New York judge upholds AG's suit against Charter for TWC's slow internet speeds

Charter's updated logo
(Charter Communications)

A judge in Manhattan has refused to throw out a lawsuit, filed against Charter Communications by New York’s attorney general, that alleges the cable company’s acquired Time Warner Cable unit failed to deliver advertised internet speeds. 

According to Reuters, Justice O. Peter Sherwood of the state Supreme Court in Manhattan rejected Charter’s assertion that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman failed to make a case that the company had fallen short on delivering broadband speeds.

Charter argued that customers fully understood that the described speeds were the maximum that could be achieved, and that their network connection would often deliver speeds below that. Sherwood rejected that argument. 

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“The allegations in our lawsuit confirm what millions of New Yorkers have long suspectedCharter-Spectrum has been ripping you off,” the attorney general said in a statement.

In early February of last year, Schneiderman filed suit against Charter, alleging that since 2012, TWC promised internet speeds it knew it couldn’t deliver. Schneiderman further accused TWC of throttling Netflix usage. Charter acquired TWC in 2015 for $48.5 billion.

RELATED: Charter already using FCC’s Title II rollback to dodge NY AG suit

Schneiderman’s suit claims that at leaser 640,000 TWC subscribers signed received slower speeds than they were promised, and had trouble accessing content from Facebook, Google, YouTube, Netflix and various gaming platforms. The AG accused TWC of leasing older-generation modems to 900,000 subscribers even though the operator knew the outdated hardware couldn’t keep up with the advertised speeds. 

Charter spokesman John Bonomo told Reuters the company “delivers its advertised internet speeds,” and will continue to vigorously contest Schneiderman’s claims.

In late November, with the FCC just days away from rolling back Title II internet regulation, Charter attorneys tried to use the agency’s draft order outlining the deregulation to have the suit tossed. 

”Of particular relevance here, the Draft Order includes an extensive discussion of the interplay between federal and state law, including with respect to the transparency rule on which Charter has relied in arguing that federal law preempts the Attorney General’s allegations that Time Warner Cable made deceptive claims about its broadband speeds," wrote Charter attorney Christopher Clark, from Latham & Watkins. "Consistent with the FCC’s statements in prior orders and enforcement advisories, the Draft Order 'conclude[s] that regulation of broadband Internet access service should be governed principally by a uniform set of federal regulations, rather than by a patchwork of separate state and local requirements.'”

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