Last week state regulators revoked their approval of Charter Communication’s merger with Time Warner Cable, ordering the cable company known locally as Spectrum to leave the state and find another company to provide service for its two million customers throughout New York.
Now, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi of Utica is taking that one step further by demanding that the company give rebates to their current cable and internet customers.
Brindisi says he has received thousands of complaints from his constituents about high cable rates and some people not being able to receive internet services at all. Brindisi is now saying those customers deserve to get their money back.
Brindisi says he has a list of demands he is asking the Public Service Commission and the state Attorney General’s Office to include along with their order for Charter Communications to leave the state.
Brindisi pointed out during a news conference on Wednesday that the company has just 56 days left to provide a transition plan for cable and internet services for the state. Last week, the Public Service Commission said that Charter Communications is not meeting public benefit conditions that were agreed upon in 2016. Specifically, the company’s commitment to expand its broadband network to underserved areas.
Brindisi says Charter should provide reasonable compensation in rebate checks for its customers who have received cable rate increases above the national average, and he says customers who never received service upgrades should also receive compensation.
Brindisi’s final demand is that any company that takes over for Spectrum should negotiate in good faith with workers so that their pensions and healthcare benefits are not cut.
He says thousands of people have a problem with Spectrum’s service – or lack of service – locally.
“This box represents hundreds, I would probably say thousands, of petitions and responses that we got back from people within this region about the high prices they have been charged by Spectrum, about the poor customer service that they have received, or the lack of access to broadband and high-speed internet that they were promised when this company took over here in New York State,” Brindisi said.
Brindisi says this will not impact services for customers, and he says several other cable companies have already reached out to the state to pick up the service.