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Defining U-verse in CT

Raymond McConville

5:30 PM -- It seems that New England is just a breeding ground for giving the telcos trouble when it comes to rolling out video services.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has been very open with its frustration in getting approvals in the hundreds of different communities in Massachusetts. And now AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has to deal with the state of Connecticut over a new headache of its own.

In 2006, the Connecticut Department of Public Utilities Control (CDPUC) ruled that U-verse was not a cable service and therefore was not subject to video franchise laws. As such, AT&T hass been rolling out U-verse throughout the state without getting any state or local approval.

But now, a federal judge has ruled that AT&T must be treated just like a cable company and seek regulatory approval before rolling out U-verse.

Okay, so that sucks for AT&T... but wait!

The governor of Connecticut just signed a bill that would effectively nullify the judge's ruling and establish a new set of ground rules for obtaining video franchises -- a compromise if you will.

In the meantime, AT&T is proceeding with its U-verse deployment in Connecticut under the old rules, which pretty much state that there are no rules. A company spokesman says they are carefully reviewing the new legislation but in the meantime are operating under the status quo.

Connecticut is actually one of the handful of states that have state-wide video franchising legislation in place, so it wouldn't be the worst fate ever if AT&T were forced to play by cable rules. (See State Video Franchise Push Grows.)

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

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