U-Verse Needs Consent


AT&T will have to go back to property owners living near its U-Verse equipment in Connecticut and obtain consent for the hardware placements, according to an order from the state's Department of Public Utility Control.

The DPUC disagreed with AT&T's argument that it has permission to place such hardware as telephony distribution conductors and “equipment” in the rights-of-way. The utility regulators cited Connecticut law, which states that utilities can't place hardware on or under any public ground without the consent of abutting property owners and municipalities.

The docket was opened at the urging of the cities of Bridgeport, Stamford and Danbury, which complained about the location of so-called V-RAD boxes. These contain the hardware and battery backup necessary to operate the telephone company's U-verse video services.

Not only did the DPUC issue the order for retroactive consents on May 27, but on May 28, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal filed a formal notice with the DPUC to compel AT&T to submit location information on the estimated 2,000 V-RADs in place in the state.

Disclosure of the locations is “imperative to ensure that the rights of all property owners and municipalities are upheld, and their consent obtained. There can be no reasonable objection to this simple request for information that should be readily available,” the attorney general said in a prepared statement.

Blumenthal also said that U-verse promises to provide “welcome and sorely needed competition” in the cable marketplace, but added AT&T should follow the law.