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New York regulators revoke Charter merger, tell them to leave

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    This 2009 file photo shows a Time Warner Cable truck in New York.

ALBANY, N.Y. >> New York regulators revoked their approval of Charter Communications Inc.’s merger with Time Warner Cable Inc. today and ordered the company to find another cable provider for its more than 2 million customers in the state.

The action by the Public Service Commission follows months of disagreements over the company’s progress in meeting goals set by regulators in 2016 as a condition of their merger approval— especially an expansion of broadband to rural areas.

The commission ordered Charter, doing business as Spectrum, to file a plan within 60 days to ensure an “orderly transition to a successor” provider or providers for New York state customers. Charter also must ensure that cable and internet customers’ service is not interrupted during the transition.

Charter serves 41 states and is New York’s largest cable provider. It provides service in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens and parts of Brooklyn. The cable company completed its $67 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in May 2016.

“Charter’s repeated failures to serve New Yorkers and honor its commitments are well documented and are only getting worse … (T)he time has come for stronger actions to protect New Yorkers and the public interest,” commission chairman John B. Rhodes said in a prepared statement.

Stamford, Connecticut-based Charter said in a prepared statement that “In the weeks leading up to an election, rhetoric often becomes politically charged.” The company said it has extended its advanced broadband network to more than 86,000 New York homes and businesses since the merger agreement and is focused on continuing that work.

The company would not immediately say whether it planned to challenge the commission’s decision.

To obtain approval in New York, Charter agreed to extend its high-speed broadband network to 145,000 unserved or under-served homes and businesses over four years. The company agreed to deliver broadband speed upgrades to 100 Mbps statewide by the end of 2018, and 300 Mbps by the end of 2019.

The commission ordered Charter to pay $1 million for missing its June 2018 target for expansion and will seek additional penalties in court.

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