Welcomes New York PSC's Enforcement of Charter-Time Warner Cable Merger Agreement

Welcomes New York PSC's Enforcement of Charter-Time Warner Cable Merger Agreement

Welcomes New York PSC's Enforcement of Charter-Time Warner Cable Merger Agreement

The cable company, which was formed when Charter and Time Warner Cable merged in 2016, hadn't extended service to 145,000 homes and businesses in the state that are in unserved or underserved areas in NY, according to a ruling from the state's Public Service Commission.

It wasn't immediately clear what the rejection means for Charter.

To obtain approval in New York, Charter agreed to extend its high-speed broadband network to 145,000 unserved or under-served homes and businesses over four years.

The decision cuts against a broader nationwide trend of consolidation in the telecom and media industries, although it is limited to NY state and does not cover the more than 40 other states in which Charter does business, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The commission ordered Charter, doing business as Spectrum, to file a plan within 60 days to ensure an "orderly transition to a successor" provider or providers for NY state customers.

"Charter's non-compliance and brazenly disrespectful behavior toward NY state and its customers necessitates the actions taken (Friday) seeking court-ordered penalties for its failures, and revoking the Charter merger approval". "(T) he time has come for stronger actions to protect New Yorkers and the public interest", commission chairman John B. Rhodes said in a prepared statement.

The commission is giving Charter 60 days to come up with an exit plan from NY and has ordered the firm to pay $3 million in penalties. The suit also claimed that Spectrum-Time Warner subscribers were "getting dramatically short-changed on both speed and reliability". In a statement, the company said they have "extended the reach of [their] advanced broadband network to more than 86,000 NY homes and businesses".

After its reply and further PSC deliberations, the commission determined that Charter Communications acting as Spectrum could not comply with the contingencies imposed in the 2016 conditional approval of the Charter-Time Warner merger, and the approval was rescinded and Charter banned from doing business in the state. "Such egregious conduct can not be condoned and the only reasonable remedy that remains is for the commission to revoke the 2016 merger approval and order Charter to plan for an orderly transition to a successor provider (s) to serve its NY state customers".

"Its failure to meet its June 18, 2018 target by more than 40 percent is only the most recent example", the PCS said.

The commission had previously ordered Charter to pay a $2 million fine for its slow broadband rollout.

It remains to be seen if other states will follow New York's example in attempting to hold broadband providers accountable for their service to residents across the United States.

Charter is the state's largest cable provider, offering television, internet and phone services in more than 1,150 communities across NY with a potential customer base of 5 million, according to the Public Service Commission. "I am pleased that the PSC is taking these serious concerns to heart, and is looking out for the hundreds of thousands of Spectrum customers across the state being shortchanged when it comes to cable and Internet service".

Today's decision may be obtained by going to the commission documents section of the PSC's website at www.dps.ny.gov and entering case number 15-M-0388 in the input box labeled "Search for Case/Matter Number".

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