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This Doesn’t Bode Well.

If you are in Brevard County and you have cable TV, you know that Brighthouse was recently acquired by Charter Communications under their subsidiary / brand “Spectrum.”

Apparently the State of New York is not happy with Charter Spectrum:

New York’s attorney general is suing the second-largest cable operator in the US, claiming the company lied about internet speeds.

Eric Schneiderman filed the lawsuit ( pdf ) in Manhattan’s State Supreme Court on Wednesday, following a 16-month investigation. The attorney general argues that Charter and its subsidiary, Spectrum, have provided subpar services, with internet speeds slower than the company advertised.

Spectrum had been known as Time Warner Cable before Charter purchased it for about $60 billion, in a deal that was completed in May 2016. Schneiderman wants Charter to pay back its customers for broken promises on internet speeds for a period stretching from Jan. 1, 2012, to today.

With 2.5 million New Yorkers using Spectrum-Time Warner, Charter would have to reimburse customers up to $1 billion for each year since 2012, according to the lawsuit.

In today’s connected world, internet speeds matter greatly to consumers for countless everyday activities, from streaming Netflix shows and Spotify tunes to paying bills, doing homework, shopping for shoes and gabbing on social media.

The attorney general’s investigation found that Spectrum-Time Warner’s speeds were much slower than advertised, with executives ignoring engineers’ warnings that the promised speeds were impossible.

While this does not exactly bode well for consumers around here, it should be remembered that New York Attorney General Schneiderman is not exactly above filing lawsuits on what seems to be a ploy to keep his name in the public eye.

Schneiderman led the charge against fantasy sport companies. He also got busted and whacked around a bit for getting the science wrong on his attack against herbal supplement companies and continued to pursue the case after other agencies backed away the lawsuit.

(Walter Olson of Overlaywered.com has a very good piece on Schneiderman’s office being used to advance causes rather than justice.)

Therefore, it is possible that Schneiderman is full of bovine excrement in his suit against Charter Spectrum. On the other hand, internet companies had long hyped internet speeds far beyond what they could deliver to the consumer. Part of the disparity is the amount of traffic a line or distribution node can handle. Some of that is “puffery.” Some of that outright lies and distorting the facts.

While we are leery of the lawsuit because of who filed it and their history, we do believe that the suit could have merit.

Time will tell.



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