Copyright 2006 AFX News Limited
AFX – Asia
June 14, 2006 Wednesday 4:34 PM GMT
From Lexis Nexis
HARTFORD, Conn. (AFX) – Several cable television companies and the state attorney general asked Connecticut regulators Wednesday to stay a recent decision allowing AT&T to offer video-over-phone lines without requiring the company to seek a cable franchise.
The cable companies said the 3-2 decision by the Department of Public Utility Control on June 7 was a boon to AT&T, freeing it from regulations intended to protect consumers.
In a written request to the DPUC, the companies and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal cited the close vote proposals involving AT&T that are being considered by the Federal Communications Commission, and the likely success of a court challenge.
Along with an industry group, companies requesting the stay include Cablevision Systems Corp., Charter Communications Inc. and Cox Radio Inc.
A day after the DPUC’s ruling, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill that, in part, would require video service providers such as AT&T that use Internet protocol technology to obtain cable franchises from the FCC. Similar proposals are pending in the Senate.
In last week’s vote, DPUC commissioners said AT&T demonstrated that its video product is a packet of data streamed over a network that is ‘fundamentally different’ from cable TV.
Following the DPUC decision, AT&T said it would begin to deploy its Connecticut portion of a fiber optic and broadband network in its 13-state territory. The $4.6 billion system will eventually reach about 19 million households in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin.