NY Department of Public Service, NYC, CWA wary of Altice-Cablevision deal

The Altice-Cablevision deal is facing tough scrutiny in New York. The NY Department of Public Service (NY DPS) New York City, and CWA this week urged the NY Public Service Commission to reject the deal as currently structured for failure to meet the statutory requirement of demonstrable public interest benefits.


The NY DPS staff emphasized the fact that the doubling of the post-transaction Cablevision debt -- to $14.4 billion -- will lead to reduced investment and service-impacting job cuts. As a result, Altice and Cablevision had not “established the requisite net positive benefit as a result of the proposed merger.”


“Without the proper demonstration that the debt associated with the deal will not interfere with the reinvestment of synergy savings in their New York operations,” the NY DPS comments read, “the proposed transaction must be rejected.” To ensure the deal promotes the public interest, NY DPS staff recommended enforceable conditions that “at a minimum address service quality, job retention,” -- including no loss of customer-facing jobs in New York and 90-day notice of call center closing or relation --  “universal service, network deployment to unserved/under-served areas, and broad infrastructure investment and improvement.”


The City of New York also urged the NY PSC to reject the deal, concluding that “the Joint Petition as currently filed with the Public Service Commission is not in the public interest. [...] The high debt load makes Altice and Cablevision’s promises illusory at best, or worse - blatantly false.”


CWA also urged the PSC to turn down the Application, noting that $8.6 billion in additional debt coupled with Altice’s $1.05 billion in projected service cuts would lead to job cuts, service decline, and reduced investment in fiber upgrades. Moreover, Cablevision is a serial lawbreaker which illegally violates the rights of workers. The NY comments after CWA workers – along with customers and advocates – testified against the Altice-Cablevision deal at NY PSC hearings, where they voiced their concerns that Altice's move to buy Cablevision would negatively affect jobs and customer service. CWA also filed comments at the FCC on the transaction.


All documents in the New York case are available here. NY state expects to make a decision on the proposed deal by late April. The deal also requires FCC approval.

Initial Comments of NY DPS staff (NY DPS, Feb. 5, 2016)

 

Initial Comments of NYC (NYC, Feb. 5, 2016)

 

Initial Comments of CWA, District 1 (CWA, Feb. 8, 2016)

 

New York City, PSC Staff Wary of Altice-Cablevision Deal (Multichannel.com, Feb. 6, 2016)

 

CWA files objections to Altice-Cablevision deal (Speed Matters, Dec. 7, 2015)

 

Altice-Cablevision deal hits bumps (Speed Matters, Jan. 4, 2016)