Connecticut AG takes aim at Altice USA
Altice USA is under pressure in Connecticut after state Attorney General William Tong this week announced an investigation into "nearly 500 complaints" about alleged slow Internet speeds, hidden fees and "unacceptable technical support."
The AG's announcement notes that many complaints involve Altice USA customers who paid for broadband service speeds of 300 Mbit/s or 400 Mbit/s but found that speed tests showed they were not getting the speeds they were paying for. The probe is also looking into complaints about service fees, technical support and customer service, including a $3.50 "Network Enhancement Fee" for high-speed Internet customers.
The AG's "civil investigate demand" issued to Altice USA focuses on obtaining records that show what the company knew and when, and how Altice USA invested revenue from the Network Enhancement Fee, among other demands
"Our investigation seeks comprehensive records dating back to January 2017 to determine exactly what Altice Optimum knew and what they were doing to deliver the internet speeds and service they promised," Tong said in a statement. "If our investigation finds that Optimum violated Connecticut law, we will not hesitate to hold them accountable."
The AG's office did not announce a deadline for Altice USA to provide the information or when it expects to resolve the investigation. Light Reading has asked both the Connecticut AG's office and Altice USA for further comment.
Update: The Connecticut AG office said a deadline of December 19, 2022, has been set, but, beyond that, could not predict the pace of the investigation.
Altice USA said it will cooperate with state officials in the investigation, which goes back to complaints lodged as many as five years ago.
"Altice shares the state's goal of ensuring Connecticut residents and businesses receive high-quality service and have a positive customer experience. That is why Altice has been investing across Connecticut, building and deploying a 100% Optimum Fiber broadband network that provides reliable infrastructure and symmetrical internet services to our communities and customers," the company said in a statement. "Connecticut was one of the first areas where we launched multi-gigabit speeds earlier this year to meet the ever-growing broadband needs of our customers, and we also participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides free high-speed internet service. We are proud to serve our Connecticut communities and will cooperate with state officials to provide relevant information."
The complaint surfaces soon after Altice USA enacted a hiring freeze for most positions, as it moves ahead with an initiative to upgrade its fiber network, launches multi-gigabit speed tiers, and as it explores a plan to rekindle subscriber growth and invest further into areas such as customer care and retail.
The Connecticut AG investigation follows a $60 million-plus settlement that the office reached with Frontier Communications in August following the review of more than 1,400 consumer complaints pertaining to equipment returns, poor Internet service quality, bad customer service and excessive charges.
- Frontier agrees to $60M settlement in Connecticut covering fiber builds, DSL upgrades
- Altice USA hiring freeze covers most job areas
- Former Comcast exec Dennis Mathew tapped to succeed Dexter Goei as Altice USA CEO
- Altice USA joins the fiber frenzy