Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, an NDIA affiliate that provides legal services for low-income residents in the Dayton and Toledo areas, released the following statement this morning:


DATE: March 22, 2017

AT&T Fails To Invest in Low-Income Montgomery County Neighborhoods

Earlier this month the National Digital Inclusion Alliance and Connect Your Community, a Cleveland based organization, published a report indicating that AT&T had “systematically discriminated against lower income Cleveland neighborhoods in its deployment of home internet and video technologies over the last decade.”

The organizations reviewed broadband availability data submitted by AT&T to the Federal Communications Commission for June 2016 to reach its conclusions, suggesting that the company withheld broadband improvements from neighborhoods with high poverty rates while upgrading its network in other parts of Cuyahoga County. (click here for the report)

“On behalf of the Edgemont Neighborhood Coalition, we requested the same analysis for the AT&T service territory in Montgomery County,” says Ellis Jacobs, senior attorney with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE). “That territory includes the eastern half of the County and all of the City of Dayton.”

The analysis shows that AT&T has failed to upgrade its network in low income neighborhoods, including most of the City of Dayton, while deploying a high-speed fiber based network in wealthier suburban areas. “The company has upgraded areas around the City to its mainstream technology (Fiber to the Node, VDSL) but has failed to do that in Dayton, leaving those neighborhoods with an older, much slower technology (ADSL-2),” adds Jacobs.

A map of the Montgomery County AT&T service area showing where AT&T has invested and where it has not invested can be found here. (Note: The gray area on the West side of the map is another company’s territory and was not reviewed for this analysis. Only the green areas have high speed service.)

According to Jacobs, “this has all the appearances of ‘digital redlining,’ discrimination against residents of lower income urban neighborhoods in the type of infrastructure AT&T installs and the type of broadband service it offers. High-speed internet is a critical modern day utility. Without it, residents and businesses are at a distinct disadvantage.”

The principle of Universal Service has been at the heart of telecommunication policy in the United States since 1934. That principle recognizes that telecommunication services are essential, that we all do better when everyone is connected. “There should be no discrimination in the provision of services,” says Jacobs.

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Ellis Jacobs
Attorney at Law
937/535-4419 or 937/305-6735
[email protected]

Patricia J. Robb
Communications Director
419/930-2517 or 419/350-6017
[email protected]

The following quote can be attributed to Angela Siefer, Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance –
“AT&T’s broadband infrastructure buildout in Dayton looks very similar to Cleveland, that is – low-income neighborhoods are less likely to have more recent broadband investment, And just as with Cleveland, we can clearly define this as digital redlining. Lack of investment equals lack of competition which means slows speeds and higher service costs in those neighborhoods.”