A federal judge in Connecticut has overturned the decision of the state's Department of Public Utility Control and ruled that AT&T's U-Verse must meet the same franchise criteria as cable systems to provide video service in the state. But that ruling may have no impact. The Hartford Courant reports that the decision could be nullified by a new state law which establishes a new system to regulate cable systems in Connecticut and their new competitors, such as U-Verse. That law provides for state-side franchising, allowing new operators to bypass local franchising.
AT&T already offers its U-Verse service in more than 20 Connecticut communities, but has resisted signing any local franchise agreements. The federal lawsuit against AT&T and the state Department of Public Utility Control had been brought by the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel and the New England Cable and Telecommunications Association, a trade group for cable MSOs.