AT&T Hoped Magistrate Would Vacate Decision Defining It As A Cable Service

Telco Hoped Magistrate Would Vacate Decision Defining It As A Cable Service

By Linda Haugsted — Multichannel News, 7/10/2008 6:01:00 PM

AT&T failed to convince a federal judge in Connecticut to vacate a legal precedent declaring that U-verse TV is a cable service. 

The telecommunications company petitioned the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut to declare as moot that court’s July 26, 2007, ruling striking down a finding by the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control from 2006.

Those regulators, in an action unique among state utility boards, proactively examined the Internet-delivered U-verse TV service. They came to the controversial conclusion that U-verse, because it delivers video in bits and bytes via the Internet and not in a continuous stream, does not meet the definition of a cable service.

AT&T has consistently argued that U-verse is not a cable service and should not be regulated as such. But Judge Janet Bond Arterton ruled that U-verse does meet the legal definition of a cable service.

The most recent AT&T motion asked the judge to amend her final judgment, arguing that the whole dispute became moot in October of last year when the Connecticut legislature approved its state franchising bill. The new legislation created video franchise regulation. That regulation did not rely on a legally defining U-verse in order to for AT&T to qualify to deliver video in the state.

AT&T has asked that the Federal Communications Commission or a court rule that U-verse is not a cable service, per the federal Cable Act, requiring franchises. It has yet to get that ruling.

But the court, in a ruling issued July 10, decided that while the state franchising law resolved the issue of franchising, there are “live issues” that will remain until the FCC or a court decides that elements of the Cable Act do or don’t apply to AT&T’s video service.

Therefore, Judge Arterton refused to amend her previous rulings.

Commenting on the court’s latest ruling, Paul Cianelli, president of the New England Cable Television Association, said: “In light of the United States District Court’s recent ruling against it, AT&T’s claim that its U-verse service is not cable television is taking on an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ quality. For the sake of consumers and communities who are missing out on the protections and benefits normally required of cable companies, we hope AT&T will accept reality, compete on a level playing field and contribute its fair share to Connecticut’s citizens.”


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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Town works to bring local access TV to AT&T’s new service

Greenwich Post: Town works to bring local access TV to AT&T’s new service
Jan 11, 2008

AT&T has begun to install their television service in portions of Riverside and Old Greenwich. At this time, AT&T’s “U-Verse” service does not carry Greenwich’s government access channel. 

However, Channel 79 has already begun the process to have government access carried on AT&T’s U-Verse service in the near future. As this is a new service in Connecticut, Greenwich will most likely be the first government access channel to be carried.

Channel 79 will continue to keep the RTM and the public informed on the progress of this project.

© Copyright 2008 by Hersam Acorn Newspapers