Connecticut's attorney general will actively oppose the planned ruling by the state's utility regulators that would green-light AT&T Inc.'s rollout of Internet-protocol TV without cable-type franchising.
"I will fight this preliminary decision, which will deny many consumers access to new Internet-protocol-television service," Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said in a May 5 statement.
The state Department of Public Utility Control released a draft decision by a panel of commissioners on that day, stating that IPTV is no different than Internet service and, therefore, that it is not subject to franchising regulation by the department.
The draft decision, scheduled for a final vote early in June, also concluded that AT&T's plan to select communities in which it will serve does not discriminate. It's a legitimate business practice that was used by incumbent cable operators when they rolled out, the panel wrote. But Blumenthal said self-selection will allow AT&T to cherry-pick only wealthy Connecticut residents.
AT&T has promised to provide some services mandated of cable incumbents, such as support of public-access networks. Blumenthal said the DPUC should guarantee that AT&T is required to fulfill those promises.