A Buffalo, N.Y., group is accusing Verizon (NYSE:VZ) of deliberately excluding minority communities from its FiOS TV and Internet footprint, and is demanding the service provider step up to the plate and offer the services to the northern New York city on Lake Erie, where minorities make up about 45 percent of the city's population.
The "Don't Bypass Buffalo" coalition cites a report that says "Verizon's decision not to offer FiOS to the people of Buffalo leaves people of color unable to access the same state-of-the-art service as their neighbors." The group says neighboring communities, with minority populations under 5 percent, have gotten FiOS services.
"We believe that corporations in general should be good public citizens and good public stewards," said Alison Duwe, a spokesperson for the Coalition for Economic Justice, which is working with Don't Bypass Buffalo. "And this seems like a clear case of Verizon Corporation, which is a highly-profitable, multi-national company, choosing to invest only in suburban areas and by passing the city of Buffalo."
Verizon, for its part, is scheduled to meet with the Don't Bypass Buffalo leadership next week.
"I don't want to say it's a racial issue," said coalition founder Janique Curry. "I think it's just something they haven't looked at. The numbers are definitely there, and the numbers definitely indicate something. But I don't want to say that's why they've determined why they're not coming into the city of Buffalo yet."
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