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City officials are fed up

“Hundreds of thousands of Los Angeles residents were ripped off,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, referring to a complaint against Time Warner Cable regarding the quality of its service that the company provided since its installment as Southern California’s No. 1 cable provider two years ago.

“Time Warner must be held accountable for its promises.”

According to the soon-to-be-filed complaint, the City of Los Angeles says Time Warner made false and misleading statements to subscribers regarding its quality of service, violating state laws and the terms of the franchise agreement it worked out with the city. Subscribers spend time waiting in agonizingly long hold queues, the city says, and Time Warner’s technicians subjected subscribers to excessive repair work delays. Parts of the agreement mandated that Time Warner customer service representatives answer subscribers’ calls “within 30 seconds,” and repair service interruptions within 24 hours of notification.

The city says it will file its suit in a Los Angeles County Superior Court. Time Warner Cable provided no immediate comment.

Officials in the city of Costa Mesa, California – less than an hour’s drive south of Los Angeles’ – are mulling similar plans in light of Los Angeles’ announcement.

“I requested a copy of the city of Los Angeles’ filing so that I can assess if we need to pursue action of our own,” said Costa Mesa City Attorney Kimberley Hall Barlow.

Los Angeles officials say that Time Warner could pay “tens of millions of dollars” in fines if courts rule against it.

Time Warner Cable is the exclusive cable provider for a number of Southern California markets, including the aforementioned Costa Mesa. While there exists competition in Los Angeles, Time Warner Cable remains the dominant provider after it acquired the bankrupted Adelphia Communications with fellow provider Comcast in 2006, and arranged for a complex franchise switch that allowed the two to dominate separate markets.

The Los Angeles Times notes that the Adelphia transition was difficult due to a need to upgrade and merge with Adelphia’s aging infrastructure, affecting nearly 500,000 subscribers.

Los Angeles’ lawsuit specifically focuses on service issues starting during fall 2006 and ending in spring of 2007, citing advertising literature that gave subscribers the impression that pricing would remain the same. One brochure promised customers that Time Warner would fix service interruptions “fast,” when instead technicians would consistently show up for appointments late.

In the end, however, the city is angry with Time Warner’s lousy service overall. The company’s cable and internet service “was so intermittent and inferior in quality that it was not much better than no service at all,” says the suit.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes recently announced plans to jettison Time Warner Cable, spinning it off into an independent company in order to raise Time Warner’s sagging stock price. The company is also experimenting with a metered internet service model, opening test markets with a 40 GB cap in Texas.

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RE: too bad
By FaceMaster on 6/6/2008 6:38:26 PM , Rating: -1
They don't bother you with usage restrictions

Usage restrictions only hinder those who are downloading movies all the time from piratebay any way. Honestly, how many emails, pictures or youtube videos do you have to watch to go over the limit? Why would you even WANT to watch that many youtube videos? Online gaming doesn't even take up that much. The only other explanation is porn. Lots of it. HD resolution. With slow motion replays. Oh yeah.

RE: too bad
By bodar on 6/6/2008 8:15:07 PM , Rating: 6
Exactly, since there are zero legal, non-porn ways to consume large amounts of data throughput.

Certainly not:

Where can I sign up for your informative newsletter?

RE: too bad
By FaceMaster on 6/7/08, Rating: 0
RE: too bad
By amanojaku on 6/7/2008 3:10:55 PM , Rating: 1
@$$master, do you work for TimeWarner, the RIAA, or the MPAA? It sounds like you don't want people watching streaming video. Or maybe you're just speaking from ignorance.

Stream "Heroes," then tell me the picture quality sucks. I have an AthlonXP 2500 Shuttle as my video jukebox connected via VGA to a Westinghouse 32" LCD (running at the native resolution of 1366x768) and optical S/PDIF to a Rotel RSX 1056 5.1 receiver. The picture quality from NetFlix is so good I need to upgrade my PC to keep it from stuttering. My newer laptop can display the picture without a hitch, but it doesn't have optical sound output. Most movies play perfectly, though; watching "Weeds" was like watching it on HD cable.

RE: too bad
By djc208 on 6/8/2008 11:52:00 AM , Rating: 2

Not to mention the internet capabilities that have yet to really take hold. For instance one of the big ones for me lately has been streaming my TV content from my HTPC to my laptop while I'm on travel (I use SageTV but Slingbox would have the same effect). Or the WHS machines that will start to allow more people remote access to any of their content away from home. Or this push for "cloud computing" where you'll have most of your stuff on some "internet HD".

Then add on all the little items, like every program you have checking for updates periodically, then downloading those updates. How about all the little widgets and apps to track weather, stocks, RSS tickers, IM programs. Then add multiple computers and/or family members all doing the same things and it can add up quickly.

RE: too bad
By mmc4587 on 6/7/2008 12:25:07 AM , Rating: 1
Honestly, how many emails, pictures or youtube videos do you have to watch to go over the limit?

1 picture = 5 mb
1 days use of Folding@Home = 10 mb
1 news clip on msn = 20 mb
1 home video clip 2.5 min = 200 mb
1 hour streaming music = 300 mb
1 video-call over skype = 800 mb
1 software/os download = up to 2,000 mb
1 online movie rental = 3,000 mb

Monthly sats follow:

.25 gb = 50+ pictures
.3 gb = Folding@Home use
.6 gb = 10 msn news clips/day
1.0 gb = 5 2.5min home videos
1.5 gb = 5hr of streaming music
3.0 gb = 1 month of OS/Game/software downloads
4.0 gb = 5 skype video calls
15.0 gb = 5 online movie rentals


Internet takes up only a fraction of the bandwith available on coax cable. 90% of that bandwith is used to provide a constant stream of 100+ channels (as if we are likely to watch all 100 at once).

so, cable companies, if you want to start limiting bandwith start cleaning up in house first! (yes I realize that server load is not = to bandwith but that is not the point)

RE: too bad
By FaceMaster on 6/7/08, Rating: -1
"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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