It’s a pretty basic tenet of American commerce: if someone advertises something to you at a certain price, they actually have to provide you that thing at that price. Like, for example, a broadband internet connection: if a company like Verizon, Cablevision, or Time Warner Cable says it will give you a connection of a certain speed, it’s supposed to make good. But in one sate, the top legal office thinks the ISPs may not be making good on their claims, and wants to know what’s up.
Reuters reports that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters to the broadband ISPs that operate in the state, asking about just that. The problem is that the state’s big three ISPs are promising consumers high-speed, blazing-fast broadband internet suitable for modern use, but that the speeds consumers can actually get may not come anywhere near those promises.
The Attorney General’s office sent the letters to the executives at Verizon, Cablevision, and TWC on Friday, October 23. All three companies are being asked to provide the state with copies of every disclosure they make to customers, as well as copies of any internal testing they may have done of their own network speeds.
Tim Wu (who invented the term “net neutrality” and unsuccessfully ran for office in New York last year), now serving in a senior role for Schneiderman’s office, wrote the letters. In them he specifically called attention to the harms consumers’ data suffers due to interconnection disputes, when businesses fight it out over who has to move what where. Wu pointed out that it doesn’t matter what premium offerings consumers are paying for if their connections still bottleneck hard at an interconnection point.
“New Yorkers deserve the Internet speeds they pay for. But, it turns out, many of us may be paying for one thing, and getting another,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
Representatives for Verizon, Cablevision, and TWC all told Reuters that they were confident in their broadband offerings and happy to work with the attorney general’s office to resolve the issue.
New York launches probe into speeds at big Internet broadband providers [Reuters]