An alderman says AT&T is redlining parts of Evanston by not extending its new U-Verse video and Internet service to certain parts of town.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said the section of her ward east of Ridge Avenue and south of Oakton Street has been completely excluded from the service.

“Everybody in town ought to have access to this service,” Rainey said, but “it’s come to my attention through complaints that all neighborhoods are not being treated equally.”

Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, said parts of her ward can’t get the service either.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said he’d invited representatives of AT&T to come to Tuesday’s Rules Committee meeting where the issue was discussed.


An alderman says AT&T is redlining parts of Evanston by not extending its new U-Verse video and Internet service to certain parts of town.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said the section of her ward east of Ridge Avenue and south of Oakton Street has been completely excluded from the service.

“Everybody in town ought to have access to this service,” Rainey said, but “it’s come to my attention through complaints that all neighborhoods are not being treated equally.”

Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, said parts of her ward can’t get the service either.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said he’d invited representatives of AT&T to come to Tuesday’s Rules Committee meeting where the issue was discussed.

Bobkiewicz said the At&T employees refused to attend and said that under the state-wide franchise for the service the company is allowed to offer its services in any way it chooses.

Bobkiewicz said they also refused to share information about where in Evanston the service is now available, saying that was proprietary information.

“It’s an economic decision by AT&T to redline certain portions of this town, huge portions,” Rainey said.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, said he’d been reading the over 120-page long state statute governing the AT&T service. “They haven’t lived up to their end of the bargain, Wilson said, adding that there are provisions in the statute to prevent discrimination in offering the service.

The aldermen asked city staff to contact area lawmakers and the state attorney general’s office in an effort to address the issue.

Do U have U-verse?

We’re curious about where U-verse service is available in Evanston. If you’ve got it, send us a news tip with your address. Or post a comment on this story. And let us know whether you’re happy with the service. If you’ve tried to get it and been turned down — let us know that, too.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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5 Comments

  1. Gee. . .
    When AT&T pushed the state to enact a state franchise many of us who deal with these issues regularly tried to tell local and state officials that it would lead to fewer consumer protections and to cherry picking (ie redlining). No one in Evanston wanted to soeak to us, and the state was too enthralled with the tecom lobbyist’s money and promises. Guess what alderman, ATT is ALLOWED to redline by law. And all those telco promises have been for naught ( http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/104122).

    For a — supposedly — sophisticated city, Evanston has no real telecom policy or growth plan, and no desire to confront AT&T over their decrepit infrastructure or abuse of rights of way.

  2. Working U-verse location and distance info
    I have U-verse service which is working well near the corner of Isabella/Prairie. My service is connected to the VRAD at Livingston/Stewart.

    I know some folks who have it near Main/Hinman and are happy with it.

    Overall the service seems pretty nice. The AT&T tech who did my installation last week mentioned that currently the signal starts getting problematic at 3000ft of line length from the VRAD, but they plan on starting doing pair-bonding soon to be able to offer reliable service to those further from a VRAD, out to around 4000 – 4500 ft.

  3. Uverse, where is it?
    I live in the 1st ward, and I cannot get Uverse despite having several boxes recently installed in nearby parkways. I check with AT&T frequently, and all they tell me is that it isn’t yet available.

  4. Works for me
    in the 3rd Ward near Main and Forest. It took about 4 months after the VRAD boxes were installed for the U-verse service to become available. The boxes themselves went in pretty quick, but the wiring work took a long time. The AT&T trucks were a permanent fixture on Main for a while.

    On the subject of the slow and selective installation in the city, of course it’s an economic decision. I can imagine that they will be operating U-Verse at a tremendous loss for a number of years; the infrastructure is expensive. Any business would have to factor the income demographic of a neighborhood and aim for a fairly high participation rate for their business plan to work. Why go through the expense of installation in a neighborhood where there’s less chance that households will buy in? Plus, consider the density of housing; there are a number of multi-tenant residences in my neighborhood that effectively reduces the installation cost per household. The density further west and north drops off to more single family detached houses making installation less attractive.

    As participation increases, AT&T will see Evanston as profitable and the U-Verse service will expand into more places. So encourage your neighbors to switch if you want to see the service expand. Menawhile, enjoy the lower Comcast pricing as they now have to compete to attract and keep customers.

  5. AT&T Boxes—what is the location logic ?
    I see a number of the boxes on Foster and Noyes between Sheridan and Ridge but few [at least that I noticed] elsewhere. From Ridge and Noyes to at least Greenbay and north to Isabella, I’m only aware of one [I think that is what it is]–on Poplar south of Central.
    My first guess was higher density around Foster and Noyes but the few others would not cover such a large area.
    Not that I miss them !

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