May 2008


AT&T VRADs in CT Need Landowner Approval

Blumenthal praises decision against AT&T
By CT Attorney General’s Office
May 27, 2008 – 8:30:45 PM

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal praised a Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) decision requiring that AT&T – prior to installing its massive U-Verse service boxes – obtain the consent of all abutting property owners and municipalities.

The decision also requires that AT&T promptly notify and obtain approval from citizens whose properties abut the hundreds of U-Verse service boxes that have already been installed in Connecticut.

State law requires consent of abutting property owners before making modifications to public rights of way. In formal comments filed with the DPUC, Blumenthal urged that the DPUC require AT&T to follow the law and obtain legally required consent from affected property owners and municipalities. 

Blumenthal acted after his office received several complaints from citizens about the installation of refrigerator-sized V-RAD boxes in several neighborhoods. 

“Today’s decision is a vital victory for public safety and property owner rights – protecting citizens from insensitive and illegal disregard for their homes,” Blumenthal said. “My office has received countless complaints from citizens throughout Connecticut about AT&T’s refrigerator-sized utility boxes. These boxes have been installed without consent or caution, as legally required. 

“The DPUC has rightfully recognized AT&T’s failure to obtain lawful approval from all abutting property owners and municipalities before installing hundreds of V-RAD boxes – and now must obtain such consent for future, as well as past, installations. Today’s decision requires that AT&T act promptly and affirmatively to obtain approval – and seek reasonable resolutions where property owners protest. Municipalities also have a rightful role to protect public safety and other public interests.” 

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May 5, 2008 Minutes

MINUTES of CTAC of Hamden, New Haven, and West Haven – May 5, 2008

George Alexander (Treasurer H)
Stuart Arotsky (Chair WH)
Al May (H)
Jennifer Sacco (H)
Tad Weinstein (Vice chair WH)
Joyce Listro (BOE NH)
Sharon Codeanne, Comcast
Joe Schofield, CTV

1. Meeting called to order 6:05 p.m.

2. Report from Comcast:  Sharon Codeanne

3. Report from CTV: Joe Schofield

  • Ongoing issue of not having channel 23.  It was a government channel and has been “unusually dark” since February.  Comcast says problem is on CTV’s end.  They called their own engineer, but the problem disappeared before he came.
  • Comcast says they installed an audio line at Hill House School
  • CTV will broadcast Yale graduation.
  • Quinnipiac has not yet broadcast a graduation.  (Update: Jen Sacco contacted John Morgan in public relations at QU; he says they send a tape of the graduation to CTV every year.)
  • AT&T sent $6500 for yearly fees to CTV without an accounting of how many subscribers they have, but this year, sent 3 checks for $8.32 to pay for public access.
  • AT&T wants to withhold public access funds until they have interconnection with public access.
  • Comcast does not necessarily think it is fair that AT&T be interconnected or that  Comcast would be kept out of the conversation between CTV and AT&T.
  • CTV board still insists there not be a connection to AT&T until there is undiminished broadcast.
  • Al asked about broadcasting of CSPAN2 on CTV.  CTV picks it up as a courtesy to subscribers on the first two tiers.

4. Issue of AT&T statewide council  (to meet 2x a year)

  • Should we send a representative or not?
  • Does this give legitimacy to a council we had no say in creating?
  • Joe Schofield suggested we contact other community councils for their perspective.
  • Al May moved we do not respond to AT&T and instead contact other councils.  No second.
  • Stu Arotsky—do we want to appoint a person to the AT&T council?
  • George moves and Al seconds that we write back, ask for bylaws and minutes, and we will consider appointment after.  Motion carried.
  • Al moves, and Joyce seconds that we contact the 22 local councils for information and thoughts about AT&T’s statewide advisory council.  Motion carried.  Al will write the email.

5. Council considered the Sunday night 10:00 p.m. CTV programming Peaches had emailed about previously with concerns about its content.

  • Joe said CTV would look into it and could move the program to 12:00 p.m.

6. Sharon said Comcast has applied for a certificate instead of a franchise agreement, and now basic cable rate will not be regulated except under federal law, and now that there is “competition” in the area with AT&T, Comcast can raise the rate.

  • Jen was concerned that if the basic rate increases, so might the rate for everyone who has “basic plus” levels of service.
  • The deadline to comment on this issue with the DPUC is May 21st, 2008.   George moved and Joyce seconded that Stu write a letter on behalf of our council about docket# 08-04-02.  Motion carried.

7. Meeting adjourned, 7:08 p.m.