Lawyer takes action as AT&T denies ‘red lining’ accusation

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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AT&T denies it discriminates against poorer areas in broadband investment decisions

AT&T is facing legal action in the US over which technology is uses for broadband in different districts of Cleveland, Ohio.

The action follows a report by the US National Digital Inclusion Alliance, working with Connect Your Community, which claimed that better-off neighbourhoods of the city were fibred, while poorer areas were left with slower ADSL.

Now, according to Washington-based political news service The Hill, a civil rights lawyer is filing a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Daryl Parks is acting on behalf of three women who say that their areas “don’t have access to the same broadband services as the surrounding suburbs”, said The Hill.

This process is called “red lining”, but AT&T denied the accusation. Joan Marsh, AT&T’s chief regulatory and external affairs officer, told The Hill: “We do not redline. … We will vigorously defend the complaint filed today.”

She said the company’s investment decisions were “based on the cost of deployment and demand for our services”.