NY Attorney General to Rutledge: Please 'clean up TWC's act'

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman penned a letter to Tom Rutledge, asking the Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) President and CEO to 'clean up' what he describes as shoddy broadband services offered by Charter's new acquisition, Time Warner Cable. 

Now that Charter has announced that TWC will be swallowed up under a rebrand called Spectrum, Scnheiderman said, "We write now to underscore our hope and expectation that this announcement reflects more than mere branding — and signals your intent to substantially improve the reliability, performance, and speed of the Internet delivered to customers, as well as how Time Warner Cable markets its services."

Schneiderman said his office recently completed an investigation of TWC, looking into the MSO's delivery on internet speed, reliability and service quality purported in its advertising.

"As we have explained, the preliminary results of our investigation are troubling," the attorney general said. "In advertisement after advertisement, Time Warner Cable promised a 'blazing fast,' 'superreliable' internet connection. Yet it appears that the company has been failing to take adequate or necessary steps to keep pace with the demand of Time Warner Cable customers — at times letting connections with key internet content providers become so congested that large volumes of internet data were regularly lost or discarded. This translates into degraded performance for customers, including those using popular on-demand video services, like Netflix— despite specific promises from Time Warner Cable that they could stream video content reliably and with 'no buffering.'" 

Schneiderman said his office recently asked TWC customers to use open-source tools to measure their broadband speeds.

"The results we received from Time Warner Cable customers were abysmal," he said. "Not only did Time Warner Cable fail to achieve the speeds its customers were promised and paid for (which Time Warner Cable blamed on the testing method), it generally performed worse in this regard than other New York broadband providers."

For Charter's part, the MSO sounds confident that the improvements it's been making within its own footprint will translate to TWC and BHN as well.

"Charter has made significant investments in our core infrastructure which has enabled us to offer high-value products backed by a high-quality service organization throughout our footprint. As we progress with the integration of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, we will continue to do the same, bringing all TWC and BHN systems all-digital so that Charter can provide its advanced Spectrum products and services, bringing greater value and more consumer friendly policies, such as broadband speeds starting at 60 mbps, no data caps, no usage based billing, and no modem lease fees to all our customers. In addition, Charter's interconnection policies have been lauded by companies such as Netflix as a real benefit of these transactions for consumers. We look forward to bringing all these enhancements to customers in NY and redefining what a cable company can be."

For more:
- read the letter
- read this Bloomberg story

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