PSC rescinds Charter - Time Warner merger approval

Spectrum is no longer allowed to operate in New York, must pay fines and pack its bags

Although it might seem like such a move is an obvious mistake - who wants their state or local government to take away their Internet and cable service providers? - the public service commission of the state of NY has made clear that Spectrum both doesn't hold true to the many promises it makes to its countless customers and neglected to service customers in a timely manner.

"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. "With this enforcement action, it's good to see the New York Public Service Commission taking them seriously".

The PSC has ordered Charter to file a plan with the commission within 60 days to "ensure an orderly transition to a successor provider (s)". 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.

"The inclusion of these addresses violates both the letter and the spirit of the commission's order approving Charter's acquisition of Time Warner Cable", commission officials wrote at the time. Additionally, the PSC alleges that Charter specifically sought to obfuscate its noncompliance with the 2016 merger agreement.

After its reply and further PSC deliberations, the commission determined that Charter Communications acting as Spectrum could not comply with the contingencies imposed in the 2016 conditional approval of the Charter-Time Warner merger, and the approval was rescinded and Charter banned from doing business in the state. A key complaint centers on the company's commitment to expand its broadband network to underserved areas.

According to the PSC, not only has Charter failed to meet the conditions of the approval, the company also has claimed it is not bound by the terms of the approval.

The commission had previously ordered Charter to pay a $2 million fine for its slow broadband rollout. The Commission has also referred a false advertising claim to the Attorney General after Spectrum missed every network expansion target but continued to advertise as if they were delivering fast speeds.

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 is the state's largest cable provider, offering television, internet and phone services in more than 1,150 communities across NY with a potential customer base of 5 million, according to the Public Service Commission.

Although New York wants Spectrum out immediately, they are required to remain in the state until New York state can find another service provider to fully replace Spectrum.

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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