Time Warner Asks PSC to Stifle Release of Data On Service Staffing and Broadband Plans

On July 22, 2014, the Administrative Judge in the Comcast/Time Warner merger case issued a ruling granting, in part, our request under the New York Freedom of Information Law, for the questions propounded by PSC staff and the answers provided by Comcast and Time Warner in Case 14-M-0183.  

On August 1, 2014, Time Warner appealed the determination of the ALJ to the Secretary of the Commission,  insofar is it would require release of its staffing data and broadband expansion plans.  In the motion and in a declaration accompanying it, the utility claims such information is a “trade secret”. that competition exists and that release of such information would be harmful.

Comcast has announced Time Warner post merger synergy savings reaching $1.5 Billion/year in three years, and a $400 million cut in capital expenses, if the merger is approved.  It is not clear the extent to which such cuts will affect service staffing and broadband expansion in New York.

Time Warner has also resisted disclosure of details of its service quality reports, which the Department of Public Service Records Access Officer recently ruled were not confidential trade secrets.

Background

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The public has been encouraged by the PSC to submit comments on the proposed merger. More than 2,700 comments have been received to date, most of them against the proposed takeover.    Comments can be submitted online at the PSC site for the case file.  Comments are requested by August 8, 2014, but will be received until the time of decision.  Currently, action on the merger is anticipated at the PSC’s October 2, 2014 session.

Gerald A. Norlander

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