Charter Preps For Battle To Remain In New York

Charter CEO Tom Rutledge says the company plans to fight to remain in New York, despite regulators' recent order directing the provider to leave the state.

"We intend to defend our rights to the fullest extent of the law and will pursue all avenues for overturning and preventing implementation of the New York Public Service Commission order," he said in a memo sent to employees in New York, and obtained by Stop the Cap.

Late last week, New York regulators said they were revoking their approval of Charter's 2016 merger with Time Warner Cable due to Charter's alleged failure to meet the merger conditions, including a requirement to extend broadband service to rural parts of the state. Regulators told Charter to submit a plan within 60 days for an orderly transition to a different provider.

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To gain approval for the $55 billion merger, Charter promised to offer broadband service at speeds of 100 Mbps throughout the state by the end of this year, and 300 Mbps by the end of 2019. Charter also promised to extend service to 145,000 new homes and businesses in areas of the state considered "un-served or under-served."

Rutledge told employees that Charter has extended its network to more than an additional 86,000 New York homes and businesses in the last two years, and has boosted starting broadband speeds to 100 Mbps across the state.

He added that Charter plans to fight regulators in court. "There may be years of litigation before we prove that we have done what we said we would," he wrote.

Rutledge also told analysts on Tuesday that the company has met its merger conditions. "We believe we're in compliance with the plain reading and the buildout requirements that the state imposed on us," he said during an earnings call. "We have a very strong legal case and ability to defend ourselves. And it could play out over a lengthy period of time if required."

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