NY regulators revoke Charter merger, tell them to leave

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Charter had agreed to bring its broadband network to 145,000 unserved or underserved homes in NY as a condition of its acquisition of Time Warner Cable.

The state's public service commission said Friday that cable company Charter Communications (CHTR), which operates Spectrum, reneged on commitments it made when the state approved its merger with Time Warner Cable in 2016.

Spectrum provides Cable TV, Internet and Voice Over Internet telephone service to much of Orange County and portions of Ulster and Dutchess counties.

The state is also seeking up to $3 million in penalties.

Charter spokesman Andrew Russell said later by email that the company would not comment on the substance of the commission's revocation action.

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A Time Warner Cable sign and logo are seen on a Time Warner Cable store in the Manhattan borough of New York City, May 26, 2015.

The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) voted to revoke its approval of the merger on Friday, calling the company's behavior since the deal closed "brazenly disrespectful".

It's rare to see a state try to undo a merger this way and prohibit a company from operating (in its current form) in the state, but NY is clearly unhappy with Charter's actions in the wake of this merger, and displeased enough that they're moving beyond fines to merger revocation.

Charter also must pay the commission another $1 million in fines, on top of $2 million already paid.

The commission gave the company two months to find a new cable provider to replace its operations.

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PSC Chairman John Rhodes said Charter is not serving New Yorkers.

Charter has 30 days to appeal the commission's decision to revoke its agreement to the merger. What is just as bad is that thousands of New Yorkers who are waiting for the broadband access Spectrum keeps advertising it is providing are still stuck with 20th Century technology.

Stamford, Connecticut-based Charter said in a prepared statement that "In the weeks leading up to an election, rhetoric often becomes politically charged".

Under the terms of its $60 billion merger with Time Warner Cable, Charter agreed to expand its broadband services over four years to reach a total 145,000 unserved and underserved homes in less-populated areas of the state. In response to the decision by the commission, Charter noted that it had extended its reach to "more than 86,000 NY homes and businesses", which is objectively less than 145,000.

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