NY moves to break up Charter’s merger with Time Warner Cable

NY moves to break up Charter’s merger with Time Warner Cable

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.

NY announced Friday that Charter Communications, Inc., doing business as Spectrum, is no longer permitted to serve customers in the state.

The state's public service commission said Friday that cable company Charter Communications (CHTR), which operates Spectrum, reneged on commitments it made when the state approved its merger with Time Warner Cable in 2016. Charter has 60 days to file an "orderly transition" plan to a new cable operator, and must continue to comply with regulations and serve all local franchises in NY state until that time.

The commission said the company has failed to meet several deadlines in achieving these goals. Nationwide, Charter has 26 million customers, and the company would continue to own former Time Warner Cable systems in states besides NY. The company must provide uninterrupted service while the state transitions to a new service provider, the commission said.

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Charter says it remains focused on expanding broadband and said "rhetoric often becomes politically charged" in election years. Charter has also continued to make the false claim in advertisements and other public statements that it is exceeding its obligations to New York State, notwithstanding that the Commission has previously directed Charter to cease its misleading campaign and has referred the matter to the New York Attorney General for appropriate action.

The commission said the US 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. Charter's claims are simply false and the Commission will not stand idly by while Charter deceives the public and its shareholders. What is just as bad is that thousands of New Yorkers who are waiting for the broadband access Spectrum keeps advertising it is providing are still stuck with 20th Century technology.

Charter also must pay the commission another $1 million in fines, on top of $2 million already paid.

In addition to be kicked out of the state, the Commission is asking for a total of $3 million in penalties for missing previous milestones.

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