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AT&T's U-Verse ruled to be cable service

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 29 Jul 2007 18:29 User comments (6)

AT&T's U-Verse ruled to be cable service A federal judge has ruled that AT&T's U-Verse IPTV service meets the legal definition of cable service under the Cable Communications Policy Act. The 1984 law sets certain requirements that all cable operators must meet.
The ruling came as the result of a lawsuit filed by the State of Connecticut's Office of Consumer Counsel, the New England Cable and Telecommunications Association, and Cablevision. The Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control had previously ruled that U-Verse wasn't subject to the law's restrictions.

If U-Verse is considered a cable service it becomes subject to all federal regulations for cable operators. Otherwise it would be an unregulated service, much like VOIP isn't subject to standard telephone regulations.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs pointed out that U-Verse would be "nearly identical" in every way to any other cable TV service from the perspective of cable subscribers, ranging from programming available to on-demand services. AT&T argued that since it had yet to begin offering TV service, any comparisons between U-Verse and other cable offerings were just speculation.

AT&T has so far resisted signing franchise agreements with local governments. When setting up the U-Verse service in communities that have insisted on franchise agreements AT&T has either taken the issue to court or simply halted deployment altogether.

Traditional cable providers have complained because signing a franchise agreement means meeting requirements that aren't profitable like creating infrastructure in areas where there aren't enough customers to pay for it and providing public access channels.

Even if this ruling stands, AT&T could get statewide franchise agreements in states that allow it, making the objections of local governments a moot point. They've already done this in Texas and Florida. The Connecticut state legislature is already considering such a measure.

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6 user comments

129.7.2007 19:21

Bigger and bigger and bigger!

229.7.2007 19:30

My favorite move was when Cingular bought AT+T wireless and then AT&T bought Cingular. Priceless.

330.7.2007 6:06

att might be the 900 pound gorilla in the telecom market but tv over ip would be a step in the right direction, this move by att for once would increase competition. Ether this shows how beholden local governments are to cable companies, or it shows how they freak out when they think they wont have control over a tv service (wont get a piece of the action).

They rule in favor for att when it wants to buy up all its phone competition but rule against them when they want to bring more tv provider options to people? Retarded.

430.7.2007 16:25

I don't see how this is a negative thing. If any negativity is actually towards this it basically has to meet National American Standards for it to work properly in USA.

53.8.2007 19:45

They need to allow it. In my area it is either satellite or Comcast, the addition of another would be welcomed because the increase in competition will bring more channels at a much lower cost. I hate that I only have one choice in television because I do not want one of those stupid dishes on my house, this will bring another choice and a lower price I belive becuase I have DSL through AT&T and it is sooo much cheaper than Comcast.

Moomoo2.... My mother works for AT&T, and actually AT&T is really Southwestern Bell Corp. and Cingular was SBC's Wireless network. When SBC was allowed to purchace the long distance company AT&T they chose to aquire the AT&T name because it was more nationally known than SBC, and Ameritech. So this is how your senario works out. Cingular bought AT&T wireless while they were still seperate intenties. Then SBC bought ATT and changed their name on phone and wireless making it look like your sernario.

615.8.2007 20:11

More competition can only be a good thing. If the service is required to meet certain demands, that can only be better for the consumer.

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