NYS moves to kick Charter Communications out of state

Isaac Cain
July 28, 2018

Charter, the second-largest cable provider in the United States after Comcast, completed its $56.7 billion deal to buy Time Warner Cable in 2016. "(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 Public Service Commission had previously fined Charter $2 million for failing to meet the broadband deadlines and voted Friday to force the company to forfeit $1 million in credit that was approved as part of the merger.

"In the weeks leading up to an election, rhetoric often becomes politically charged", spokeswoman Shelley Loo told The Post.

Charter Cable's Spectrum may be forced to stop doing business in NY for failing to live up to a service agreement and "misleading the public", a state utility regulator said Friday.

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That pledge was one of the "most critical" conditions attached to the merger approval, the commission argued in an order posted online Friday.

On Friday, the commission escalated that battle by revoking its approval of the 2016 Charter-Time Warner Cable merger, which would prevent the company from operating in NY and will likely launch a prolonged court battle. The state lawyers plan to bring an enforcement action in NY state court. As such, the commission concludes that it can no longer allow the company to operate in NY in good faith. "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".

John Sipos, the Public Service Commission's deputy general counsel, said the commission "explicitly conditioned its approval [of the merger] on a host of conditions created to yield incremental net benefits to NY". "Charter's non-compliance and brazenly disrespectful behavior toward New York State and its customers necessitate the actions taken today seeking court-ordered penalties for its failures, and revoking the Charter merger approval". 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. What is just as bad is that thousands of New Yorkers who are waiting for the broadband access Spectrum keeps advertising it is providing are still stuck with 20th Century technology.

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