AT&T Discriminated Against Low-Income Neighborhoods, Study Finds – BuzzFeed (Mar 11, 2017)
Depending on your perspective, this is either the broadband industry’s dirty little secret, or a natural consequence of the investment characteristics of fiber broadband. What’s happening here is that broadband providers like AT&T tend to invest the most in broadband infrastructure in areas where they’re likeliest to see a return on that investment, in other words those areas where takeup is likely to be highest, which in turn are disproportionately going to be more affluent. In the past, some cities have required universal coverage as part of franchise agreements to avoid this kind of redlining, but that has changed in recent years, at least in part because of Google Fiber. Google’s big innovation in deploying fiber was to encourage municipalities to bend over backwards to get the service, which turned the usual model of cities extracting concessions from providers on its head. AT&T then said to the same cities that it was happy to deploy fiber on the same basis if it was offered the same inducements and benefits, thus enabling its rapid deployment of fiber-to-the-home infrastructure in recent years. This FTTN infrastructure predates that model, but we’re going to see a lot more of this redlining in the years to come, and cities only have themselves to blame if they allow companies to operate in this way. Meanwhile, this ability to redline is the single biggest driver of faster broadband deployment in the US today, even if access to that faster broadband remains very uneven.
The company, topic, and narrative tags below will take you to other posts with the same tags. The narrative link(s) will also take you to the narrative essay which provides additional context behind the post.
Vote for or share this post
Use the Like button below to vote for this post as one of the most important of the week. The posts voted most important are more likely to be included in the News Roundup podcast episode I do each week. Or use the sharing buttons to share a link to this post to social networks or other services.