Readers: This is part of an ongoing series of updates on what happened to the AT&T U-verse rollout in Orange County. The company said last month that it was halting further expansion in seven O.C. cities. I’m talking to each city so keep checking back for updates!
If you live in Lake Forest and can’t get AT&T’s TV service, sorry folks. It’s not coming anytime soon.
“I thought we had some very productive meetings with AT&T’s staff,” Robert L. Woodings, the city’s public works director said during an interview earlier last month. “I think there are some (permits) that are just pen strokes away after they refresh their deposit.”
But after checking city records, Woodings discovered out that on July 14, 2009, AT&T told the city it was pulling its four permit applications until further notice. Those four permits were submitted on March 4, 2009, and AT&T’s outstanding balance was $1,719.25 for plan check fees.
|More on the U-verse impasse|
Woodings, who recalls initial requests from AT&T were in the “vicinity of 100 permits,” believes AT&T’s withdrawal is a business decision.
AT&T, which began talks with Lake Forest around 2007, has generically voiced its frustration with the cities. A spokesman told me the company has gone back and forth to answer questions and address concerns of several cities. Some 220 cities in California let the telecom company upgrade and add new equipment in order to offer TV service. But seven cities in Orange County – including as well as Cypress, Dana Point, Irvine, Newport Beach, San Clemente and Tustin – have made the process not worth AT&T’s effort.
Lake Forest’s Woodings says the city sought more answers, requested plan changes and a deposit from AT&T. Like other cities, Lake Forest is concerned about the location of the U-verse utility cabinets and AT&T agreed to screen or landscape around them. The city doesn’t want cabinets in front of someone’s home or in a place that would cause a problem for drivers. Woodings said that is just part of the process — regardless of the company.
If Lake Forest residents want to voice their opinion on the topic, they can contact Debra Rose, the city’s public information officer at 949-461-3414.
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