New York Regulators Threaten to Force Charter to Leave the State

(Bloomberg) -- New York regulators are threatening to force Charter Communications Inc., a key pay-TV provider, to leave the state, claiming the cable giant failed to meet its obligations after buying Time Warner Cable Inc.

The New York State Public Service Commission said Friday it was revoking its approval for the deal and that Charter, now the No. 2 U.S. cable provider behind Comcast Corp., must submit a plan for “orderly transition to a successor provider.” To win regulatory approval for the 2016 deal, Charter agreed to several conditions, including delivering high-speed internet to under-served parts of New York.

While the commission gave Charter 60 days to find another owner for its cable system in New York, the company is likely to fight the ruling and a resolution could take much longer.

“After more than a year of administrative enforcement efforts to bring Charter into compliance with the commission’s merger order, the time has come for stronger actions to protect New Yorkers and the public interest,” said Chairman John B. Rhodes.

Charter said the action amounted to hyper-politicized election-year talk. The company has more than 2 million subscribers in the state, according to the commission, and sells TV, phone and Internet service under the Spectrum brand.

“In the weeks leading up to an election, rhetoric often becomes politically charged,” Charter said in an email.

Charter, based on Stamford, Connecticut, said it had extended the reach of its internet service to more than 86,000 New York homes and businesses since its merger agreement. The company is “focused on delivering faster and better broadband to more New Yorkers, as we promised.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.