Tuesday, October 3, 2017

AT&T Denies Multi-City Racism and Redlining Allegations -

AT&T Denies Multi-City Racism and Redlining Allegations - AT&T is flatly denying repeated claims that the company is intentionally failing to upgrade broadband in low-income and minority neighborhoods. The company has been hit with FCC complaints and a threat of lawsuit in recent months after data indicated the company wasn't bothering to upgrade users in lower-income areas of cities like Cleveland and Detroit . Critics used FCC data to highlight how AT&T is simply refusing to to upgrade to VDSL across the majority of inner city census blocks, "including the overwhelming majority of blocks with individual poverty rates above 35%." Groups like the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) and Connect Your Community (CYC) have argued that the data, left, speaks for itself. AT&T however continues to flatly deny that race or income plays any role in the company's determination of which areas provide the best return on investment. Traditionally companies like AT&T don't, however, reveal any data highlighting how broadband deployment is determined, arguing such data contains sensitive competitive information. "We do not redline," AT&T said in a statement to Fierce Telecom . "Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is unparalleled." "Our investment decisions are based on the cost of deployment and demand for our services and are of course fully compliant with the requirements of the Communications Act," AT&T said. "We will vigorously defend the complaint." But civil rights groups believe AT&T is lying, and state that inner city Cleveland and Detroit are just two of several areas where AT&T's investment decisions are helping widen the digital divide. "AT&T's arrogance and blatant disregard for low-income minority communities do not end with Detroit or Cleveland," said Daryl Parks, who is representing the under-served customers. "We are seeing a very discouraging pattern across the country. There are more cities, states and complainants to come."

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