Charter nears deal with state regulators

A Charter Spectrum van parked on the streets of Manhattan.
A Charter Spectrum van parked on the streets of Manhattan.
Roman Tiraspolsky/Shutterstock
A Spectrum Cable truck in New York City.

Charter nears deal with state regulators

The company is trying to avoid a forced exit from New York.
February 8, 2019

The saga between Charter Communications and New York state’s Public Service Commission is now in its eighth month, but there may be light at the end of the tunnel for both parties. Earlier this week, The Buffalo News reported 0.5% that the PSC and Charter – which owns Spectrum Cable – are nearing a deal to avoid the company’s exit from New York. Last July, the PSC ordered Charter to end its operations in New York 0.1% due to what regulators called a failure to adequately follow through on the company’s promise to build out broadband access in rural regions of New York. That promise was part of the terms on which New York approved Charter’s merger with Time Warner Cable in 2016 and, while Charter has insisted that it is fulfilling their end of the bargain, the PSC disagreed and revoked its approval of the merger.

The PSC has repeatedly pushed back the deadline for Charter to come up with a plan to exit the state after originally giving the company 60 days to find a replacement provider without any disruptions to service. Many characterized the PSC’s decision to revoke its approval as “unusual” 0.2% – and in watching the negotiations drag on, it’s not hard to see why. Charter is one of the nation’s largest cable companies and there isn’t a wealth of other providers that could easily take its place – or that could invest in a widespread expansion of broadband.

This is why the news that the two parties may soon reach a deal that could allow Charter to continue operations in New York is not all that surprising. Charter would get to stay and New York could squeeze out a penalty or mandate to expand broadband to more homes – it’s a win-win.

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Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.