AT&T took $283 million but didn’t deploy required broadband, Mississippi says

A man with an umbrella walking past a building with an AT&T logo.

Enlarge / A man walks with an umbrella outside of AT&T corporate headquarters on March 13, 2020, in Dallas, Texas. (credit: Getty Images | Ronald Martinez)

AT&T falsely told the US government that it met its obligation to deploy broadband at more than 133,000 locations in Mississippi, state officials say.

Since 2015, AT&T has received over $283 million from the Federal Communications Commission's Connect America Fund to expand its network in Mississippi. But the Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) said it has evidence that AT&T's fixed-wireless broadband is not available to all the homes and businesses where AT&T claims it offers service. The PSC asked the FCC to conduct "a complete compliance audit" of AT&T's claim that it has met its obligation.

"Our investigation has found concrete, specific examples that show AT&T Mississippi has reported location addresses... as being served when, in fact, the addresses are without service under their [Connect America Fund] obligations," said a letter to the FCC sent Tuesday by all three Mississippi PSC commissioners. "This pattern of submitting false data to the USAC [the Universal Service Administrative Company, which administers the program on the FCC's behalf] merits a full compliance audit by the FCC, USAC, or whichever appropriate agency. We feel it is our duty to alert you to this issue."

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