AT & T Gets Hung Up In San Jose

San Jose, Calif.-A dispute over cable plant built by Pacific Bell Video Services could prevent AT & T Broadband from launching high-speed-data services here this year.

The operator has threatened to sue over lack of city action on 40 work permits that would allow upgrades for data and, eventually, telephony service.

An attorney for the operator sent a letter urging the city to approve the contracts by Aug. 28 or AT & T Broadband will file suit.

At issue is hybrid fiber-coaxial plant the telco built during a short-lived foray into video delivery. SBC Communications Inc. sold the system to what was then Tele-Communications Inc. for $25 million in 1998.

AT & T Broadband sought pole attachments and other permits, and it intends to spend $50 million to prep the backbone for Internet and telephony. But city officials maintained that AT & T lacks a franchise for the PacBell plant.

AT & T Broadband is negotiating a new franchise, and local reports indicated that the city may be attempting to get concessions on local-access programming support.

City officials did not return calls for comment.