NY PSC Levies a Fine to Charter® for Missing Network Expansion Deadline

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Network Expansion Deadline

The New York Public Service Commission levies a fine of $1 million to Charter® for allegedly failing to expand Spectrum® internet service as per the December deadline. Charter® had to expand the high-speed network of Spectrum® last December to 36771 more businesses and homes yet to have high-speed broadband. Now, the fastest internet provider has a week’s time to respond to PSC’s findings.

“It is critically important that regulated companies strictly adhere to the state’s rules and regulations,” said John Rhodes, the chairman of the Commission. “If a regulated entity like Charter’s cable business decides to violate or ignore the rules, we will take swift action and hold them accountable to the full extent of the law.”

Charter® vows that they will fight the commission’s order. “Charter® is committed to bringing more broadband to more people across New York State,” said Andrew Russell, their Director of Communications for Northeast region. “We exceeded our last buildout commitment by thousands of homes and businesses. We’ve also raised our speeds to deliver faster broadband statewide. We are in full compliance with our merger order and the New York City franchise, and we will fight these baseless and legally suspect actions vigorously.”

As part of the Public Service Commission’s approval of TWC® acquisition by Charter® in 2016, the company was bound to expand high-speed internet network to reach 145,000 businesses and homes within 4 years. Charter® also had to meet set targets for the interim, the failure of which may result in a penalty from the commission.

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Charter® filed a report in January with PSC stating that it had extended the network in a way the interim target set by the commission was exceeded by six thousand locations. However, the commission found a discrepancy during a staff audit, which indicated that Charter® fell short of the target by eight thousand locations.

The audit by commission’s staff also indicated over twelve thousand locations, which Charter® claimed to have expanded the high-speed network comes under New York City. The discrepancy is that the commission has determined that one or more internet providers have served NYC with high-speed internet.

The Public State Commission has also lodged an investigation to confirm if the franchise agreement between Charter® and NYC shall be closed due to breaches from Charter’s part, comprising franchise fees underpayments. After the TWC® acquisition, and under franchise agreements, Charter® is bound to pay a fee of five percent of their annual revenue from cable television business to NYC. “If Charter® is found to have materially breached its franchise agreements with New York City, the commission has the power to terminate the agreements.”

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