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Baltimore Questions Absence Of Broadband

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Aaron Wilkes a community leader in northeast Baltimore wonders if Verizon’s decision to bypass the city with its fiber optics FiOs service is a form of economic redlining.
Cathy Duchamp
Aaron Wilkes a community leader in northeast Baltimore wonders if Verizon’s decision to bypass the city with its fiber optics FiOs service is a form of economic redlining.

By Cathy Duchamp

Washington D.C. has it. So does Philadelphia. So why hasn’t Verizon brought its “FIOs” broadband Internet service to Baltimore? The company will address claims of redlining at a public hearing Wednesday night.

For Aaron Wilkes the FIOs fight is a battle for equality.

"Lets face it, we’re in the 21st Century. There are all kinds of technology that folks should have access to. And if folks in Baltimore City don’t have access to it we’re being left behind," says Wilkes.

Wilkes leads the Darcy Park Community Association in Northeast Baltimore. He says Verizon’s decision to bypass the city with fiber optics is a form of economic redlining.

"When I look at suburban areas that have it with less population than we don't have it, makes me wonder what’s going on because even if you’re intent is not redlining you create redlining by doing that," he says.

Verizon denies the claim. In a written statement, the company says it has invested in Baltimore- with phone and internet service, and last year, a million dollars in charitable donations. Wilkes says at a minimum Verizon should stop running TV and print ads that give Baltimore residents the impression they can get FIOs service.

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