In a surprising anti-consumer decision, the Connecticut Department of Public Utility rejected AT&T’s application to expand its U-verse IPTV service further across Connecticut. This is surprising because AT&T was granted a statewide video franchise, but the CDPU shockingly classified IPTV as a cable offering. By forcing IPTV to conform to 1970’s era regulatory standards designed for cable monopolies, the CDPU and state attorney general have sided against competition and the free market.
Connecticut is the only state to consider IPTV a cable system, and therefore it is not covered under video franchise law. Unfortunately for Connecticut’s consumers, this decision will prompt AT&T to stop investing in Connecticut’s telecom sector, terminating 1300 jobs and ending service to over 7000 consumers rather than attempt to comply with recalcitrant bureaucratic regulators.
Chairman Dick Armey visited Connecticut earlier in the week to meet with lawmakers committed to shrinking government and giving consumers choice in the marketplace. Armey commented, “Connecticut’s citizens deserve the right to choose products in the marketplace, and state legislators agree with them. Unfortunately, bureaucrats have decided otherwise.”
FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe added:
“Special interest groups will not easily give into consumer interest and give up protected markets. In its bizarre ruling, the CDPU is violating the spirit of the statewide video franchise law, putting a thousand jobs at risk, and deterring investment from Connecticut’s internet backbone. The CDPU needs to remember it works for the citizens of Connecticut, not the other way around.”