Published: Mon, July 30, 2018
Markets | By Jeffery Armstrong

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 Public Service Commission's decision is the latest and most aggressive offensive in a prolonged battle between Charter, which operates under the brand name Spectrum and employs more than 11,000 New Yorkers, and Cuomo, who has accused the company of reneging on its promises to expand broadband service to rural areas of the state. Unless overturned, this action will mean that Charter will no longer be permitted to operate in the state of NY. The company said its workers "remain focused on delivering faster and better broadband to more New Yorkers, as we promised". As such, the commission concludes that it can no longer allow the company to operate in NY in good faith.

Charter said in a statement that its Spectrum internet brand "has extended the reach of our advanced broadband network to more than 86,000 NY homes and businesses since our merger agreement" with the Public Service Commission, and is working to deliver broadband to more New Yorkers.

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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PSC Commission Chair John Rhodes says after more than a year of noncompliance on Charter's part, his organization is now moving forward with stronger actions taken against the corporation for their willful ignoring of the merger's approval terms.

. Specifically, Spectrum failed the commission's order that it build new service lines to pass 145,000 residences and businesses in poorly served communities within the former Time Warner Cable franchise area.

Shares of Charter (chtr) initially fell more than 2% on the news, but quickly recovered.

Under the order, Charter has 60 days to come up with a "transition" plan complying with the commission's decision.

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Back in 2016, Charter, doing business as Spectrum, entered into a controversial merger with Time Warner Cable. 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. According to the commission, Spectrum has blown past every network expansion target since the merger, while falsely claiming to customers that it is exceeding these commitments.

Charter's justification for this has been it doesn't want to allow competitors to take away potential customers, even though the Public Service Commission has allowed Charter to be the only company that provides service in designated area. "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". 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.

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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