On Friday, the New York State Public Service Commission took the incredible step of rescinding its approval for a mega-media merger it had approved more than two years ago. Unless overturned, this action will mean that Charter will no longer be permitted to operate in the state of NY. "Our 11,000 diverse and locally based workers, who serve millions of customers in the state every day, remain focused on delivering faster and better broadband to more New Yorkers, as we promised".
In addition tonot meeting deadlines, the PSC also said Charter falsely claimed it was meeting and exceeding its commitmentsin advertisements, leading the Commission to file a false advertising claim with the state attorney general's office.
In a statement Friday, Charter - which offers service in NY state as Spectrum - implied that the commission's order may have been politically motivated.
"Charter's non-compliance and brazenly disrespectful behavior toward NY state and its customers necessitates the actions taken (Friday) seeking court-ordered penalties for its failures, and revoking the Charter merger approval".
The commission said the United States broadband provider failed to live up to its agreement as part of the merger to build internet access to an additional 145,000 households and businesses in rural areas of NY under-served by internet providers.
"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. "To ensure that Charter's customers are not negatively affected during that process, the commission further ordered the company to maintain service to the company's more than 2 million customers in NY until an orderly transition occurs". Charter has 30 days to appeal the ruling, according to The New York Post.
Since the merger, PSC said, "Charter has repeatedly failed to meet its commitments to the state, including its obligation to timely extend its high-speed broadband network to 145,000 unserved and underserved homes and businesses in less densely populated areas of the state". The Commission also said that charter tried to pass the blame for the failuresto other companies, including utility pole owners.
The commission had previously ordered Charter to pay a $2 million fine for its slow broadband rollout.
The State considers roughly a quarter of those do not meet the standards set in the PSC's 2016 merger approval conditions. The company must also work with whatever service provider the state of NY selects to replace Spectrum of Charter Communications, which is even further punishment for the various wrongdoings Spectrum committed over the past few years. 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. "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", the release said.
Find the entire decision, go to www.dps.ny.gov, choose "Commission Documents" and enter Case Number 15-M-0388 in the box labeled "Search for Case/Matter Number".