ALBANY – State officials have been involved in a rather lengthy battle with Charter Spectrum, the largest cable and internet service provider in New York, over promises the state says Charter “failed” to keep.
In July, the New York State Public Service Commission voted to null the merger between Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications, which gained federal approval from the Federal Communications Commission in 2016, based on promises and regulations the company failed to uphold.
New York State gave Charter “60 days” to submit a service transition plan to the state by September 25 and then pack its bags and head out within six months after that.
Charter later released a statement saying the company will fight this regulation and even “litigate” in court, if necessary.
On September 10, the Public Service Commission granted Charter two extensions; the company now has until November 8 to submit its transition plan and a new deadline of May 8, 2019 to leave New York State.
According to a statement about the extensions, a Charter spokesperson said both parties have been having “productive dialogue” on a compromise to avoid being kicked out of the state.
However, problems between the state and Charter date back to 2015, when State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation into claims that Spectrum’s internet (operating as Time Warner Cable at that time), was considerably slower than what was advertised.
On February 1, 2017, Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against Charter, based on findings that customers were seeing speeds nearly 80% slower than the promised speeds they were paying for, during a period ranging from January 2012 to February 2017.
In a series of leaked internal emails found during the investigation, Time Warner knew they couldn’t deliver the speeds they pushed to customers, based on field engineers’ warnings that the speeds were “impossible” with outdated infrastructure. However, Time Warner executives ignored those warnings, citing that hardware upgrades were “too costly” for the company, even though Time Warner reported an operating income of $5.4 billion in a press release in late 2014.
On October 17, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement regarding the ongoing battle with Charter.
“I have publicly stated my opposition and outrage at Charter’s conduct on numerous occasions”, said Cuomo. “Consumers must be made aware of the abuses by Charter Spectrum, which the network has conspicuously failed to report on any of its broadcasts.”