Charter Communications has agreed to a settlement with the New York's Department of Public Service that will allow the internet service provider to continue operating within the state. As a part of the agreement, Charter will have to kick back $12 million to New York, which will be used to expand broadband services to underserved areas. Charter will also have to expand its high-speed broadband service to 145,000 residences and businesses in upstate New York by September 30, 2021.
The penalty isn't particularly bad for the multi-billion dollar corporation, which faced a potential eviction from New York after the state's Public Service Commission (PSC) voted last year to revoke its approval of Charter's 2016 purchase of Time Warner Cable. Had that order gone forward, the company would have been forced to sell Time Warner Cable to another provider.
The settlement puts an end to the threat of being booted from New York and won't cost Charter that much in the long run. As much as $6 million of its $12 million payment could end up going back to the ISP as long as it is used to expand its broadband network to new areas. The remaining $6 million will be available to fund other broadband development projects through a bidding process, and Charter will be eligible to bid on those opportunities.
The proposed settlement still requires approval from the PSC, which will take public comments for 60 days before making a final ruling. Assuming it does go forward, it would mostly close the door on what has been an ongoing battle between Charter and the state of New York. Last year, the company agreed to pay $174 million for poor service in the state, including $62.5 million in direct refunds to customers. Charter also got hit with a $2 million fine for failing to complete a promised network expansion in the state that was required as part of merger agreement when the ISP acquired Time Warner Cable.