“The situation with Charter/Spectrum violating the conditions under which it was approved to operate in New York State is very serious. The PSC should not back down to a media giant that has abused the people of the state in violation of its obligation to build out our broadband system. Access to broadband is essential for economic development and social equity. Hotels, businesses, schools and homes all need broadband to be competitive and have equal access to information.
“Our goal in New York has been to have 100 percent broadband coverage by the end of the year. Part of that plan is the commitment by Charter/Spectrum to provide broadband coverage to a specified number of homes. Make no mistake, Charter has not only violated its franchise agreement, it is deceiving the public. Spectrum news coverage has not only conveniently failed to fairly cover the company’s violations, but they also make false claims as to their performance for New Yorkers. Their broadband build out is not on time. Nor is it a voluntary effort to benefit our citizens, as the Company might have people believe. Instead, it was an express condition of their franchise approval, which is very lucrative.
“If Charter had not agreed to the build out, the franchise would not have been approved, and the company would not have profited from the large New York State market. The PSC has been battling for years to force Charter to honor their obligations. That protracted process has gone on too long and the result is a disservice to our citizens. A $2 million fine is a minimal cost of doing business for Charter to continue to operate in this state, while New Yorkers are deprived of the service Charter is bound to provide.
“There cannot be two tiers of justice, one for rich corporations and one for everyone else. Charter has violated its obligations since inception and the PSC has been negotiating with them for almost two years with insufficient progress. Enough is enough. The PSC must act aggressively to enforce the law. New York State set a most worthy goal of 100 percent broadband and it must be met. The role of the PSC is to protect New Yorkers from becoming victimized by large corporate utilities and franchises. They must perform their duty expeditiously.”