Report: Bells Red-Lining with Video Services

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Broadband Everywhere, which was founded and backed by cable operators, issued a report Tuesday charging that phone companies plan to deliver video services in mostly affluent communities with few minority-group residents.

Based on maps and demographic and U.S. Census data, Broadband Everywhere claimed that more than 90% of the towns where telcos have announced upgrades are above the national median income.

The Bells have announced plans to deploy fiber to about 570 towns and cities, and only 14 of those have majority African-American populations, according to the Broadband Everywhere report. A total of 10 of the 570 have majority Hispanic populations, the report, “A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words,” said.

On average, the telco-announced target towns are 7% African-American and only 8.3% Hispanic, well below the national averages for each demographic, according to the report.

"Consumer video choice is coming, and cable is increasingly nervous,” Verizon Communications Inc. spokesman David Fish said. “They are using the franchise process -- and phoney ploys like this -- to delay choice and competition. [Tuesday] night's unanimous vote in Hempstead [N.Y.] shows that, when exposed to the facts, people opt for video choice over cable chicanery."
Broadband Everywhere is backed by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the American Cable Association, more than one-dozen small and midsized cable operators, the Hispanic Federation and the National Congress of Black Women.