Public Service Commission fines Spectrum parent $2M

Jun 15, 2018

The New York State Public Service Commission has laid down the law to Charter Communications - the parent company of Spectrum - in a scathing order, for failing to meet the terms set when Charter acquired Time Warner Cable in 2016.

The state regulatory commission has ordered Charter to pay $2 million in fines after failing to meet its obligations to expand its cable network of high-speed broadband in the time alotted.

The PSC also says it is concerned about Charter’s insistence that the company is not bound by the terms established when the company acquired Time Warner. The PSC has ordered Charter to "unequivocally accept the terms set forth in that approval order or face the risk of having the merger revoked."

“As a condition of our approval of Charter’s merger two years ago, we required Charter to make significant investments in its network,” said PSC Chair John Rhodes. “Our investigation shows that Charter failed to meet its obligations to expand the reach of its network to unserved and underserved customers at the required pace and that it failed to justify why it wasn’t able to meet its obligations. Furthermore, since the company has taken the unfortunate position of refusing to adhere to all conditions set forth in our initial decision two years ago, we now demand the company unconditionally accept all of the conditions as the Commission unambiguously required in 2016, or run the risk of more severe consequences.”

The PSC has been working withCharter to meet its buildout requirements over the lasttwo years. Most recently, commission staff earlier this year audited and disqualified 14,522 addresses at which Charter said received expanded service, including in Buffalo. The commission says that meant Charter had "failed to meet its required target."

"In its May response to the Commission, Charter argued that not all of the Commission’s 2016 merger order applies to the company as part of its rationale for including ineligible addresses," Rhodes continued. "Given the company’s continued intransigence, the Commission today ordered that the company unconditionally accept all of the conditions and requirements spelled out in its 2016 order or face subsequent Commission action."

"Spectrum has expanded its network infrastructure to bring broadband to tens of thousands of residences and businesses in New York State," Charter Northeast Director of Communications Andrew Russell maintains. "We exceeded our last commitment and we continue to meet our merger obligations."

The company maintains the dispute over new and existing addresses with broadband is "all political games."