Charter Communications Banned from Doing Business In New York State

Charter Communications Banned from Doing Business In New York State

Charter Communications Banned from Doing Business In New York State

Following through on recent threats, a state regulator has announced that they're revoking approval of the 2016 merger agreement between Charter Communications (aka Spectrum) and Time Warner Cable, due to a failure to meet merger-related obligations and a pattern of "purposeful obfuscation" on the part of the telecommunications giant.

"These recurring failures led the Commission to the broader conclusion that the company was not interested in being a good corporate citizen and that the Commission could no longer in good faith and conscience allow it to operate in NY", the commission said in a press release. The company said its workers "remain focused on delivering faster and better broadband to more New Yorkers, as we promised". During the transition process, Charter must continue to comply with all local franchises it holds in NY and all obligations under the Public Service Law and PSC regulations. The New York public service commission has now granted Spectrum 60 days to devise and revise a plan to back all of its operations, assets, and human capital out of the state.

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.

The decision came after more than a year of administrative enforcement efforts to get Charter to comply with the commission's merger order, the release said. Under that agreement, the state allowed Charter to acquire Time Warner, making it the second-largest cable operator in the country, if the company agreed to upgrade or expand its broadband services in sparsely populated areas.

PSC Chairman John Rhodes said Charter is "simply not serving New Yorkers".

Charter, which does business as Spectrum cable in NY, has been locked in a battle with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration over the rollout of high-speed internet access in rural areas of the state.

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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.

The reversal, handed down Friday by the New York State Public Service Commission, means that Spectrum could soon be forced to spin off its Time Warner Cable division in New York, potentially affecting more than 2.5 million subscribers across the state. In a statement, the company said they have "extended the reach of [their] advanced broadband network to more than 86,000 NY homes and businesses".

NY authorities have moved to oust Spectrum, the state's largest TV and internet service provider, claiming the company failed to serve customers and live up to promises. Charter also must ensure that cable and internet customers' service is not interrupted during the transition.

The state has two months to pick a successor company to take over Charter's service, according to The New York Post.

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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