Cablevision execs slam report, citing glowing federal study
By Reuven Blau / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, October 15, 2012
Joe Marino/for New York Daily News
Elaine Gordon pays $196.43 every month for Triple Play cable service that she says is too slow. (Joe Marino for New York Daily News)
Brooklyn may be the fastest growing borough, but Cablevision customers are getting 25% slower internet service than their counterparts in The Bronx, according to a union report.
Brooklyn-based Cablevision subscribers have approximately 15,000 kilobits per second (kbps) download speed, compared to 20,000 in the Bronx, based on data collected by the Communications Workers of America on speedmatters.org.
Since 2007, the union has asked customers to check their internet speeds on the site. This year’s data is based on nearly 200 replies that were tied back to Cablevision customers based on their computer IP addresses.
Cablevision officials slammed the report, citing a comprehensive federal study hailing the company for exceeding advertised speeds last year.
“Cablevision, which last year delivered only about 50 percent during the most demanding peak usage periods, in 2012 delivered better than advertised speeds across each of its speed tiers during peak periods,” the Federal Communications Commission study said.
But that’s little consolation to Elaine Gordon, 65, and her family.
“The internet is slow,” the Cablevision customer from Lefferts Garden said. “And I just bought a new computer, so it can’t be the computer.”
The speed dispute comes as a group of recently unionized tech workers are locked in a bitter contract dispute with Cablevision bosses.
The approximately 400 techs, dispatchers and warehouse workers are demanding better pay and benefits.
Cablevision officials insist they haven’t left their Brooklyn customers in the dark ages of dial up.
The company recently spent $140 million to upgrade its broadband network and offers three levels of service, including a premium tier that delivers up to 101 megabites-per-second downstream and 15 Mbps upstream.
Cablevision covers roughly 2/3 of Brooklyn, excluding Red Hook, Park Slope, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and Brooklyn Heights.
More than 100 of the laborers who contract with Cablevision do not receive health benefits and are paid on a sliding scale based on each call, with some earning as low as $20,000 a year, according to union officials.
“They work in poverty installing Cablevision boxes for a very large corporation,” union organizing coordinator Tim Dubnau said.
Cablevision has countered that in the worst economy in years it has not laid off a single technician, unlike other similar firms who have slashed thousands of unionized positions.
“In fact, Cablevision has created jobs. We value our employees and the work they do and believe the CWA has little to offer them,” the company said after the Brooklyn workers unionized earlier this year.