Verizon Maryland President William R. Roberts [letters, Oct. 22] mischaracterized the Oct. 15 op-ed by the late C. Delores Tucker, which derided the telephone "monopolies that want to trample our civil rights traditions" by discriminating in the provision of advanced broadband services.

Mr. Roberts defended Verizon by arguing that DSL service is available in the D.C. area, but DSL service is not the matter with which Ms. Tucker took issue. She focused on Verizon's much-touted FiOS network, which is capable of delivering video services and from which Verizon is systematically excluding most of the District.

Mr. Roberts also did not mention that FiOS is being deployed to communities in Prince George's County that have a median household income of about $80,000 or above. Meanwhile, Verizon is leaving communities such as Oxon Hill, Temple Hills and District Heights out in the cold.

Rather than obscuring its discriminatory practices, Verizon should pledge to abide by the antidiscrimination laws that apply to other providers of video services. That would truly honor the cause that C. Delores Tucker represented so ably.



The writer is chairman of the National Black Church Initiative's Ministers Alliance and pastor of First Adventist Church.