Conn.: AT&T Doesn’t Need Franchise

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Despite opposition from incumbent cable providers and the state's attorney general, the commissioners of the Department of Public Utility Control for Connecticut approved a decision stating that the Internet-protocol-television product planned by AT&T Inc. is not a cable service and not subject to franchising.

The board agreed with an earlier decision by a subcommittee that the AT&T product -- to be marketed under the name “U-verse” -- is not distinguishable from any other stream of data on the Internet.

Cable incumbents, the office of the attorney general and the state's Office of Consumer Counsel are all "contemplating further action" on the issue, according to Neal Goldberg, general counsel of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

"The decision grossly misinterprets and misapplies federal law. The decision will let AT&T cherry-pick neighborhoods, leaving what AT&T calls 'low-value' consumers without access to AT&T's offering. Two of the five Connecticut commissioners dissented on just these issues," Goldberg said in a prepared statement.

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