Charter Communications, Spectrum’s parent company, has reached a settlement with New York State that will allow it to continue operating in that state, despite getting kicked out last summer.
Last July, New York State not only revoked its approval of the 2016 merger of Charter and Time Warner Cable, it barred Charter, doing business as Spectrum, from operating in the state. Charter and the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) had since been negotiating the matter.
Charter is the largest cable provider in the Empire State. It provides digital cable television, broadband internet and VoIP telephone service to more than 2 million subscribers.
The New York Department of Public Service has jointly filed a proposed agreement with Charter to resolve disputes over the network expansion conditions imposed by the PSC.
“This proposed agreement will now be issued for a 60-day public comment period and remains subject to review and final action by the Public Service Commission,” said John B. Rhodes, public service department CEO. “Pursuant to the agreement, Charter would expand its network to provide high-speed broadband service to 145,000 residences and businesses entirely in Upstate New York.”
The network expansion would be completed by Sept. 30, 2021, in accordance with a schedule providing frequent interim enforceable milestone requirements. Also, Charter will pay $12 million to expand broadband service to additional unserved and underserved premises.
Half of that $12 million could end up going back to Charter, but Charter would have to use it to deploy broadband to locations in addition to the 145,000 already required. The remainder would fund broadband deployment projects in a competitive bidding process.
If approved by the PSC, the proposed agreement will allow the parties to move forward with expanding broadband access, Rhodes said.
Charter issued the following statement about the settlement:
“Charter and the department believe that this action is an important step forward in making high-speed broadband available to all New Yorkers. It allows the parties to move forward with the critical work of expanding access to broadband, by resolving their disagreements without the need for costly litigation. As a result, Charter will invest even more money in New York State than originally planned, bringing the educational, economic and social benefits of high-speed broadband to areas where access is often limited.”
In December, Charter agreed to pay a record $174.2 million consumer fraud settlement for defrauding internet customers in New York State. The agreement settled a consumer fraud action alleging the ISP, which operated initially as Time Warner Cable and later under Charter’s Spectrum brand name, denied customers the “reliable and fast internet service it had promised,” according to New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood.