In 2007, legislation was passed to catch up with how the DPUC (the previous incarnation of PURA) was treating AT&T’s U-Verse as a utility separate from community antenna television (CATV = cable TV). The AT&T representative proudly declared that a T1 line would be provided to PEG access channels. Despite the discriminatory treatment of PEG channels on the Channel 99 menu, some operators (both official nonprofit CAPs and smaller town-specifics) took AT&T’s first-connection-free option to interconnect with U-Verse. Where there were U-verse subscribers, CAPs received community access support from them at the same rate as their cable subscribers.
In 2014, Frontier Communications bought U-Verse from AT&T, together with residential Plain Old Telephone Services (POTS). But the connections with PEG channels still used AT&T’s T1 lines. In 2018, Frontier retired the awkward Channel 99 menu and assigned channel numbers in the 6000s to all the PEG channels, which made it easier for viewers to find a specific town and P, E, or G channel.
In 2022, different PEGs started hearing from their viewers that the channel wasn’t working. Some got in touch with Frontier engineers who had helped them with problems in the past; those people seemed baffled or didn’t return calls. Wallingford Public Access Association, whose studio is located in a residential district and subscribed to U-Verse/Vantage TV, had previously been able to show their Comcast and “competitive video” channels side by side, unlike most other PEGs. When WPAA switched their internet service to Frontier Fiber, their non-Comcast channel went dark. So they asked about it.
But wait! There’s more! This just in!
Frontier hit with $5M fine in CT and order ‘reckless’ fiber-optic work in CT halted by Luther Turmelle of the New Haven Register….
And another thing about Frontier….
Aside from the problem of dark PEG channels, there was another problem. In 2021 or possibly before, Frontier stopped selling its alternative cable (“competitive video programming” in CT statutes) to new customers. Instead they were selling DirecTV and other video services from their supposed competitors. No per subscriber support comes from DirectTV or other such services. Much of this situation was uncovered by Nutmeg and North Haven TV, but is more fully explained in a petition from the Office of Consumer Counsel in a briefly reviewed docket on the matter. The petition includes some screenshots from Frontier’s website at that time, but another peek in August 2022 made a YouTube premium subscription a prominent offering.
Do we need to say that there is no community access support from YouTube TV subscribers?