Charter may have to stop business in NY after state regulator ruling
29 July, 2018, 16:39 | Author: Julian Harrison
Back in March, we brought you word that Charter was skating on thin icewith the State of NY for allegedly lying about Spectrum broadband deployments, and not living up to its promises to expand rural broadband as part of its 2016 merger with Time Warner Cable. The PSC has been critical of Charter's progress meeting these conditions, levying millions of dollars in penalties and firing off increasingly hostile statements about the communications giant. Nationwide, Charter has 26 million customers, and the company would continue to own former Time Warner Cable systems in states besides NY.
"Despite missing every network expansion target since the merger was approved in 2016, Charter has falsely claimed in advertisements it is exceeding its commitments to the State and is on track to deliver its network expansion", the PSC said today. It could also force Charter to find a buyer for its NY systems, though Charter is likely to challenge the order, a person familiar with the company's thinking said.
The commission said the USA broadband provider failed to live up to its agreement as part of the merger to build internet access to an additional 145,000 households and businesses in rural areas of NY under-served by internet providers. They may face more penalties in the state Supreme Court.
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Since then, NY says Spectrum has fallen short in almost every aspect of the deal, failing to meet the incremental deadlines and obligations for several rural communities, they have engaged in unsafe field practices, and they have attempted to obfuscate their shortcomings by blaming other companies.
Charter also must pay the commission another $1 million in fines, on top of $2 million already paid.
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. As a result of Charter's adamant refusal to abide by the conditions of the merger approval, the Commission ordered Charter to develop a transition plan. "After more than a year of administrative enforcement efforts to bring Charter into compliance with the Commission's merger order, the time has come for stronger actions to protect New Yorkers and the public interest", said Commission Chair John B. Rhodes. Charter's claims are simply false and the Commission will not stand idly by while Charter deceives the public and its shareholders. During the transition process, Charter must continue to comply with all local franchises it holds in NY state and all obligations under the Public Service Law and the Commission regulations.
Charter is the largest cable provider in the state.
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