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  THE LOW INCOME & URBAN HOUSING BLOG  

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Is This Fortune 500 Company Discriminating Against Low Income Neighborhoods?

Low income family

AT&T is again under fire, this time for discriminating against low-income neighborhoods in Cleveland, Ohio. How? By not upgrading home Internet and video technologies in poor neighborhoods. The accusations come from two nonprofit groups, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) and Connect Your Community (CYC).
A long history of discrimination

Both groups reached their conclusion after analyzing AT&T data that was provided to the Federal Communications Commission. Further, they allege that AT&T's discriminatory practices have been going on for ten years.

Their recent statement says, “AT&T has systematically discriminated against lower-income Cleveland neighborhoods in its deployment of home Internet and video technologies over the past decade.”

Redlining

The type of discrimination the groups are referring to is called "redlining," or in their case, "digital redlining." Redlining is an illegal practice in real estate lending where lenders deny housing loans to people based on race. In the case of AT&T, the accusation is that they are denying high-speed fixed broadband service to low-income neighborhoods in Cleveland.

According to both NDIA and CYC, data collected shows that AT&T "failed to upgrade its network in low-income Cleveland neighborhoods while deploying a high-speed fiber network to wealthier areas within the metropolitan area,” stated Phillip Berenbroick, senior policy counsel at Public Knowledge, an advocacy group. Only 34 percent of urban neighborhoods have upgraded, fiber-enhanced service, compared to the 61 percent in Cuyahoga County who do have access to improved service.

For more details, visit www.thehill.com/policy/technology/323405-report-accuses-att-of-discriminating-against-low-income-cleveland


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