New York is going after Verizon, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision for slow …

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

NY AG Probes ISPs About Broadband Speeds.

New York officials are investigating some of the nation’s biggest Internet providers over claims that customers aren’t getting the Internet speeds they’ve paid for. Armed with subpoena power, net neutrality activist Tim Wu is spearheading an investigation by the New York attorney general’s office into whether broadband companies in New York are promising Internet speeds they don’t deliver.REUTERS – New York state’s attorney general is probing whether three major Internet providers could be shortchanging consumers by charging them for faster broadband speeds and failing to deliver the speeds being advertised, according to documents seen by Reuters.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman last week sent Verizon, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable letters asking for copies of disclosures made to customers and details about Internet speed tests, Reuters reported. Interconnection deals allow content providers like Netflix to pay for direct access to an ISP’s network to ensure that their programming gets to customers faster and without issues like buffering.

The three Internet providers vowed to cooperate with the probe, and all said in statements Monday that they were confident in the speeds they provide to end-users. Cablevision spokesman Charlie Schueler said the company’s Optimum Online service “consistently surpasses advertised broadband speeds, including in FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and internal tests. Wu wrote that the discrepancy between actual speeds and those advertised may be wide enough apart to “render the advertising deceptive.” He also said congestion at the handoff or “interconnection” point between third parties’ networks and those of the broadband companies may be slowing the end speeds consumers are receiving. “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,” wrote Mr. The attorney general’s investigation is particularly focused on so-called interconnection arrangements, or contractual deals that Internet service providers strike with other networks for the mutual exchange of data. The office requested detailed information from each of the companies on their network management and advertising practices, including copies of all broadband customer complaints related to discrepancies between actual and advertised speeds and all “interconnection” agreements, formal and informal, that the companies have struck with third parties.

In the letters, Schneiderman’s office says it is concerned that customers paying a premium for higher speeds may be experiencing a disruption in their service due to technical problems and business disputes over interconnection agreements. A 2014 study by the Measurement Lab Consortium, or M-Lab, found that customers’ Internet service tended to suffer at points where their broadband providers connected with long-haul Internet traffic carriers, including Cogent Communications Group Inc. “Internet service provider interconnection has a substantial impact on consumer Internet performance – sometimes a severely negative impact,” the study said, adding that business relationships rather than technical issues were often at the root of the problem. Schneiderman’s office told Law Blog the basis for the probe comes from its own analysis, consumer complaints reviewed by the office and findings from Internet research group Measurement Lab. If there isn’t enough capacity at that point, known as the point of interconnection, then consumers could experience delays as Netflix videos and other content struggle to make it into a provider’s systems.

Wu is best known for popularizing the term “net neutrality” — the idea that all Internet traffic should be treated equally — and championing regulations imposing it. And that’s a bottleneck they control and can substantially affect the speeds the consumer experiences.” Netflix subscribers may remember their outrage when a flood of video traffic last year got clogged up at the edge of networks belonging to Comcast, Verizon and other Internet providers. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office hired the legal scholar in September as a senior enforcement counsel following his unsuccessful run for New York lieutenant governor as an insurgent Democratic candidate.

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