WI: AT$T launches Internet television in Milwaukee

Posted on March 1, 2007 - 9:00am.

from: The Business Journal

AT&T launches Internet television in Milwaukee

The Business Journal of Milwaukee - 8:35 AM CST Wednesday, February 28, 2007
by Rachel McCormick-Jennings

AT&T Wisconsin has begun installing and providing its new Internet television product, U-Verse, in the Milwaukee market, despite a federal lawsuit filed by the city challenging the service's implementation here.

San Antonio-based AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) developed the television package. The package combines AT&T Yahoo! and features more than 25 high-definition channels, a digital video recorder, or DVR, Web remote access to the DVR, and fast channel changing, which will eliminate the delay experience with other digital broadcast services.

The launch of AT&T's new entertainment system allows the company to go head-to-head in competition with its rival, Time Warner Cable. AT&T announced the service's availability in the Milwaukee and Racine markets early Wednesday.

U-Verse runs over fiber optic lines, as does the AT&T's Digital Subscriber Line, or DSL. In order to subscribe to U-Verse, a customer must have one of the company's three DSL services -- Elite, Pro or Express. U-Verse has about 7,000 customers in markets across the country.

There are more than 300 channels available for customers to view in a variety of different packages. Local, digital music, and premium movie and sports programming also are available. Package pricing starts at $44 a month, depending on the select programming and Internet packages, according to an AT&T press release.

Grant Langley, the city's attorney, said the fact that AT&T is moving forward with U-Verse doesn't conflict with a pending federal lawsuit the city of Milwaukee filed against AT&T in December because a judge has yet to rule on the case.

The city filed the lawsuit after AT&T refused to obtain a cable franchise to provide U-Verse. According to the Federal Cable Act, the city grants franchises to cable television operators authorizing construction, operations and repair of cable television operators.

AT&T has argued it is not a cable operator and refuses to apply for a cable franchise.

If a judge rules in the city's favor, AT&T could be forced to obtain a cable franchise from the city so it could continue to provide U-Verse service. The city also is seeking an injunction preventing AT&T from providing customers with U-Verse and installing underground fiber optic lines to provide the service. AT&T and the city are hoping to resolve the lawsuit out of court. Both parties are scheduled for a status conference with the judge on March 6, Langley said.

( categories: AT&T | WISCONSIN )