NY regulators revoke Charter merger, tell them to leave

New York regulators and the cable giant have been locked in a battle over the rollout of broadband internet in rural parts of the state

New York State not only has revoked its approval of the 2016 merger of Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable, it has barred Charter, doing business as Spectrum, from operating in the state. "Today's actions are meant to address Charter's failings and to ensure NY has a partner interested in the public good, not just lining its pockets".

Experts have reported that Charter Communications is going to be putting an appeal to the order made by the state of NY, though it likely will not be flipped over; it looks like Charter Communications is going out and never coming back in.

NY has given Charter Communications 60 days to stop operating within the state's borders.

Charter now has 60 days to file a transition plan for an orderly transition to one or more successors.

In addition to revoking their approval of the 2016 merger, NY has issued $3 million in fines and referred the case to the State Supreme Court. "(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.

But when it provided its next update in December, commission officials said Charter did not deserve credit for more than 18,000 households it said it had connected, in part because many of them appeared to be located in New York City and not a hard-to-reach, less densely populated area.

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On Jan. 8, 2016, the PSC approved Charter's acquisition of Time Warner.

Shares of Charter (chtr) initially fell more than 2% on the news, but quickly recovered. "But the fact is that Spectrum has extended the reach of our advanced broadband network to more than 86,000 NY homes and businesses since our merger agreement with the PSC". The Commission also said that charter tried to pass the blame for the failuresto other companies, including utility pole owners.

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. The Commission has also referred a false advertising claim to the Attorney General after Spectrum missed every network expansion target but continued to advertise as if they were delivering fast speeds.

But the PSC has said it will seek injunctive relief from the Supreme Court if Charter does not comply with all of the state's requests, including paying a $3 million penalty for repeatedly avoiding fulfilling the original terms of the merger's approval. 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. 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.

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".

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