AT&T Refiles Access Complaint Against Cablevision

Demands HD feeds for MSG, MSG Plus sports nets
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AT&T
Wednesday re-filed its program access complaint against Madison Square Garden
and Cablevision over access to HD feeds for MSG and MSG Plus regional sports
nets.

AT&T
actually filed a supplement to its August 2009 complaint Wednesday. That
supplement charged unfair and deceptive practices, per the FCC decision last
January to close the so-called terrestrial exemption (or loophole, depending on
who is characterizing it). Under that exemption, terrestrially delivered
networks like MSG's were effectively shielded from program access complaints.

The
FCC now says that denying access to terrestrial nets is presumptively unfair
and deceptive, and treats HD nets as separate services from the standard-definition
feed, which Cablevision does supply to AT&T.

AT&T
said in its supplement that the FCC's order "eliminates any doubt that
defendants' withholding of the HD feeds of MSG and MSG plus is unlawful."

AT&T
contacted MSG after the FCC decision, once more seeking access to the HD feeds,
but was rebuffed, said the company. It signaled two weeks ago that it would be
updating its FCC complaint
.

Verizon
has also re-filed a carriage complaint against MSG/Cablevision over carriage of
HD feeds.

Ironically,
the AT&T filing came the same day that it and Verizon and Cablevision all
joined in a new coalition criticizing broadcasters of depriving viewers of
programming by pulling signals in retransmission carriage disputes. It also
came on the deadline day in a cable carriage dispute between AT&T and
Cablevision over carriage of networks including AMC. AT&T has pointed out
that Cablevision could be pulling its nets tonight (July 14) and
preventing U-Verse viewers from watching next week's season debut of Mad Men.

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