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AG announces investigation into Optimum cable after hundreds of complaints

State officials said they received nearly 500 consumer complaints regarding slow internet speeds, hidden fees, and unacceptable technical support.

HARTFORD, Conn — A flood of complaints about poor service from their cable provider has prompted an investigation by the attorney general's office.

Attorney General William Tong announced the investigation Monday into Altice Optimum Cable under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. He said the nearly 500 consumer complaints received by his office dating back to January 2017 detailed slow internet speeds, hidden fees, and unacceptable technical support.

Complaints to the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Consumer Protection involved consumers who paid for either 300 Mbps or 400 Mbps cable internet plans. However, using home speed tests, customers found they were not receiving the speeds they paid for. Consumers also lodged complaints regarding service fees, technical support, and customer service. The Office of the Attorney General is also investigating a $3.50 “Network Enhancement Fee” for internet customers.

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“Customers have a right to expect the service and internet speed they pay for. Our office has reviewed hundreds of complaints from Optimum cable internet customers regarding slow speeds, hidden fees, and poor customer support,” Tong in a statement. "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. If our investigation finds that Optimum violated Connecticut law, we will not hesitate to hold them accountable.

Investigators are asking Altice Optimum to provide detailed records of consumer complaints dating back to January 2017, records of how Altice Optimum marketed its internet speeds, any analysis or records regarding the speed and quality of internet they ultimately delivered, records showing Altice Optimum’s knowledge of various factors impacting the speed and quality of their internet service, records showing how Altice Optimum invested revenue from their “Network Enhancement Fee,” among other demands.

Altice released a statement to FOX61:

"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. 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."

In August, state officials reached a settlement with Frontier Communications for over $60 million following a review of over 1,400 consumer complaints of a similar nature. The money will be used to expand access to high-speed internet for Frontier customers in economically distressed communities, end a hidden monthly $6.99 internet surcharge, and force significant improvements in Frontier’s marketing and customer service.

Altice Optimum provides cable service for Bridgeport, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Milford, Orange, Norwalk, Stamford, Stratford, Westport, Weston, Wilton, and Woodbridge. It formerly operated under the name Cablevision.

Doug Stewart is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at dstewart@fox61.com.

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