Time Warner gamed the FCC AskSam testing. The multibillion dollar New York State suit against Charter/Time Warner revealed details about how they delivered false results to the FCC tests, in a manner reminiscent of the $20B Mercedes-Benz emissions fraud. Hundreds of thousands of customers were overcharged $20, $30, and $40/per month, often for several years. Because TWC blocked interconnections with companies like Netflix, millions of customers did not get the Internet connection TWC promised and advertised.A 20% refund to those customers adds up to $billions.
That I got this wrong is not nearly as interesting as the story itself, but I'm putting my correction first. My frequent comments about U.S. cable systems generally delivering promised speeds or close. I hope the other cablecos, especially Comcast, were more honorable.
Time Warner sold 50, 200, and 300 megabit service to hundreds of thousands of customers they knew had D2 modems that couldn't deliver the speeds. That's just simple fraud and they collected $hundreds of millions. A team of lawyers worked through an massive pile of subpoenaed documents and discovered smoking gun after smoking gun.
The Attorney-General's suit used Time Warner's own data to show customers often got 30%, 75% and even 90% less than the speeds they were charged for. They also found definitive proof that TWC actively refused to accept data like Netflix streams in order to force Netflix, Cogent, and others to pay Time Warner or be effectively cut off from millions of customers.
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