the filing.
"Charter made significant commitments to New York State as part of our merger with Time Warner Cable in areas of network investment, broadband deployment and offerings, customer service and jobs," the cable giant says. ®