July 11, 2007
Connecticut's Public Utiltiy Control could impose rewards or penalties that level the playing field for telecom and cable providers of voice and broadband service who say the owners of utility poles have been unfairly delaying utility pole connections for fiber-optic cable. One of those targetted by this is AT&T. According to TheDay.com
, "Several companies, including Thames Valley Communications in Groton and Fiber Technology Networks LLC, complained that AT&T and other owners are obstructing competition by delaying hookups, a charge the owners have denied."
AT&T owns the utility poles where fiber-optic cable is attached to facilitate the connections jointly with electric companies, Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating. As you probably know, AT&T has their own hybrid fiber/copper solution called U-verse
which competes with other service providers offering voice,video, and data over fiber, making delays mighty suspicious.
Connecticut's Department of Public Utility Control is reviewing the matter, but this could have far reaching consequences beyond just Connecticut. We could end up with a hodge-podge of state rulings that allow carriers such as AT&T to delay and stall their competitors in other states that have no regulations. This would obviously impact how fast consumers receive their fiber connections and subsequent services. Congress may have to pass a Federal law to standardize rules across the U.S. It seems that in addition to Net Neutrality we also need Utility Pole Neutrality