AT&T Accuses Cable Operators of Suppressing Franchise Reform Ads

Mar 28, 2006  •  Post A Comment

AT&T on Monday alleged that cable TV operators are refusing to carry phone industry-backed issue ads purporting to demonstrate the “enormous benefits of wireline video choice and the urgent need for franchising reforms that will make widespread wireline video competition possible.”

AT&T said in a March 27 letter to the Federal Communications Commission that the cable TV industry is running its own ads to persuade consumers that video competition from the phone companies would be bad.

“The cable industry’s tactics should be profoundly troubling to the commission. It is bad enough that cable companies continue to abuse their video dominance through excessive rates, poor service, and few choices in programming packages,” the letter said. “Now the cable industry is using its video distribution chokehold to suppress speech aimed at unleashing the competition that will force cable operators to be more responsive to customers.”

Brian Dietz, a spokesman for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, said in response: “Instead of whining about their false and misleading ads being rejected, the phone monopolies should withdraw their ads and start telling the truth. They’ve played fast and loose with the truth for so long that they’ve forgotten they could have been competing in the video business for the last 10 years instead of waiting for special favors.”