After nearly seven years of class-action litigation over the way erstwhile Cablevision leased its set-top boxes, the plaintiffs are finally set to get paid in February.
“Settlement benefits to eligible current and former subscribers will be disbursed beginning in February, 2017. If additional information was requested as part of your claim review process, settlement benefits may begin later as any new information you submit is processed,” said a website set by the plaintiffs’ lawyers.
Altice USA, of course, closed its $17.7 billion purchase of Cablevision last spring, rebranding the New York area operator's systems under the “Optimum” moniker. Current Optimum customers who subscribed to Cablevision services from April 30, 2004 to March 9, 2016 are eligible to receive service credits valued at $50 to $140. They can also get a one-time bill credit ranging from $20 to $40.
Former customers can get a one-time cash payment of $20 to $40.
As part of the December 2015 settlement, the erstwhile Cablevision also agreed to pay $9.5 million in plaintiff attorney fees. And, notably, it agreed to open its video service to third-party set-top makers.
It’s unclear if and how Altice plans to comply with the latter mandate. Earlier this week, House Republicans sent a letter to new FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai asking him to formally kill a proposal to open the proprietary pay-TV set-top leasing business.