Spectrum customers in New York could soon have their service terminated—for good.
The New York State Public Service Commission unanimously voted late last month to remove Spectrum from the New York market after failing to expand its service to rural areas. Officials became disappointed as this was a requirement when approving Spectrum’s merger with Time Warner in 2016.
“After more than a year of administrative enforcement efforts to bring [Spectrum’s parent company] Charter into compliance with the commission’s merger order, the time has come for stronger actions to protect New Yorkers and the public interest,” Commission Chairman John Rhodes said.
Charter must plan its exit from New York in 60 days as required. In addition, the PSC fined the firm about $1 million.
Queens officials have praised the action with over 20 Councilmembers, such as Councilmember Eric Ulrich (R-Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, South Ozone Park, Woodhaven), signing on to a statement calling for Charter to comply with the ruling.
“For too long, Charter has operated in a manner that indicates utter disregard for its customers, its workers, and regulators,” the statement read. “Earlier this year, the company was fined $2 million by the PSC for failing to build out its broadband network on the timeline that it had agreed to in Columbia County. In the PSC’s present order, the scope of Charter’s failure has now expanded beyond just one county.
One official, City Councilmember Robert Holden (D-Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Woodside and Woodhaven), added that the company also faced contractual issues with its unionized workforce.
“Spectrum has for two years acted in bad faith in their negotiations with IBEW Local 3. I am glad to see the New York State Public Service Commission penalize Spectrum,” Holden said.
The Councilmember also noted he would take a “closer look at the Cable TV franchise agreement” in New York City while a member of the Committee on Technology.
“[Spectrum is] not the only franchisee of concern. My constituents have had many issues with Verizon as well, specifically concerning their unabated and dishonest marketing tactics for FiOS and the neglect of their copper wire service,” he said.
Charter is remaining firm that it did nothing wrong and believes the decision was politically motivated because of the upcoming election. There is a belief the company will challenge the decision in court.
“The fact is that Spectrum has extended the reach of our advanced broadband network to more than 86,000 New York homes and businesses since our merger agreement with the PSC. Our 11,000 diverse and locally based workers, who serve millions of customers in the state every day, remain focused on delivering faster and better broadband to more New Yorkers, as we promised,” said spokesman Andrew Russell.