Coalition of 35 States asks FCC to Reject Petition by Internet Providers
States are going after Internet providers like Spectrum, also known as Time Warner Cable, for their false misrepresentations to consumers and subscribers.
In an effort to protect consumers, a coalition of state leaders today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny a petition by the broadband industry to strip states of their authority to investigate and settle claims over false and misleading advertising about broadband Internet speed.
The letter from the state leaders to the FCC indicates “Spectrum-TWC repeatedly represented to consumers, including its subscribers, that they would receive consistently fast Internet speeds, and reliable and uninterrupted access to online content. Both of these representations were false.”
Exhibit information supporting Spectrum-TWC misled subscribers by falsely promising speed they could not deliver showed the company “leased older-generation, single-channel modems despite knowing that such modems were, in its own words, not “capable of supporting the service levels paid for.”
They “also leased older generation wireless routers to subscribers despite knowing that these routers would prevent them from ever experiencing close to the promised speeds over wireless connection” also “failed to allocate sufficient bandwidth to subscribers by reducing the size of its service groups or increasing the number of channels for its service groups.”
“Results from three independent Internet speed measurements confirmed that Spectrum-TWC consistently failed to deliver the promised speeds to subscribers on its high-speed plans.”
The broadband industry’s petition asks the FCC to block state and local authorities from routine enforcement of state consumer protection laws and declare that the FCC regulate all advertising about broadband performance. But the petition “represents nothing more than the industry’s effort to shield itself from state law enforcement,” Texas Attorney General Paxton wrote in the letter to the FCC that was signed by a bipartisan group of 35 state attorneys general.
“The name of the company may have changed from Time Warner to Spectrum, but the company has not changed its pattern of providing slower speeds than advertised,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said when his state filed a lawsuit in February. “The company’s motto might as well be: ‘New day, same fraud.’”
“As the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, a federal agency may pre-empt state law only when and if it’s acting within the scope of its congressionally delegated authority,” Attorney General Paxton said today. “Hundreds of millions of Americans rely on broadband Internet services every day, yet they don’t always get what they pay for. The states’ consumer protection powers must be left intact to protect customers from providers who make false claims about broadband speed.”
Attorney General Paxton was joined in the letter by the attorneys general of Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.