So, the moral of the story is that if, as Charter did, you fail to deliver on your promises, you will have to pay a fine, that later you will recoup with added fees, to do what you promised to begin with, if, indeed, you do it at all (just like Verizon)... Well done, New York, well done!! And if Charter does not indeed fulfill its obligations, it will be compelled to pay another 12.5 minutes of profits to "settle" it's breach of contract. Can I sell anyone here a bridge? We just built a new one here in Minnesota! Awesome deal. Only $186US million and if you don't make it back the first year, I'll only charge you $175US million, plus fees, surcharges, rentals, etc, etc! A bargain at only $499US million!!!!! (beware five exclamation points as per T. Pratchett)
I withhold judgement on whether Comcast is guilty of such mafia-like behavior, and it is a story I will follow with interest (on El Reg, if they do not loose interest). I do not doubt that they will be able to convince others with
discounted service for the first 43 days factual arguments that they did not dig up their competitor's lines while installing their own. They were old, fragile, and near on failing of their own accord. Gophers are to blame as well as lack of regard for infrastructure maintenance and ordinary wear. Gophers can be very, very dangerous for business when you're a small company, without the resources to creatively and legally rip-off your customers.
But, lest anyone forget, this is what happens when a government, federal or local, not only allows, but encourages unregulated monopolies to emerge, and allows these monopolies to integrate vertically (NBC/Universal/Comcast, ATT/DTV/TW, etc.). Because these companies have actively and effectually lobbied to change the laws preventing their formation, with useless opposition, they in effect write the laws and regulations allowing their creation, again, both locally and nationally. The members of congress of both sides (with a couple exceptions) of both the Senate and the HoRes are responsible. To paraphrase the Orange One, this only happens because we allow it to (though he was talking of the generous tax loop-holes he routinely takes advantage of, not necessarily the creation of monopolies or conglomerates). Non-participation, disinterest, and disregard by the general public and lack of action informing the general public by so-called consumer protection groups (I'm looking at you, EFF and friends) is what not only allows this, but encourages it. Such "consumer interest groups" must keep in mind that that the average American does not read El Reg, Ars Technica or Vice: Motherboard on a daily or even ever basis.
Your average US media consumer will bellyache to no end about their high cost of their cable/satellite bill but will never have known that there may have been some regulation or piece of legislation that would have eliminated or reduced it, introduced by some idealistic first term representative from Montana's second district or junior senator who thought, naively, that they may make a difference. I remember when I was elected to student council (without even naming myself or running), and I was stupid enough to think it might have more say than planning prom or home-coming. I idiotically thought we could actually change school policy on a couple things that I didn't think made sense (lack of open lunch and adding a minute between classes for those who had to cross a busy street to get to classes for starters)). As for cable/satellite, I for one, gave up almost twenty years ago when The History Channel decided to refuse showing programs on history, and CNN stopped showing news programs. After that PBS News Hour and Nova were my TV's raison d'etre, and I cut the cable, saving almost $250/year. Even in rural Minnesota, I have a dozen channels to choose from just from the antenna, and, unlike cable/satellite, they're not 250 variations of a theme.
Paris, because only she and leaders of the free world, and in particular the free leader of the free world, would think this is fair and made sense.