Big quote: "These recurring failures led the Commission to the broader conclusion that the company was not interested in being a good corporate citizen and that the Commission could no longer in good faith and conscience allow it to operate in New York. Today’s actions are meant to address Charter’s failings and to ensure New York has a partner interested in the public good, not just lining its pockets"
The New York State Public Service Commission has effectively kicked internet provider Spectrum out of the state. The decision was issued Friday in a scathing press release from John Rhodes, chair of the Commission.
Back in 2016, Charter, doing business as Spectrum, entered into a controversial merger with Time Warner Cable. New York accepted the deal at the time on the contingency that the company meet several performance goals in the future. This included expanding coverage to rural and underserved areas as well as increasing their statewide delivered internet speeds to 100Mbps by the end of 2018.
Since then, New York says Spectrum has fallen short in nearly every aspect of the deal, failing to meet the incremental deadlines and obligations for several rural communities, they have engaged in unsafe field practices, and they have attempted to obfuscate their shortcomings by blaming other companies.
In addition to revoking their approval of the 2016 merger, New York has issued $3 million in fines and referred the case to the State Supreme Court. 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. This isn't the first time that New York has fought back against Charter/Spectrum over its dismal track record. Back in February of 2017, the state's former Attorney General sued them over fraudulent internet speed claims.
Commission Chair John Rhodes said in a statement that "Charter's repeated failures to serve New Yorkers and honor its commitments are well documented and are only getting worse. After more than a year of administrative enforcement efforts to bring Charter into compliance with the Commission’s merger order, the time has come for stronger actions to protect New Yorkers and the public interest."
In the short term, Spectrum must continue to operate uninterrupted for the next 60 days while the state finds an acceptable replacement service provider. New York has also requested that Spectrum design a transition plan. In a statement, the company said they have "extended the reach of [their] advanced broadband network to more than 86,000 New York homes and businesses." Their contract stated they would actually expand access to 145,000 homes and businesses.