AT&T and Verizon CEOs Whine to Congress

We love whiny CEOs here at the Consumerist. There’s something special about men with net worths greater than most small nations complaining to Congress about unfairness that tickles our irony receptors. In this case, Ed Whitacre, CEO of AT&T (pictured) and Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon Communications, traveled to the Capitol to bitch about the regulatory barriers-to-entry that telephone companies have when trying to get into the video delivery business—a business obviously dominated by cable companies.

The current system requires that telephone companies negotiate with authorities on a local level to receive franchise licenses for offering television service. We can see how this would be a pain for the mega-corps seeking to break into hundreds of local markets at once, but while Verizon has been negotiating with local authorities, AT&T has flippantly ignored the regulations and began “upgrading” their service without even trying to negotiate, stating that, “We don’t believe we need a cable franchise,” and waiting for municipalities to try and stop them. Of course, when Walnut Creek, California did just that back in December, they got sued. Way to go, AT&T, you show those cities who’s in charge! Shame on them for thinking they could have control over what goes into their neighborhoods!

Sen. Stevens sees tough road for deal on video law [Washington Post via Broadband Reports]