updated 06:33 pm EDT, Mon May 19, 2014
Public Service Commission to conduct investigation over customer benefit
The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) will take a deep look into the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, according to a statement released from Governor Andrew Cuomo's office. The commission will examine the proposed deal to see if the two companies coming together would be beneficial to Time Warner customers in the state.
"A thorough and detailed investigation" of the merger will take place, thanks to recent changes in New York's cable franchise laws. Under the new law, the PSC will no longer give its stamp of approval unless the companies involved can show that the venture will be in the interest of the public. According to PSC Char Audrey Zibelman, the commission will want to ensure that the services offered after the merger would be better than the ones that are currently offered.
"The state is taking a hands-on review of this merger to ensure that New Yorkers benefit," says Governor Cuomo. "The Public Service Commission's actions will help protect consumers by demanding company commitments to strong service quality, affordability and availability."
Time Warner currently provides service to some 2.6 million customers in the New York area, often in areas without much competition. Cuomo has requested that during the course of the review, the PSC look into the greater consumer impact the merger would have on the state. This would include looking at not only the price impact the deal may have, but also how it would affect telecommunication competition.
How the Comcast-Time Warner deal may affect state policies is to be addressed as well. New York has passed various initiatives to expand several services within the state, including $9 million in grants to expand broadband to an additional 33,000 households.
The PSC believes that the review will be completed within four months. The review time makes allowances for public input through regional meetings.