Charter Communications and the New York Department of Public Service have struck a proposed agreement that will resolve a dispute related to network expansion commitments and, importantly, keep the cable operator in the state.
Per a statement from Department of Public Service CEO John B. Rhodes, Charter will expand its network to provide high-speed broadband to 145,000 residences and businesses in upstate New York, complete that work by Sept. 30, 2021 (with "frequent interim enforceable milestone requirements"), and pay an additional $12 million to expand broadband service to other unserved and underserved parts of the state.
Rhodes noted that the proposal will now enter a 60-day public comment period and remains subject to review and final action by the state's Public Service Commission.
Total commitments tied into the agreement will cost Charter more than $600 million, according to the Albany, N.Y., Times Union.
Why this matters
The proposal would formally fix a snag in the original Charter-TWC deal.
If approved, the deal will resolve the state's complaint that Charter dragged its feet to extend services to less populated parts of the state, causing New York to revoke its approval of the Charter-TWC merger and call on Charter to file a plan to sell its cable systems there. Charter previously called the complaint a politically motivated move.
The agreement, which does not constitute a finding or admission of any violation by Charter, also avoids a potential court showdown.
"It allows the parties to move forward with the critical work of expanding access to broadband, by resolving their disagreements without the need for costly litigation," Charter said in a statement. "As a result, Charter will invest even more money in New York State than originally planned, bringing the educational, economic and social benefits of high-speed broadband to areas where access is often limited."
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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading