AT&T recently announced that it will discontinue DSL sales nationally and disconnect 160,000 DSL customers, only some of whom have access to another wireline service from AT&T. Meanwhile, these communities are counting on the FCC to ensure reliable and uninterrupted access to broadband.
On Wednesday, CWA, Public Knowledge, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, Next Century Cities, Common Cause, and the Greenlining Institute submitted a filing to the FCC warning that the FCC's deregulatory agenda leaves the agency powerless to protect Americans from losing critical broadband connections during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"It is unconscionable that AT&T would disconnect thousands of existing DSL customers, many of whom likely do not have another fixed broadband option, during a pandemic," said CWA Senior Researcher Brian Thorn. "AT&T is making the digital divide worse and failing its customers and workers by not investing in crucial buildout of fiber-optic infrastructure. This failure, combined with the FCC's lack of oversight, means AT&T may leave thousands of customers without a viable internet option."
The company reported a total of 469,000 DSL subscribers as of June 30, 2020, and for those subscribers not immediately cut off from DSL service, AT&T says they will "not be able to perform service changes after September 30, 2020."