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AT&T Takes Ill. Cities to Court

Repeating a tactic it has employed against cities in California, AT&T Inc. is suing two communities in Illinois that questioned whether current system upgrades are linked to future video services.

AT&T is suing Roselle, with a population of approximately 23,000, and Carpen­tersville, with about 36,000 residents. A third suit could be filed April 10 against Wheaton, AT&T officials said.

The communities have refused to issue permits for plant upgrades for the phone company. Municipalities have oversight over things such as powering vaults placed in the public rights-of-way. Many are attempting to tie the plant permits to a commitment to later pursue a cable franchise.

Roselle and Carpentersville en­acted 180-day moratoria to work through the issues. AT&T called any conditions on siting permits “im­proper, unlawful and unenforceable” under state and federal law.

The telco added that its planned Internet-pro­tocol-based “U-verse” video product is not a cable service and, therefore, not subject to franchising.