AT&T comes out on top in Internet TV case

John O'Brien Nov. 2, 2007, 2:29pm


HARTFORD, Conn. - AT&T apparently earned the final legal victory Wednesday in a long-running dispute with the State of Connecticut when a Superior Court judge ruled that the company may operate its Internet television service without a cable license.

Judge Robert McWeeny overturned a ruling from the state's Department of Public Utility Control. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has been successfully fighting the company over the issue in federal court.

AT&T has invested $336 million in the state for its "U-Verse" service, a report by the Hartford Courant says. The company applied for a video service license instead of a cable provider license. Blumenthal called the former "a lightly regulated franchise."

"I welcome some finality to the legal battle so that a competitive service can be provided to cable consumers as soon as possible (and) as widely and broadly as possible," Blumenthal said. "Our hope is that AT&T fulfills its promise and potential to enable real competition and consumer benefits -- not just to a select few, but to as many consumers feasible, as I have said repeatedly."

Blumenthal said the State will not appeal McWeeny's decision.

"We may differ on legal issues, but we share the goal of providing cable consumers with this new service so they hopefully have the benefits of lower prices and better service," he said. "Continued legal combat ill serves that common objective."

Instead, Blumenthal said he will leave it up to the Legislature to refine the regulatory process.

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