Michigan Commission Rejects Complaint on AT&T U-verse


The Michigan Public Service Commission rejected a complaint by access producers regarding the way AT&T’s U-verse Internet protocol video service intends to deliver local programming.

The utility regulators said the state’s chapter of the Alliance for Community Media filed the complaint too early.

The Alliance chapter filed a complaint on Aug. 14, noting that AT&T is delivering service in two initial Michigan communities. The state franchising law, approved Dec. 21, 2006, mandates that new providers launch PEG channels 90 days after a request to do so by communities. That triggered a PEG launch date of Aug. 21, so the alliance's complaint was filed in anticipation of a breech.

State law mandates new providers offer one or more PEG channels and that they be carried on the basic tier. The Alliance complaint alleges there is an “AT&T PEG Solution” that will place all the state’s PEG programming on Ch. 99. The complaint states that AT&T will devote one megabyte per second to streaming PEG content. That is about one-quarter of the bandwidth required for a standard definition broadcast signal, the complaint states.

AT&T responded that the Alliance complaint is based on hypothetical situations with no proof of the degraded transmissions the trade group alleges.

Joe Steele, a Michigan media director for AT&T, said no PEG programming is currently available on U-verse because communities aren’t ready to deliver that content in an IP format. He said that AT&T continues to work with communities to prepare to delivery locally produced programming.

Jon Kreucher, attorney for the Alliance chapter, said he couldn’t comment specifically on the PSC action. Although AT&T is distributing a letter on the complaint rejection from the MPSC, the Alliance hasn’t been provided with that communication, he said.