Bait & Switch

Remember when I noted Charter Communications, the people who make ComCast look good, were threatened with the loss of their permits to operate in the state of New York over their refusal to invest in infrastructure and expand broadband access.
Their behavior is not a surprise: The business model is leveraging monopoly power, not providing good, or reasonably priced, services.

Unfortunately, the regulator blinked, so once again, Charter has agreed to sin no more, and we’ll discover that they lied in a few years, and what they offer will be limited and overpriced:

Charter Communications won’t be kicked out of New York after all.

Nine months after a New York government agency ordered Charter to leave the state over its alleged failure to comply with merger conditions, state officials have announced a settlement that will let Charter stay in New York in exchange for further broadband expansions. The settlement will enforce a new version of the original merger conditions and require a $12 million payment, about half of which could help other ISPs deploy broadband.

So, $6 million, could, but won’t go to competitors, which is about enough to cover a single housing development.

The State Public Service Commission (PSC) had voted in July 2018 to revoke its approval of Charter’s 2016 purchase of Time Warner Cable (TWC), saying Charter failed to meet interim deadlines for broadband-expansion requirements. The order, which came just a month after a $2 million fine, would have required Charter to sell the TWC system to another provider. But the PSC never enforced the merger revocation order as it repeatedly granted deadline extensions to Charter while the sides held settlement talks.

The result is a proposed settlement between Charter and the state Department of Public Service (DPS) that was announced Friday.

“Pursuant to the agreement, Charter would expand its network to provide high-speed 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,” a DPS statement said.


The settlement needs approval from the PSC, which is taking public comments on the settlement for 60 days before making a final decision. The proposed settlement “does not constitute a finding or admission of any violation by Charter nor does it constitute a penalty or forfeiture under the New York State Public Service Law,” Charter and the DPS said in a joint letter to the PSC. The settlement “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,” the letter said.

No admission of wrong doing, and as near as I can tell, more toothless declarations from the regulator if Charter ignores its obligations, and. trust me, it will ignore its obligations.

F%$# Charter, F%$# the DPS, and F%$# the PSC if they approve this bogus deal.

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