Consumer advocates lament the lack of real competition in broadband across large parts of the U.S. — but the claws are out in New York City’s suburbs in a cage match between Cablevision and Verizon.
Verizon made hay out of the FCC’s August 2011 report on broadband performance (based on March data), with a broad ad campaign portraying the MSO as hopelessly slow and delivering “59% or less” than advertised speeds (see Broadband: Who’s Overdelivering and Who’s Overpromising).
Cablevision last week sued to force the telco to stop the ads, complaining that newer data from the FCC shows it’s improved significantly (to delivering “more than 90%” of promised speeds at peak times) after it made “significant upgrades” to its broadband network.
Verizon said it will change the ad campaign to remove certain claims (such as not referring to the August 2011 report as “new”) — but pointed out that the FCC’s latest testing shows Cablevision still delivers less than 100% of advertised speeds during primetime periods (see Verizon To Modify FiOS Ads Targeting Cablevision Broadband).
“Verizon can and will continue to otherwise set the record straight about Cablevision’s services and false advertising claims, and make claims such as ‘Cablevision does not deliver on their advertised download speeds during peak hours,’” the telco said in its court filing Monday.
Even so, that claim should come with a big old asterisk.
According to Cablevision’s “Open Internet Disclosure Statement,” the FCC’s data for September 2011 shows that only the operator’s 15 Mbps tier (the “Optimum Online” service) underdelivers on download speeds at 79.83%, and only during the primetime hours of 7-11 p.m. on weekdays:
Note that Cablevision offers 50- and 101-Mbps download speeds; however, the number of users on those tiers is too small to provide a statistical sample for the FCC’s speed tests.
Ultimately the winners in this shouting match should be customers of both Verizon and Cablevision. The FCC’s independent testing worked as intended: It roused Cablevision into upgrading its network — and now its customers are getting what they paid for.*
* Well, almost all of the time. See table above.
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