AT&T Refiles Access Complaint Against Cablevision/MSG

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AT&T has refiled its program-access complaint against Madison Square Garden and Cablevision over access to the high-definition feeds for regional sports networks MSG and MSG Plus.
AT&T U-verse actually filed a supplement to its August 2009 complaint Wednesday. That supplement documents charged unfair and deceptive practices, per the FCC decision last January to close the so-called terrestrial exemption (or loophole, depending on whom is characterizing it). Under that exemption, terrestrially delivered networks like MSG's were effectively shielded from program-access complaints.
The FCC now says that denying access to terrestrial nets is presumptively unfair and deceptive, and treats HD nets as separate services from the standard-definion feed, which Cablevision does supply to U-verse.
The telco said in its supplement that the FCC's order "eliminates any doubt that defendants' withholding of the HD feeds of MSG and MSG plus is unlawful."
AT&T U-verse contacted MSG after the FCC decision, once more seeking access to the HD feeds, but was rebuffed, said the company. It signaled two weeks ago that it would be updating its FCC complaint.
Verizon has also refiled a carriage complaint against MSG/Cablevision over carriage of HD feeds.
Ironically, the AT&T filing came the same day that it and Verizon and Cablevision all joined in a new coalition criticizing broadcasters of depriving viewers of programming by pulling signals in retransmission-consent carriage disputes.

It also came on the deadline day in a cable carriage dispute between AT&T and Cablevision's Rainbow Media Holdings subsidiary over carriage of networks, including AMC. AT&T has pointed out that Cablevision could be pulling its nets tonight (July 14) and preventing U-Verse viewers from watching next week's season debut of AMC's Emmy-winning drama Mad Men.