A number of the largest American broadband providers were ordered to submit evidence that their “fast lanes” and premium services are quicker than ordinary access to the Internet. A few days ago, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and Cablevision received a letter from the office of New York’s Attorney General where concerns were raised that the users might not be getting the speeds advertised. The detailed information was requested from the ISPs by 8 November. The Internet companies were warned that records could be subpoenaed and legal action taken to stop any deceptive business practices.

Apparently, the office had two concerns: the first one was about the claim that speeds in the so-called “last mile” may deviate from the speeds advertised to render the advertising deceptive. Another concern was about the quality of connections between those ISPs and such websites as Yahoo or Netflix, because there had been many consumer complaints.

As a result, the Attorney General had to send out letters to major Internet service providers in the country and ask them to validate claims their subscribers were getting the access speeds promised, making a particular emphasis on premium services. According to media reports, the Attorney General’s office is seeking each ISP’s total broadband customers since 2011, grouped by service levels. The office also requires all disclosures to actual or potential customers about Internet speeds for the last two years; substantiation for specific speed claims; related user complaints; and copies of interconnection agreements.

According to the information received from the office, after the Attorney General will have reviewed all the responses and documents submitted, the ISPs’ officials would be invited in to discuss their broadband marketing practices and services.

In response, Cablevision has expressed its readiness to provide all the requested information to the Attorney General. The ISP also claimed that its Optimum Online service “consistently surpassed advertised broadband speeds, including in FCC and internal tests”. As for Time Warner Cable, the company said it was also looking forward to resolving the matter, while being confident that its subscribers were provided the speeds and services promised to them. Finally, Verizon joined the latter statement and reiterated that it was confident in the robust and reliable speeds delivered to its customers.