The basis for the revocation, the regulator said, is Spectrum's repeated failure to provide the public benefits it promised in exchange for state approval of its purchase of Time Warner Cable two years ago.
Telecom regulators have ordered Charter Communications to unwind its 2016 merger with Time Warner Cable in NY, revoking the combined company's permission to operate in the state in a decision published Friday.
The commission's release claims that Charter failed to meet deadlines, attempted to skirt obligations to serve rural communities, employed unsafe practices in the field, failed to commit to the obligations of the initial agreement, and obfuscated its performance to both the commission and Spectrum customers throughout. This isn't the first time that NY has fought back against Charter/Spectrum over its dismal track record.
Commission Chair John B. Rhodes said,"Charter's noncompliance andbrazenly disrespectful behavior toward New York State and its customers necessitates the actions taken todayseeking court-ordered penalties for its failures, and revoking the Charter merger approval".
The commission also directed its lawyers to bring an enforcement action in State Supreme Court to seek additional penalties for Charter's past failures and ongoing non-compliance.
Charter says it has extended broadband service to 86,000 homes and businesses.
Spectrum has 30 days to contest an order to leave NY, which was issued Friday by the state's public service commission.
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.
Charter, which does business as Spectrum cable in NY, has been locked in a battle with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration over the rollout of high-speed internet access in rural areas of the state. It determined that Charter failed to deliver the benefits to New Yorkers that were "at the core of the merger approval".
The commission had previously ordered Charter to pay a $2 million fine for its slow broadband rollout.
As a result, the commission's general counsel referred a false-advertising claim to the Attorney General's Office. It provides digital cable television, broadband internet and VoIP telephone service to more than 2 million subscribers in NY in more than 1,150 communities, with a potential customer base of 5 million households in its franchise areas. During the transition process, Charter must continue to comply with all local franchises it holds in the state and all obligations under the Public Service Law and the Commission regulations, and must ensure no interruption in service is experienced by customers.
"In the weeks leading up to an election, rhetoric often becomes politically charged", the company said in a statement.
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.