Cleveland residents file formal FCC complaint over alleged AT&T redlining

Posted at 12:27 PM, Aug 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-25 12:54:54-04

Cleveland residents are officially fighting back about what they say is 'digital redlining' by AT&T. 

This comes months after two organizations that advocate for equal access to the Internet accused the telecommunications giant of depriving low-income neighborhoods of fiber-enhanced broadband.

Joanne Elkins, Hattie Lanfair, and Rochelle Lee — all described as low-income, African American residents — filed the formal Federal Communications Commission complaint Thursday.

The complaint alleges that AT&T provides unjust and unreasonable discrimination in the provision of broadband internet access service and misrepresents its intent to serve all residents in Cleveland. 

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) and Connect Your Community (CYC) previously said there is "clear evidence" from the FCC that shows that AT&T conducted digital redlining, effectively blocking certain neighborhood from access to the level of internet access enjoyed by other communities.

Specifically, their accusations include: Hough, Glenville, Central, Fairfax, South Collinwood, St. Clair-Superior, Detroit-Shoreway, Stockyards, and others.

The complaint asks that the FCC find that AT&T failed to serve lower-income communities of Cleveland and issue preliminary and permanent injunctions prohibiting AT&T from engaging in discriminatory and anti-competitive conduct and practices. 

Read the complaint here.

Holly Hollingsworth, a spokesperson for AT&T, told News 5 in March that the company is continually investing in expanding service and enhancing speed.

"The report does not accurately reflect the investment we've made in bringing faster internet to urban and rural areas across the U.S. While we are investing in broadband, we’re also investing in technologies that will mitigate some of the infrastructure limitations," said Hollingsworth.