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N.Y.’s War on Spectrum: Cable Company Now Faces Possible Statewide Franchise Revocation

Phillip Dampier July 23, 2018 Charter Spectrum, Consumer News, Public Policy & Gov't, Rural Broadband No Comments

New York’s Public Service Commission is drafting additional fines and sanctions on Charter Communications, as well as possibly stripping the company’s ability to continue providing cable service in New York State.

PSC Chair John Rhodes on Friday accused Charter, which offers service under the Spectrum brand, of “gaslighting its own customers,” with false claims it exceeded its obligations to New York State, while actually shortchanging customers and dragging its feet on promised service expansion.

“Not only has the company failed to meet its obligations to build out its cable system as required, it continues to make patently false and misleading claims to consumers that it has met those obligations without in any way acknowledging the findings of the Public Service Commission to the contrary,” said Chair Rhodes. “Our patience with Charter has come to an end and now we must move to take much stronger actions.”

The PSC is currently developing a number of enforcement actions, including additional penalties/fines, injunctive relief, sanctions, and/or revocation of Spectrum’s ability to continue offering cable service in New York State.

Rhodes’ complaints largely focus on Charter’s ongoing failure to commit to the State’s 2016 Merger Order which approved Charter’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable as long as Charter completed service improvements, rural broadband expansion, and reduced customer complaints. Rhodes is particularly upset that Charter has failed to meet its rural broadband obligations on a timely basis, leaving many of the 145,000 unserved and underserved homes and businesses promised Spectrum internet service waiting through lengthy delays.

That may come as a surprise to many Spectrum subscribers in New York, who have seen saturation advertising for several months from Charter promoting its statewide rural broadband expansion program and the company’s claims it is ahead of schedule.

The PSC previously ordered Charter to cease “its misleading campaign” and has referred the matter to the New York Attorney General’s office for possible civil action. As of this week, the advertisements continue to air.

Charter has denied the allegations made by the state’s regulators and notified the PSC it intends to seek judicial review and/or bring legal action against the state.







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