NY moves to kick out state's largest cable provider

Nichole VegaJul 28, 2018

The New York State Public Service Commission said on Friday it revoked its approval of the 2016 merger agreement between Charter Communications Inc (CHTR.O) and Time Warner Cable, saying Charter failed to build out its network for enough homes and that the company must end its operations in the state.

The Public Service Commission gave Charter 60 days submit a plan to hand over its NY operations to a new cable, internet and phone provider, rescinding the state's previous approval of the major cable merger.

"Its failure to meet its June 18, 2018 target by more than 40 percent is only the most recent example." the Commission adds.

Charter serves 41 states and is New York's largest cable provider.

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

The commission's approval of the merger in January 2016 was contingent on Charter bringing broadband service to 36,250 new addresses per year for four years. The commission on Friday ordered the company to come up with a plan to transition its 2 million customers in the state to new service providers.

Representatives for Charter on Friday in an email said that the commission's action was "politically charged", an apparent reference to an ongoing dispute between Charter and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration over the company's required expansion of high-speed internet access.

John Sipos, the Public Service Commission's deputy general counsel, said the commission "explicitly conditioned its approval [of the merger] on a host of conditions created to yield incremental net benefits to NY".

"Charter continues to show an inability or a total unwillingness to extend its network in the manner intended by the Commission to pass the requisite number of unserved or underserved homes and/or businesses", John B. Rhodes, chair of the commission, said in a 28-page decision.

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.

A spokesman for the NYPSC didn't respond to requests for comment.

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