An AT&T executive spoke with members of a Dallas city council committee on Monday and addressed what has been described as a “digital divide,” with regard to internet access between the northern and southern halves of the city.
Last week, councilmember Lee Kleinman expressed his frustration about the widely perceived lack of broadband internet access in southern Dallas, an area that is largely made up of low-income minorities
“It’s a shame that the city that hosts the largest communications company in the world, AT&T, the largest communications company in the world, has a digital divide like we do in the city,” Kleinman said.
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“We need to call them out and shame them into providing services.”
In response to that claim, an AT&T spokesperson disputed the accusation that the company is somehow purposefully overlooking a large portion of its home city.
The spokesperson pointed out that AT&T has deployed more internet fiber per capita in southern Dallas than it has across the rest of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
A different company executive, suggested the lack of adoption for high-speed Internet in southern Dallas to date may have less to do with access and more to do with awareness.
“There is near-universal access to broadband in Dallas, but unfortunately in many neighborhoods they are not taking it. They are not adopting. They are not finding it relevant. They are finding it, in some cases, overly costly for them, or they don’t know about it,” said Mike Peterson, Vice President of External Affairs for AT&T, to the Dallas council committee on Monday.
Peterson noted that his company has seen a sharp spike in traffic, both in terms of data and telephone usage, in the previous 10 weeks.
AT&T continues to honor its pledge that it will not terminate service for customers who cannot pay their bills during the ongoing pandemic, and that it will also continue to waive late payment fees, and data overage charges, as well.