High-speed service promised and paid for but sometimes not delivered

Schumer Slams Local Internet Providers




Internet streaming, particularly when involving high-tech games and movies, requires high-speed broadband coverage. Local providers, mainly Cablevision, tout their high-speed services and the Federal Communications
Commission agrees.

But reality is far from the hype, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer has charged.

Schumer says high-speed broadband service is poor in many parts of New York State, particularly Long Island, and more so on the East End.

“While we live in an era of faster and faster, the reality of internet speed across New York is that it may move more like molasses than lightning,” Schumer said.

A recent study by Microsoft bears out Schumer’s contention. In New York, Microsoft estimates that 8.7 million people are not using true high-speed internet, as opposed to the FCC’s estimate of 400,000 people. Rural communities are especially lacking.

In many cases, Microsoft and Schumer agreed, customers are paying for speeds they are not getting.

“The cable and phone companies have routinely deceived the public when it comes to the broadband speeds they promise and what they deliver. And unfortunately the FCC has been complicit in this deception for many years. Senator Schumer is right to demand that the FCC stop working for industry and start doing its job,” said Tim Wu, professor at Columbia Law School and “Net Neutrality” pioneer.

Janet Meahan is the senior director of communications for Altice USA, which purchased Cablevision three years ago and provides internet service to most of Long Island. Meahan said in an interview this week her company has worked resolutely to provide cutting-edge services. “We are investing. We are providing high speed service to Long Island, neighborhood by neighborhood,” she noted.

Altice USA is committed to delivering high-speed broadband service to customers and to meeting and exceeding advertised speeds, which was validated in the FCC’s most recent SamKnows study, Meahan said.

The FCC concluded, “Altice’s Optimum broadband service delivered more than 100 percent of median download speeds advertised.”

But Schumer and other critics questioned the FCC mythology. For example, the FCC reports that the percentage of people who don’t use internet at broadband speeds in NYC and Long Island counties is less than one percent. However, the recent study shows a massive disparity in those numbers. The Microsoft study concluded 20 percent, or 311,000 people on Long Island are without true broadband speed and many of those users pay for it and aren’t aware they aren’t getting it.

“Altice USA offers 400 mbps high-speed internet service across our Long Island footprint and are currently investing in and upgrading our network to deliver gigabit broadband speeds on Long Island,” Meahan said.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com