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A new mapping analysis of Federal Communications Commission broadband availability data, released today by Connect Your Community and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, strongly suggests that AT&T has systematically discriminated against lower-income Cleveland neighborhoods in its deployment of home Internet and video technologies over the past decade.
Our analysis, based on newly released FCC Form 477 Census block data, provides clear evidence that AT&T has withheld fiber-enhanced broadband improvements from most Cleveland neighborhoods with high poverty rates – including Hough, Glenville, Central, Fairfax, South Collinwood, St. Clair-Superior, Detroit-Shoreway, Stockyards and others.
Cleveland’s Ashbury Senior Computer Community Center (ASC3) is helping more than six hundred lower-income homes stay connected though 4G wireless, thanks to the organization’s longstanding partnership with nonprofit Sprint reseller Mobile Citizen.
The affordable service, which was interrupted for almost a year when Sprint tried to unilaterally impose severe data caps — cutting off access for months for hundreds of ASC3 clients — was restored in February 2016, thanks to successful litigation by Mobile Citizen. ASC3 quickly re-connected 350 households. A year later, that number has grown to 600, and ASC3 is in the process of renewing that first wave of subscriptions for another year, while constantly adding new households.
“We’ve found that Mobile Citizen is a great affordable Internet solution for many of our neighbors across the city”, says ASC3 Executive Director Wanda Davis. “The wireless connection is slower in some places — which is why we provide a trial period for new users — and subscribers pay for the whole year at one time, which is sometimes challenging. So it isn’t the right approach for everyone, but it’s been a wonderful option for hundreds of our families.”
ASC3’s Mobile Citizen program offers Sprint 4G mobile Internet accounts to lower-income households for about $130 a year — about $11 a month. First-time subscribers must also purchase a Sprint mobile wifi device for $89. ASC3 makes subscriptions available to qualifying residents thoughout great Cleveland.
For information call ASC3 at 216-421-2305 during business hours.