The California Cable and Telecommunications Association argued that AT&T's IPTV service, called Project Lightspeed, is a cable system and therefore requires a franchise agreement by law. The San Ramon, CA, area already has such an agreement with Comcast, a member of the trade group. AT&T argues, of course, that IPTV is not cable, even as defined by municipal code, state or federal law since it will run over a two-way IP-based network. The cable association wants such services regulated alike, not different, because of different technology.
Well, the final argument is a weak one, especially since IPTV stands to be very different from legacy broadcast systems. That said, cable companies like Comcast will more than likely switch over to IP soon enough, so maybe the "like classified as like" statement should be rejoined with a "fine, go ahead, provide IPTV." Some say Comcast has more IP laid than anyone else, and this is likely true. Their longstanding interest in IPTV through relationships (including $1 billion investments) with Microsoft should hammer that point home. It may be just a matter of time until "like" really is all-IP.
For more on AT&T's Lightspeed battle in San Ramon:
- check out this article from The Contra Costa Times