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New Jersey BPU Approves Altice-Cablevision

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has approved Altice N.V.’s $17.7 billion purchase of Cablevision Systems.

The matter was approved at the regulatory agency’s Wednesday board meeting.

“Altice is pleased with the approval order by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for the acquisition of Cablevision, which recognizes the benefits that the proposed merger will bring to consumers in New Jersey,” Altice said in a statement. “The transaction is expected to close on track in the second quarter of this year.”

The deal still needs to receive approval from the New York State Public Service Commission, which is scheduled to vote on the transaction on June 16. If the deal passes muster from that agency, it is expected to close shortly after. The Federal Communications Commission approved the deal on May 4.

Cablevision has about 783,058 customers in New Jersey, but its largest operations are in New York.

“The Board is confident that the settlement will provide current customers many network improvements and upgrades, as well as ensure adequate levels of customer service are maintained” said New Jersey Board of Public Utilities president Richard S. Mroz in a statement. “The agreement also protects most current Cablevision employees and creates a low-income broadband service that will benefit certain seniors and homes with school-aged children.”

According to the BPU, as part of the approval, Altice/Cablevision agreed that it will not reduce customer-facing jobs, including those at customer service centers and the Newark call center for 2 years; will upgrade service to all existing customer locations to 300 Mbps by the end of 2017; will offer low-income broadband service with speeds up to 30 Mbps with no data cap, modem fee or charge for self-installation at $14.99/ month, within 15 months of the merger closing; will increase the speed on its existing $24.95 low-cost broadband service offering from 5 mbps download /1 mbps upload to 10 mbps download /1 mbps upload within 120 days of closing and will continue to offer for 2 years; and will offer a broadband product without a data cap for 3 years.