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It’s no secret that ISPs can make more money from network upgrades in wealthy neighborhoods than low-income ones, and a new analysis of Cleveland, Ohio, by broadband advocacy groups appears to show that AT&T is following that strategy.

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) and a Cleveland-based group called Connect Your Community alleged in their report today that “AT&T has systematically discriminated against lower-income Cleveland neighborhoods in its deployment of home Internet and video technologies over the past decade.”
Last year, the NDIA brought attention to AT&T’s refusal to provide $5-per-month Internet service to poor people in areas where the company hasn’t upgraded its network. When the Federal Communications Commission approved AT&T’s purchase of DirecTV in 2015, the FCC required AT&T to provide discount broadband to poor people as condition of the merger.

But the condition apparently allowed AT&T to charge full price in areas where maximum download speeds were less than 3Mbps.

After the NDIA spoke out, AT&T announced it would stop exploiting the loophole and instead provide discount Internet to poor people in all parts of its network.
Today’s followup report from the NDIA and Connect Your Community analyzes FCC data on AT&T Internet deployments in Cleveland, where many residents were initially declared ineligible for the discount broadband service.
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