Phone giant AT&T is due in court this morning to try to reverse a decision by state regulators that it must seek a cable franchise for its new video service. WNPRâ€™s Harriet Jones reports.
AT&T started rolling out its UVerse video over phone line service late last year, and now serves parts of 40 communities in Connecticut. But the rollout has been accompanied by a fierce debate over the status of the service, which is essentially a competitor to cable TV. Following a recent federal court decision, the state Department of Public Utility Control decided Monday that UVerse must be treated as a cable service, and AT&T must seek a regular franchise. AT&Tâ€™s John Emra says if their bid to have the decision reversed in superior court is not successful, they will not apply for a franchise.
AT&T claims it should be regulated under a new video providers law passed in Connecticut earlier this year. Critics of the service say theyâ€™re concerned that if itâ€™s not subject to the same requirements as cable companies, AT&T will choose to serve only wealthy communities, and will not provide competition in poorer areas.