The state of New York will let Charter Communications stay in the state and go forward with its merger plans … at least for now. News of the settlement comes nine months after the state nixed its approval of Charter’s merger with Time Warner Cable citing a failure on the part of Charter to meet its broadband deployment contract obligations.
A statement from the New York Department of Public Service says that the merger will be allowed to go ahead with an agreement that Charter will “expand its network to provide highspeed broadband service to 145,000 residences and businesses entirely in Upstate New York; the network expansion would be completed by September 30, 2021 in accordance with a schedule providing frequent interim enforceable milestone requirements; and Charter will pay $12 million to expand broadband service to additional unserved and underserved premises.”
The $12 million will go into a fund to be administered by the state for broadband expansion. Charter will likely use a significant portion of the funds to add to its coverage area, but some of the funding could end up going to its competitors as well.
The Department of Public Service originally gave Charter a $2 million fine and told it to find another buyer for Time Warner Cable, after the state said Charter had repeatedly failed to meet broadband deployment milestones. Charter claims that it had issues getting approval to use utility poles, but that argument didn’t pass muster in court and the state revoked its approval of the merger with TWC. According to Ars Technica, the state had extended the deadline it gave Charter to find a buyer for TWC while both sides were in negotiations.
This isn’t the first time New York has gone to battle with broadband providers. As CivSource previously reported, New York City fought with Verizon over inaccurate coverage reporting and a failure to meet requirements outlined in its contract.