Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 12:17pm
IS AT&T AVOIDING POOR, MINORITY NEIGHBORHOODS?
[SOURCE: The (Munster, IN) Times, AUTHOR: Charles Emory, Pilgrim Baptist Church]
[Commentary] To be sure, leaders at the federal and local level are working feverishly to spread broadband across the nation, reforming existing programs to support infrastructure investment, and experimenting with new ideas like the "Connect Kentucky" model that has helped increase the demand for broadband services in that state. But here in Indiana, we seem to have hit a roadblock on the path to broadband ubiquity. As reported in the Indiana Business Journal, AT&T is alone among broadband providers in refusing to divulge where it has deployed its fiber-optic U-Verse service. So the public has no way of knowing which households can access the lightning-fast service capable of delivering broadband, television and phone -- and which households are being left behind, perhaps because of their income, race or geography. Our elected leaders ought to act now to remedy AT&T's startling lack of cooperation and candor with regard to its fiber build-out. The public deserves some level of disclosure to ensure that broadband discrimination does not occur, and if the company refuses to comply, then lawmakers ought to revisit the video franchising legislation that exempted AT&T from the build-out obligations to which every other provider has adhered.
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