Out of Control Policy Blog

Destroying Competition In Order To Save It

Using twisted logic, the Connecticut Attorney General and the Department of Public Utilities say they are guaranteeing consumer choice in cable TV by doing everything they can to stop it.

In a ruling that can be summed up as "if everyone can't get it, no one will," Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and the DPUC told AT&T it cannot continue build-out of its U-verse video service without committing to providing service to all parts of the state–a demand the state does not force on cable companies that offer competitive phone service.

Even more confusing is the DPUC's decision to block AT&T from applying for a statewide video franchise under Connecticut's new law, which does not require universal build out. Instead, AT&T has been ordered to seek individual local franchises with scores of Connecticut communities–a cumbersome, time-consuming process the new law supersedes.

As a result, 150,000 Connecticut residents in line to be offered U-verse stand to lose the prospect of lower rates and innovative services that cable competition has brought to other states. In Connecticut, this somehow is defined as consumer protection.


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