Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



July 1, 2021

Senator Needleman Joins Attorney General Tong, Senate Majority Leader Duff to Demand Answers Regarding Altice Internet Speed Reductions of Up to 85%

Today, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) joined Attorney General William Tong and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) in Hartford outside the Attorney General’s office to demand answers from Altice, which plans to drastically slash the speeds of its internet services on July 12. When families and businesses are still heavily reliant on telecommuting and internet access to stay safe and connected during the pandemic – not to mention the company’s statements indicating the decision to cut speeds came solely because current offered speeds are faster than competitors’ services – this decision is one that will harm customers.

“This is a race to the bottom. Competition has not instilled a greater sense of responsibility on the part of these companies,” said Sen. Needleman. “Altice has a lot to be embarrassed about doing this in this moment, doing this when families are still at home and we do not know what the future will hold. They should be looking to do more to improve their speeds and service, not race to the bottom. Competition should instill a better product at a lower price – this is exactly the opposite. It is not right. There will probably be a public hearing on this where we can hear form these companies about what allows them to make decisions like this.”

“This action by Altice for its Optimum customers is nothing more than a slap in the face to consumers and a race to the bottom in an unregulated industry,” said Sen. Duff. “Right now, it’s the Wild West out there with many cable companies and internet service providers. No one is watching over them, and they are able to make changes with very little notice, without customers knowing what is happening and not providing information for consumers to make the right choices. They’ll say they’re meeting industry standards, but that’s just a race to the bottom – they don’t have much competition. They’ll say this is only for new consumers, but it really means they’ll either try to get people into higher-priced plans, or everyone else will eventually get into lower service. This is not good news for consumers. Altice has continued to raise rates and fees, not in a transparent way, and they will continue to reduce speeds for customers. To take this step at this moment, at this time, is wrong.”

The planned service adjustments from Altice will impact new Optimum internet customers or current customers who make changes to their service plans. Current customers will not be affected unless, or until, they upgrade, downgrade or change services. Most Optimum plans offer upload speeds of 35 Mbps, but beginning July 12, plans offered will be downgraded to as low as 5 Mbps upload speed. With video chatting, Zoom calls and other online data uploads requiring higher data uses, and the pandemic pushing many forms of communication online, these changes will not benefit customers – especially in parts of the state where Altice is the primary internet service provider.

“Optimum’s Plan not only raises prices on essential broadband services, it further exacerbates the ‘digital divide’ in Connecticut at a time when the continuing coronavirus pandemic has made more families reliant on their broadband service than ever,” Attorney General Tong stated in a letter sent today to Altice. “It is simply unconscionable to raise rates on Connecticut families when they both need broadband internet the most and are least able to bear higher cost for adequate service. I urge you to reconsider implementing Optimum’s Plan by: (a) canceling the Plan altogether; or, at the very least (b) postponing the Plan for one year or until the current economic and public health crisis is over.”