Time Warner Cable is being sued by the state of New York on behalf of TWC subscribers, including those who are League of Legends and Netflix users.
In an 87-page document outlining the case, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman alleges that Spectrum-Time Warner Cable, the largest internet service provider in New York state, defrauded its customers by falsely advertising unrealistic internet speeds, and specifically throttling League of Legends players until Riot Games paid for faster access.
According to the document, TWC leased older generation modems and routers that were incapable of reaching the speeds they advertised while at the same time falsifying Federal Communications Commission tests to make it appear as if their average speeds were as advertised. TWC also allegedly failed to maintain their network in such a way that it could not reach those advertised speeds, instead intentionally bottle-necking specific content providers.
Among the specifically targeted content providers are allegedly Netflix and Riot Games, who had to negotiate contracts with TWC to ensure appropriately fast access to their services.
According to the document, Riot began tracking data on latency and packet loss in Sept. 2013, and noted that TWC subscribers did not enjoy a "good network experience."
TWC subscribers were allegedly experiencing latencies above 100 milliseconds and packet loss of above 4 percent between September 2013 and the summer of 2015. Riot's minimum averages are 100 ms of latency and two percent packet loss.
Allegedly, Riot agreed to pay TWC for access to its subscribers in order to ensure that TWC users could play LoL in the network environment Riot recommended. As a result of the negotiation, TWC allegedly agreed to connect its ports to Riot, which would have fixed most of the latency issues. This is being used as evidence that TWC did not deliver on advertised promises to provide a reliable, lag-free internet connection.
“Throughout the Relevant Period, Spectrum-TWC relentlessly touted consistently fast Internet speeds and reliable access to online content to solicit and retain subscribers,” the document states. “However, in reality, Spectrum-TWC knowingly failed to deliver on such promises. Spectrum-TWC’s deceptive advertising and business practices induced New York subscribers to overpay month-in and month-out for Internet services that Spectrum-TWC deliberately refused to provide.”
According to the document, Netflix was in a similar situation, and Netflix users experienced slower network speeds on TWC during a period of contract negotiation between Netflix and TWC. Charts in the document allege that Netflix traffic and speeds jumped after they paid TWC for access.
The attorney general is seeking restitution and relief for the people of New York who subscribed to TWC during the period the case covers, on top of civil penalties and the cost of investigation and litigation.
A judge would have to determine exactly what that would entail should a court rule in favor of the people of New York.
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.