A U.S. district court judge in Connecticut dismissed arguments that amendments adopted last year to Connecticut video franchise law render moot a previous decision that AT&T’s U-Verse IPTV service fits the legal definition of a cable service. The judge thus upheld her ruling that U-Verse lacks the level of interactivity required for it to be exempt from franchise and other requirements imposed upon cable operators. In urging U.S. District Court Judge Janet Bond Arterton to vacate the July 2007 decision, AT&T had cited the enactment of the Connecticut Video Franchise Act, which was signed into law last October, and which allows market entrants such as AT&T to apply for a certificate of video franchise authority (CVFA) that could be granted within 30 days of filing. (For traditional cable operators, the law creates a separate certificate of cable franchise authority that would be processed under a different timetable and that would carry with it stricter regulatory requirements.) The court ruling that is the subject of AT&T’s motion nullified a 2006 order of the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control (CDPUC) that exempted AT&T from seeking cable franchise authority to operate its U-Verse network in that state. Rejecting AT&T’s contention that U-Verse is not a cable service and therefore should not be regulated as such, Arterton decreed last year that the level of subscriber interaction involved in AT&T’s video programming service conforms to that of cable TV. In an opinion handed down last week, Arterton proclaimed that, while the new law resolved issues of franchising, there are still “live issues” that remain until the FCC or the courts decide whether provisions of the 1984 Cable Act apply to AT&T’s U-Verse service. Observing, “the plaintiffs in this case would still be competitively disadvantaged if AT&T does not have to comply with federal law,” Arterton added: “AT&T has failed to carry the ‘heavy burden’ of demonstrating that this case is now moot as a result of the new state law.”