Published: Sun, July 29, 2018
Industry | By Johnnie Johnson

Public Service Commission revokes Charter merger agreement with Time Warner Cable

Public Service Commission revokes Charter merger agreement with Time Warner Cable

NY is also seeking $3 million dollars in penalties from Charter.

Charter will undoubtedly do everything in its power to block this move, so don't expect Spectrum to suddenly vanish from NY in two months, but perhaps this will at least lead to some positive changes. Charter has 60 days to file an "orderly transition" plan to a new cable operator, and must continue to comply with regulations and serve all local franchises in NY state until that time. "Today's actions are meant to address Charter's failings and to ensure NY has a partner interested in the public good, not just lining its pockets", the PSC said in the news release.

"Charter's repeated failures to serve New Yorkers and honor its commitments are well documented and are only getting worse", PSC Chairman John Rhodes said in a statement.

The commission also directed its lawyers to bring an enforcement action in State Supreme Court to seek additional penalties for Charter's past failures and ongoing non-compliance.

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The commission alleges Charter has repeatedly failed to meet deadlines for improving internet speeds and has attempted to skirt obligations to provide high-speed internet to rural communities. Although Spectrum says it made its network available to over 86,000 residents, NY was planning on 145,000 businesses and homes being serviced.

That pledge was one of the "most critical" conditions attached to the merger approval, the commission argued in an order posted online Friday. The state lawyers plan to bring an enforcement action in NY state court.

In a statement, Charter spokesman Andrew Russell accused the commission's actions of being politically motivated.

The election reference is likely to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has set an ambitious goal of giving every New Yorker access to high-speed internet service by December 31, 2018, eight weeks after voters go to the polls to vote on whether he gets a third term.

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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 company would not immediately say whether it planned to challenge the commission's decision. "During the transition process, Charter must continue to comply with all local franchises it holds in New York State and all obligations under the Public Service Law and the Commission regulations".

Charter is the largest cable provider in the state. The company said it has extended its advanced broadband network to more than 86,000 NY homes and businesses since the merger agreement and is focused on continuing that work.

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