Telecommunications Alert: Municipal Advocates File FCC Petition Claiming AT&T Version of Streaming PEG Access Unlawful

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Late last week, several municipal public, educational and governmental access (“PEG”) advocates1 filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to determine that AT&T’s method of delivering PEG access over its U-verse system (1) systematically discriminates against PEG programming, (2) fails to properly provide PEG programmers with channel capacity for PEG use, and (3) violates the FCC’s closed captioning rules. Today, the FCC called for comments on the Petition by March 9, 2009, with replies due March 24.2

AT&T delivers its “PEG product” for several communities through a single channel location where PEG access programs for each community and topic are found by a viewer search through a menu using web-based technology. In contrast, AT&T uses traditional dedicated channel delivery for broadcast and commercial cable channels on U-verse.

The Petition follows a letter sent to the FCC last September by House Appropriations Committee members asking the FCC to investigate similar discrimination concerns raised in a subcommittee hearing. The Petition filing appears designed to place this issue in the forefront of the agenda of the new Obama FCC.

Please see full alert for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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