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PSC Sues Spectrum

With workers on strike for over a year, the Public Service Commission is coming down like a hammer

Kris LaGrange's picture
May 02, 2018

After a year on strike, Local 3 IBEW workers at Spectrum finally got some good news from the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC). The PSC announced that they will be taking legal action against the cable giant for failing to meet certain guidelines established by New York City and state following their merger with Time Warner.

The two main areas that have gotten Spectrum in trouble is their failure to meet an expansion agreement they made with the state and their failure to pay New York City certain fees associated with their franchise agreement. When New York State approved the merger of Charter Communications and Time Warner, the new company agreed to provide broadband internet to 36,771 new homes by December 2017, and 145,000 homes in the next four years. So far, Spectrum has failed to meet their deadline and the PSC is attempting to fine them $1,000,000 for every deadline missed.

Losing their franchise agreement in New York City could be an even bigger problem for the company. Currently, they have an agreement to operate in four of the five boroughs, giving them the vast share of households throughout NYC. As part of that deal, the company agrees to pay 5% of revenue from video services to the city. However, since Spectrum took over, those payments have continued to drop, leading the city and the PSC to investigate where the money is going.

Since Local 3 members went on strike in March of 2017, the union has argued that the City should pull the company’s franchise agreement and that the state needed to investigate numerous complaints against Spectrum. The New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has already filed a lawsuit against the company for defrauding consumers in regards to the speed provided for their internet service.

"Large and powerful companies will be held to the same standard as all other businesses in New York," NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s press secretary Dani Lever said in the statement. "The Spectrum franchise is not a matter of right, but is a license with legal obligations and if those are not fulfilled, that license should be revoked."

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