New York attorney general says ISP speed matters more than disclaimers

27 October 2015 by Steve Blum
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It’s gotta at least be in the ballpark.

The New York attorney general wants Time Warner, Cablevision and Verizon to explain how they manage they manage the Internet connections that they sell to consumers, and how they do business among themselves and with other telecommunications companies. Letters sent to the three companies point to the disconnect between what’s advertised, what’s sold and what’s actually delivered.

The letter sent to Time Warner Cable is typical (links to the others are below)…

This Office is concerned that, for reasons substantially within TWC’s control, consumers may not be experiencing the speeds advertised. We are also concerned that those paying for premium options (“Ultimate 300” and “Extreme”) may not experience proportional increases in experienced speeds.

Our concerns can be placed in two groups. First, that the speeds made available over the last-mile (between the home and cable headend) may deviate far enough from the speeds advertised to render the advertising deceptive. Second, that the impact of technical and business decisions made at the point of interconnection between TWC and other networks may so affect end-to-end throughput that the speeds are not what was promised. In this respect, we are specifically concerned about disruptions to the consumer experience caused by interconnection disputes, and also the possibility that interconnection arrangements may in some instances render irrelevant any benefit of paying for a “premium” option.

The New York AG wants the companies to take responsibility for a subscriber’s end to end connection, in other words middle mile bandwidth, peering agreements and such are under their control too, little different from the initial link from a subscriber’s home to the local office.

But just forcing cable companies to clean up weasel worded ads and terms of service would be a huge step forward. When a subscriber – home or business – buys service advertised at, say, up to 100 Mbps, there should be a reasonable expectation of getting that most of that speed most of the time.

No comments from the companies as yet.

Letter to Cablevision
Letter to Time Warner
Letter to Verizon