Regulators approve Charter's buy of Time Warner Cable in NY

AP News
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Posted: Jan 08, 2016 5:24 PM

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Regulators on Friday approved Charter Communications' purchase of Time Warner Cable's New York subsidiaries while requiring new service commitments from it.

Charter Communications said the commitments include providing a minimum Internet data transfer speed of 60 megabits per second and offering speeds of 300 Mbps statewide in 2019.

New York's Public Service Commission said the upgrade should benefit 2 million customers upstate since Time Warner's highest speed north of New York City is 50 Mbps, while its standard service is 15 Mbps.

"With the conversion to an all-digital network, New Charter will introduce its 60 Mbps broadband service, enabling many Time Warner subscribers to obtain faster speeds at lower prices," the commission said in the order approved Friday.

Time Warner has about 3.3 million Internet, video and phone service customers in New York who would become Charter customers.

Stamford, Connecticut-based Charter said it will build out service networks to reach other homes and businesses in the territory. The expansion is expected to deliver high-speed service over four years to 145,000 customers not now served by New York-based Time Warner.

"We look forward to bringing many benefits including a superior high-speed, low-cost broadband service to families and seniors in New York," Chief Executive Tom Rutledge said.

The commission unanimously approved transfer of control of subsidiaries and franchises, reorganization and financing arrangements. Charter is precluded from cutting customer-service jobs in New York for four years and must invest $50 million in service quality improvements over two years and cut by 35 percent Time Warner's 2014 cable complaint rate by the end of 2020.

If the company makes greater commitments for network expansion, faster Internet speed or affordability in other states, Charter is required to do the same in New York, the order says.

Charter's nearly $57 billion acquisition of Time Warner nationally is still subject to federal approvals. Regulators in New Jersey and California have yet to approve it.

Charter's expansion includes acquiring Bright House Networks. Altogether it would grow from 6 million subscribers in 28 states to about 24 million in 41 states.

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This story has been corrected to show the name of the company is Charter Communications, not Charter Communication, and that the committed minimum speed is 60 megabits per second, not 300.