By Jessica KourkounisFor most of the year, Charter Communications Inc. has had the gigabit-speed internet access that most cable providers have, even though the company is still a big incumbent.
But it’s also the one with the worst customer satisfaction rating.
Charter is now facing a $1 billion class action lawsuit from customers who say they have been locked out of the service since last fall.
Charter has defended itself, pointing out that it is currently in the middle of a $2 billion merger with Comcast Corp. that will bring more than 1,000 gigabit connections to consumers, and that it has increased speeds to consumers and has added more customers than any other cable provider.
The company says that the merger is necessary to make sure customers have access to the best broadband speeds.
The merger is also a boon to Charter’s stock price, which is now trading at $13.43.
But the lawsuit argues that Charter’s super-speed is inadequate.
Charity has been able to use the super-high-speed connections that it’s getting from Comcast to get its high-speed Internet access to a handful of homes in the Bay Area, but those connections are limited to only about 30 homes in California, the lawsuit alleges.
Charybdis, which has a massive network of fiber optic cable lines in the San Francisco area, had hoped to get fiber optic Internet to a dozen homes and to a few more homes in other parts of the state, but it wasn’t able to get access to those homes until recently.
Charter, however, can now access gigabit speeds to a large portion of its customers and to about 50 percent of its homes in San Francisco, according to the lawsuit.
Championing Charter’s plansCharybus is one of the companies suing the cable companies for the superfast Internet access it promised to get.
Its CEO, Kevin Martin, told the Bay City News that the company’s plans are designed to meet the requirements of a court order and to ensure that Charter will have access when the court rules in the company, not a competitor, according the Bay View Reporter.
Championship, which owns cable channels like Cablevision and Dish Network, had been promised access to its fiber optic networks when the lawsuit was filed, but Charter says that Charter failed to deliver the speeds that it promised.
Martin also said that Charter had promised that it would be able access super-dense areas of the Bay area, but he said the company couldn’t deliver those areas, according a press release.
Martin said in the press release that Charter was “not going to provide us access to areas where we have the most congestion and are experiencing the highest levels of congestion.”
Martin said that his company is confident that it can deliver super-bundled broadband services for customers who live in areas where Charter’s service has been slow, like San Francisco and the Bay.
He also said the Charter network can handle super-broadband speeds in the areas where the company has been slower to deliver services, and said that it will be available to Charter customers when the service is ready to go.
Martin did not give an exact date when Charter will start delivering super-bps services to customers in areas that it didn’t provide access to in the past, and he did not provide a timeline for when those super-Mbps services would be available.
Charry said in a statement that it was disappointed in the outcome of the lawsuit, and it has hired a consumer protection attorney to help it defend against the suit.
It said it is evaluating its options for a legal defense and would respond to the court with any relevant information.
Chariots broadband plansCh Charter also said in its statement that the lawsuit is not related to the merger it has with Comcast.
Charter has been negotiating with Comcast since January, and the two companies announced last month that they would combine their two networks.