Gunther presses Charter CEO on broadband access

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther has sent a letter to the head of cable provider Charter Communications on behalf of residents in rural parts of her district who don’t have broadband service and still rely on clunky, outdated dial-up internet connections.

In a letter to Charter’s CEO and chairman, Thomas Rutledge, the Forestburgh Democrat points out that the state Public Service Commission demanded Charter expand broadband access as a condition of its purchase of Time Warner Cable in January 2016. Gunther asked Rutledge to look into why his company has been so slow to fulfill that commitment with her constituents. Her Assembly district, the 100th, consists of every town except Neversink in Sullivan County, and Middletown, Mount Hope and Wallkill in Orange.

“I request that you please investigate your company’s slow expansion of broadband internet and state what is being done to rectify the breach of agreement with the PSC,” Gunther wrote in her letter on Thursday.

In a press release announcing her letter, Gunther pointed out that the state Public Service Commission reached a $13 million settlement with Charter in September because the company had failed to expand broadband access at the pace it had promised.

The commission has said that as of May of this year, Charter extended broadband to less than half of the 36,250 premises it promised to reach in its first year. Under a revised agreement, the company must finish its build-out of 145,000 new “passings” by 2020. Charter agreed to pay $1 million for computers and internet service for low-income New Yorkers and set aside $12 million as a security to ensure that it meets its new deadlines.

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