New York’s public service commission is trying to remove Spectrum, the state’s largest TV and Internet service provider, because it allegedly reneged on commitments and has failed to properly serve customers.
The state commission has given Charter Communications, the owners of Spectrum, 60 days to come up with an exit plan while the state seeks a new service provider. The state also fined the company $3 million and said it must provide uninterrupted service during the transition period.
Charter has 30 days to contest the order, which the company said it will do. It claimed the commission’s charges were “politically motivated” and tied to the upcoming election season.
The problems that led to today’s move allegedly began in 2016, when the state approved Charter’s merger with Time Warner Cable. Charter is a communications hub for two million state residents, delivering digital cable TV, Internet services and phone service to customers.
In its complaints, the commission said Charter missed deadlines for improving Internet speeds and has not delivered on promises it would get high-speed Internet service to rural communities, which the commission views as its most serious failing. Charter countered by claiming broadband service has been provided to 86,000 homes and businesses.
The commission said it will seek fines of $100,000 per day until the company meets its promise to extend service to households with slow or no Internet connection.
Charter is also accused of “below standard installation and construction work,” including leaving detached wires behind.
The reversal of the Charter/Time Warner Cable merger, which experts in media regulation described as extremely unusual, follows a period when Charter repeatedly disregarded the core elements that earned the thumbs-up from the state.