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Charter Spectrum and New York regulators are grappling with a bitter feud over broadband expansion and the question of whether the company can continue to operate in the state.
Jon Campbell, jcampbell1@gannett.com

ALBANY – The US regulatory authorities and Charter Spectrum finalized an agreement Thursday after years of struggle for the expansion of the high-speed Internet network by the cable company in New York.

The State Public Service Commission voted 3-1 to approve a compromise reached between the warring parties in April, thus ending years of litigation and cruel words between the cable giant and New York.

"With the agreement of 2019 and the order of today, from my point of view, the public interests of New Yorkers occupy a significantly better place today than in the United States. the current state of affairs, "said the agency's lawyer, John Sipos, to members of the commission.

The agreement puts an end to the threats that had been launched a year ago by New York in an attempt to chase the New York Charter if it did not keep its promises to improve its broadband services, especially in rural and disadvantaged areas of the state.

What does it mean for customers

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Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks in Manhattan at a rally against Charter Spectrum on Wednesday, December 5, 2018.
Governor's Office, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Charter has agreed to double its investment in upstate New York, estimated in 2015 at $ 305 million. This should help reach 145,000 residences and businesses in upstate New York, the commission said.

The expansion is expected to be completed by September 30, 2021 and Charter will also need to add an additional $ 12 million to extend broadband service to an additional 45,000 addresses in the north of the state.

The company has about 2.2 million customers in New York, according to the Attorney General's office.

The company based in Stamford, Connecticut, made no immediate comment, but said in April that the deal "is an important step forward in broadband broadband availability for all New Yorker".

What happens next?

New York regulators approved the 2016 merger between Charter Spectrum and Time Warner Cable, but said Charter would extend broadband to 145,000 households in predominantly rural areas of the state.

While the Charter stated that it was meeting its objectives, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Public Service Commission argued the opposite, which resulted in prosecution and the vote to dismiss the Crown corporation.

The fight also took place as the company continued to be involved in a labor struggle with 1,800 striking public service workers in New York.

Cuomo regularly sided with the union and urged a settlement.

On Thursday, members of the commission raised the issue of the union battle.

Decision debated by the Commission

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On Tuesday, December 18, 2018, Charter Spectrum agreed to a record $ 174.2 million settlement with the Attorney General's Office for defrauding Internet subscribers.
Joseph Spector, Albany Office Manager

Tracey Edwards, a member of the board of directors, said the commission should encourage an agreement with striking workers, which could hamper the charter's ability to reach its new goals of expanding its membership. l & # 39; internet.

"Although we can not weigh from one side or the other, it is to our advantage that they come to some kind of resolution," she said. "If not, how are we going to get there and meet them on time?"

However, Diane Burman, a member of the board of directors, challenged all negotiations with the Charter, saying she was still concerned about the deal, the way it was concluded and the influence of union struggle over deliberations.

She was the only person not to vote saying, "I can not, in all conscience, vote for a problematic process".

James Alesi, a board member and former Republican senator from the Rochester area, said that he also did not like the process, but that the final agreement would be beneficial for new Yorkers. He voted yes.

"I do not regret having voted on this issue," Alesi said. "I always put my trust, enough, even if I questioned reasonably, in ministry and direction."

More: What it means for cable customers: Charter Spectrum and New York regulators reach an agreement

More: Charter Spectrum and New York close deal that would let the cable giant stay in state

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