ibusinesslines.com October 22, 2018

NY moves to oust cable provider Spectrum

28 July 2018, 05:27 | Jodi Jackson



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.

It's rare to see a state try to undo a merger this way and prohibit a company from operating (in its current form) in the state, but NY is clearly unhappy with Charter's actions in the wake of this merger, and displeased enough that they're moving beyond fines to merger revocation. The combined Charter-Time Warner Cable operation is the second-largest cable company in the country.

NY is moving to ban Charter Communications from operating in the state as regulators say it has failed to live up to the commitments it made when its merger with Time Warner Cable was approved in 2016.

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. Because of these misdeeds, the New York State Public Service Commission warned Charter that it could face franchise revocation in the state and additional penalties.

As a result of today's vote, "Charter is ordered to file within 60 days a plan with the Commission to ensure an orderly transition to a successor provider (s)", the PSC's announcement said.

"Charter's repeated failures to serve New Yorkers and honor its commitments are well documented and are only getting worse", Commission Chair John Rhodes said in a statement. In order for the deal to be approved, Charter had to make several promises to New York State, but two years later, state officials are underwhelmed with the progress that the merged company has made on all fronts.

Charter has engaged in "purposeful obfuscation" of its performance and compliance obligations, the commission said. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) has not shied away from criticizing Charter for its delays; in May, he foreshadowed regulators' decision by saying the public service commission had initiated "legal action" against the company.

"Charter opted to include addresses. that were neither unserved or underserved, including addresses in densely populated areas", he said.

Charter says it has extended broadband service to 86,000 homes and businesses.

In a statement, Charter spokesman Andrew Russell suggested the commission's actions were being politically motivated but did reveal what the company's next step would be.

Today in a move many didn't think would happen NY ordered Chater to leave the state.

James Alesi, a former state senator from the Rochester area who sits on the commission, characterized the orders as hard but necessary steps.

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