Time Warner Cable (now under Charter's Spectrum) has agreed to pay $18.8 million to settle with Los Angeles County over allegations of unlawful business practices.
Time Warner Cable cooperated with the investigation but did not concede any liability.
L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced the settlement on behalf of the 170,000 California consumers she said had paid for internet speeds they didn't get because of outdated modems or limited infrastructure that prevented them from getting advertised speeds.
She said it was the largest settlement the country had ever secured in a consumer protection case, with those consumers getting $16.9 million of that settlement and the DA's offices of L.A. County, Riverside and San Diego splitting $1.9 million for costs.
She also said that every Time Warner Cable Internet customer will be offered a free cable service (three free months of Showtime if they take cable) or one free month of a streaming service if they don't have traditional cable. Lacey said the settlement should serve as a warning that deceptive practices--promising internet speeds that could not be delivered, in this case--is bad for both consumers and business.
The agreement settles a lawsuit filed last month in Los Angeles County Superior Court which was joined by the district attorneys of San Diego and Riverside.
Also as part of the agreement, Time Warner Cable said it won't advertise internet speeds "it knows or should know it cannot consistently deliver during peak hours," and has to issue modems that can deliver its advertised speeds."
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