The New York Public Service Commission yesterday (July 11) settled with Charter Communications Inc., known as Spectrum, resolving disputes over its broadband coverage in rural Upstate NY.
Under the terms of the new agreement, Charter will expand its network to provide high-speed broadband service to 145,000 residences and businesses entirely in Upstate New York, while paying an additional $12 million to expand broadband service to additional premises.
The network expansion condition now being forced from Charter was contained in the Commission’s approval of the company’s merger with Time Warner Cable, Inc. in 2016.
Under the terms of the settlement:
- Charter will complete the expansion of its existing network to pass 145,000 addresses entirely in Upstate New York. This expansion will not include New York City addresses, which the company had previously planned to include in an earlier buildout plan. To date, Charter has passed approximately 65,000 of the required 145,000 addresses. To comply with the settlement, the Department estimates that the company will invest more than $600 million, more than double the public benefit value estimated by the Commission in its 2016 merger approval.
- Charter’s expansion will be completed by September 30, 2021, in accordance with a schedule providing frequent interim enforceable milestone requirements, with corresponding reporting and accountability.
- Charter will also pay $12 million for additional broadband expansion projects at locations to be selected by the Department of Public Service and the New York State Broadband Program Office. Of the $12 million payments, $6 million will be administered by the New York State Broadband Program Office and $6 million will be paid into an escrow fund for work that will be completed by Charter at the State’s direction.
Furthermore, from the PSC:
“Charter’s New York customer base will benefit from the further deployment of Charter’s video, telephone, and broadband network, on a schedule that Charter has agreed is achievable. However, the settlement includes consequences should Charter fail to meet those important milestones. The settlement provides stronger incentives for Charter to meet its future build out commitments in the form of $2,800 payments to escrow for any missed targets on a per address basis.”