New York launches probe into speeds at major Internet broadband providers

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AG to probe slow Internet providers’ ‘misleading’ ads.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched an investigation into whether Internet service providers Verizon, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision are misleading customers with slower-than-advertised speeds. “This office is concerned that, for reasons substantially within Verizon’s control, consumers may not be experiencing the speeds advertised,” Tim Wu, a senior enforcement counsel in the AG’s office, wrote in an Oct. 23 letter to the company.

Three major U.S. broadband providers claiming to offer super-fast Internet connections may be delivering service that is slower than advertised, New York State’s top legal official said. Schneiderman’s investigation comes little more than a year after the Federal Communications Commission began probing ISPs over their download speeds. But, it turns out, many of us may be paying for one thing, and getting another,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “Families pay a huge cost already for Internet access in New York, so I will not tolerate a situation in which they aren’t getting what they have been promised.”

There is a “possibility that interconnection arrangements may in some instances render irrelevant any benefit” of paying for a “premium” option such as Verizon’s FiOS, Time Warner Cable’s “Extreme” and “Ultimate” offerings and Cablevision’s “Optimum Online Ultra” choices, said Wu, whose appointment was announced last month. Many U.S. markets have only one option for high-speed Internet service, according to an analysis by Consumerist.com using data gathered through the government’s National Broadband Map project. New York City is a competitive market, and broadband companies battle for customers by offering ever-better speeds to handle a proliferation of networked devices such as computers, video game systems and Internet-enabled televisions. For example, Verizon tells customers that one of its service options is “great for 8 devices”and allows users to “upload large files to the cloud, perform quicker back-ups and play competitive multi-player gaming.” Cablevision says its “Optimum Online Ultra 101” plan can allow customers to “send super-large attachments you never could before,” download a song in a fraction of a second or a television show-sized video in half a minute.

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