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'AT&T Violating Illinois Law'

"Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson expresses his dissatisfaction with AT&T's treatment of community PEG channels."


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From the minutes of April's Elk Grove Village board meeting:

"Trustee Lissner stated that Mayor Johnson has been sending several letters to various government agencies throughout the past year regarding the failures of AT&T and the way they handle PEG (public) viewing channels. Several agencies have responded to those letters. One of the letters recently received from the Board Chair of the Chicago Access Corporation listed a website, www.keepusconnected.org. Trustee Lissner viewed the website and there was a YouTube video posted on the site that shows some of the issues transpiring with AT&T. A presentation of the YouTube video was shown. The video demonstrated the problems with AT&T public viewing. Trustee Lissner stated in addition to the problems demonstrated, the picture on AT&T is distorted and grainy.

"Mayor Johnson stated that AT&T is required by State law and Federal law to provide the same quality of service that is offered by Comcast. Right now the Village has Channel 6. Channel 6 is a highly marketable commercial number that many stations would like to have. Comcast provides Channel 6 under the guidelines of State and Federal laws. AT&T has basically been violating the law. The Village has been in contact with the Attorney General and Congressman Roskam's office to look into the matter.

"Recently, other organizations, including the Northwest Municipal Conference, who represents fifty communities, have stepped up to push and make sure that AT&T provides the same quality of service that other providers supply and do what they are required to do by law. Right now, residents are paying money to AT&T for services they are not providing. AT&T gets money out of the fees that they collect for cable, to provide this service and they are not using the money to provide the service at the level they are required to provide.

"The Attorney General's office is thankful for the information the Village has provided and for the other organizations that have stepped forward. Hopefully AT&T will now be forced to do what they are supposed to do by law. Mayor Johnson thanked Trustee Lissner and Trustee Franke for their efforts in making sure that AT&T users get the service they deserve."

That video:

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Of course, Lisa Madigan first opened her "probe" into these practices back in 2009.

Ars Technica also reported then that the FCC had been asked to act:

"The issue affects U-Verse installations around the country, but it has flared hottest in Illinois, where AT&T has a duty to carry PEG channels under a statewide video franchising law in 2009. State Attorney General Lisa Madigan agreed to investigate the issue in January after cities claimed that AT&T wasn't living up to its responsibility to deliver PEG channels on actual 'channels.'

"A set of community media groups and municipalities has now asked the FCC to act. PEG channels are not enshrined in federal law; they are something that can be required by franchise agreements but are not mandatory. But the media groups contend that AT&T's treatment of the channels still falls afoul of various FCC policies, the Communications Act, and the Cable Act."

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See also: What The Law Says vs. What AT&T Says

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on May 25, 2012


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