Sunday, November 18, 2007

AT&T engaged in digital infrastructure redlining, telecom prof says

Barry Orton, a University of Wisconsin at Madison telecommunications professor, says AT&T's actions show the big telco is engaged in digital redlining in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports AT&T has deployed its fiber-copper hybrid U-verse infrastructure in parts of Racine and Milwaukee. But if the company decides to offer service in Madison or elsewhere, it won't announce the rollout, AT&T spokesman Jeff Bentoff told the newspaper. Rather, Bentoff said, AT&T will contact consumers individually through direct mail and door-to-door visits.
"When it 's available, we 'll let them know, " Bentoff said.

AT&T's rollout strategy shows the big telco wants to select the neighborhoods in which to offer advanced telecommunications services, Orton says, unlike cable agreements with local governments that typically require providers to serve the entire jurisdiction. "That 's what this is fundamentally about -- the ability to cherry-pick neighborhoods, " Orton said.

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