Preliminary results of a New York investigation show that Time Warner Cable gave customers far slower internet speeds than advertised, which caused movies to freeze, games becoming non-responsive and delayed loading of websites.
The office of the New York attorney general announced the tentative findings in a letter on wednesday that called on Charter Communications (CHTR) to make major service improvements after the recent completion of its $79 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable.
"In short, what we have seen in our investigation so far suggests that Time Warner Cable has earned the miserable reputation it enjoys among consumers," Tim Wu, senior enforcement counsel for New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, wrote to Thomas Rutledge, Charter Communications' chairman and CEO.
"In advertisement after advertisement, Time Warner Cable promised a 'blazing fast,' 'super-reliable' Internet connection," the letter said. "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."
Charter pointed out that it had made investments in its core infrastructure, to enable the company to offer "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 minimum speeds of 60 Mbps, no data caps, no usage based billing, and no modem lease fees to all our customers," Charter said.
As a condition for approving the merger, the New York's Public Service Commission required Charter to upgrade available speeds statewide to 300 megabits per second by the end of 2019. Charter was also expected to provide more low and moderately-priced internet packages, and expand broadband to under-served areas.
As part of the probe, New York customers used open-source tools to test their internet speeds. ''The results we received from Time Warner Cable customers were abysmal,'' Wu said in the letter. The company failed ''to achieve the speeds its customers were promised'' and ''generally performed worse in this regard than other New York broadband providers.''