Charter Communications Inc, a U.S. company that offers internet, phone and TV services, is suing a California company for allegedly violating antitrust rules by allowing its own TV stations to broadcast their own content.
The case, filed by the California Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday, alleged that Charter failed to pay for its own advertising.
In January 2016, Charter filed an antitrust complaint against a subsidiary of the California-based satellite provider Spectrum Networks Inc, accusing Spectrum of violating its advertising policies by airing its own programming on Charter’s own stations.
Spectrum said in a statement that it was “disappointed” by the filing and has “committed to cooperating fully with the Commission in all aspects of its investigation.”
The FCC, which oversees the nation’s telecommunications market, is looking into whether Spectrum violated antitrust laws by airing Charter’s content.
Charter said it was investigating Spectrum and Spectrum Networks and will also provide its response to the FCC in due course.
The FCC has said it will consider whether Spectrum Networks violated the law when it issued its notice of proposed rulemaking on July 22.
Charter’s complaint was filed in San Francisco.
Charter is owned by Time Warner Cable, the parent of CNN and the HBO cable channel.
The complaint alleges that Spectrum has “continuously failed to compensate Charter for the cost of its own television channels and its own commercials.”
Charter said Spectrum had paid for all the cost, including paying for the advertising, in the two years before the merger with Charter, but only after Spectrum agreed to provide Charter with a limited number of “unlimited” rights to distribute Charter’s channels.
Charter paid Spectrum a total of $4.4 million for its rights, Charter said.
The company also said Spectrum was required to pay Charter $2.6 million for the rights it had previously agreed to, but it has not paid Spectrum for those rights.
Spectrum declined to comment.
Charter’s complaint against Spectrum is the latest in a series of legal battles that have pitted cable companies and the cable industry against each other over whether they can make money by providing broadband services to consumers.
In October, a judge in San Jose, California, struck down Comcast Corp’s proposed $45 billion takeover of NBCUniversal, saying the deal was illegal because it excluded broadband services and the internet, which are essential for many Americans.
The Comcast-NBCUniversal merger was approved by a federal judge in April.
The deal, which also includes Time Warner, was expected to bring Comcast a $40 billion profit by 2020.