ALBANY (TNS) — Spectrum says it has so far been satisfying the broadband expansion and other goals it is required to meet as part of the state’s approval of its parent company’s 2016 acquisition of Time Warner Cable.
In an annual report to the state’s Public Service Commission, Spectrum says as of Jan. 31, it had completed 100,421 so-called network passings by homes or businesses in the state that previously did not have access to high-speed internet service.
That’s ahead of a goal of 87,934 passings required by Jan. 31 under the PSC agreement, which requires Spectrum to complete 145,000 network passings by the fall of 2021.
Spectrum is the name under which Charter Communications operates in the state. The deal with the PSC is technically with Charter. Several years ago, the PSC accused Spectrum of falling short of the requirements and threatened to revoke the company’s license. The two sides came to a new agreement last year.
”Since the merger was finalized in 2016, Charter has met or exceeded the requirements of numerous conditions ahead of schedule,” Spectrum spokeswoman Lara Pritchard told the Times Union. “Our build remains ahead of schedule, with 70 percent of new locations complete, with the rest on pace to be completed by the fall of 2021.”
PSC spokesman James Denn says that last year’s settlement pushed the new deadline to complete the 145,000 passings to September of 2021.
”The numbers submitted are carefully scrutinized and verified by department staff, and we have verified they have completed more than was required in January’s last milestone,” Denn said. “The company’s next interim milestone is May 31 (of this year) by which time it must have completed network build to pass 99,347 addresses. Department staff will continue to ensure that Spectrum meets its obligations under this agreement.”
The annual report to the PSC, some of which is withheld from public view due to corporate privacy concerns, also says that Spectrum has improved its customer service quality since acquiring Time Warner Cable.
The PSC required that Spectrum reduce the rate of service complaints by 35 percent by 2020, and Spectrum says as of 2019, the complaint rate had dropped 44 percent.
”Customers are also seeing better quality service, with 2019 complaint rates down dramatically,” Pritchard added.
Another PSC requirement was that Spectrum and Charter not reduce employment numbers in the state of “customer-facing” jobs for four years after the merger.
As of the date of the merger on Jan. 8, 2016, the combined companies had 5,518 “customer-facing” jobs in the state. Spectrum kept hidden from public view what its current numbers are, although the PSC was given the information to be kept secret, which is common practice at the PSC.
”As shown in Confidential Exhibit 1, the company satisfied this obligation,” the company said in the annual report, referring to an unredacted version.