Attorney General: Attorney General Says DPUC Decision To Fully Regulate AT&T A Significant Victory For Cable Consumers

Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Says DPUC Decision To Fully Regulate AT&T A Significant Victory For Cable Consumers

October 15, 2007

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today said the state Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) - in a landmark victory - has agreed that AT&T's U-Verse must be regulated as a cable service, which will ensure real cable competition throughout Connecticut.

In light of a U.S. District Court ruling, in which Blumenthal's office has fought aggressively to uphold, the DPUC said AT&T must apply for a full cable franchise license before the year's end in order to provide its "U-Verse" Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) service.

The DPUC has rejected AT&T's attempt to obtain lighter regulation - instead forcing the company to be fully regulated, which ensures that AT&T will "build out" its service statewide. Such measures provided under traditional cable regulation, will ensure that all Connecticut communities have access to this competitive service and prevent AT&T from "cherry picking" the wealthiest or most accessible regions to provide the service.

The DPUC ruling enables AT&T to continue providing its U-Verse service to existing consumers, but prohibits the company from pursuing new consumers unless and until it receives the lawfully required cable franchise license.

"This decision is a huge total victory for Connecticut consumers - holding the promise to change the landscape of cable service and provide real competition with lower prices and better service for all consumers throughout the state," Blumenthal said. "It is the right decision at the right time. I urge AT&T to accept it - and follow the law - rather than continue to litigate and defy reality and the law. I pledge to work with AT&T to secure a statewide cable franchise.

"This decision embodies completely the position that I have advocated - that this service is cable and must be regulated as cable to protect against AT&T cherry picking the wealthiest and most accessible consumers. Plainly and simply AT&T is illegally operating a cable service without a franchise, required to provide real competition and a level playing field.

"I commend and thank the DPUC for standing steadfast on the side of consumers in this hard-fought battle. I will continue this fight relentlessly - defending the DPUC decision if AT&T unwisely and unfortunately challenges it."