Op-Ed – Rural America Stands To Win Big In The AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

Rural America Stands To Win Big In The AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

By Brad Colglazier: Rozel City, Kansas Councilman

To the Editor:

Currently, the FCC is reviewing a proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. If successful, the union of these two wireless providers will make 4G LTE technology available to over 97% of the U.S. population.

Although the merger has important implications for many regions of the country, it is particularly significant for those living in small towns or rural areas. These communities often struggle to get reliable wireless service. The problem is compounded by rapidly expanding spectrum demand caused by unprecedented growth of mobile broadband devices such as smart phones and tablet computers. In fact, demand is expected to surpass capacity by 2014. Unfortunately, this will leave rural and small town America with even less broadband access than ever before.

Should the FCC approve the merger, wireless broadband technology will be available to many of the nearly thirty percent of rural households that do not have access to the latest technology. This will effectively shrink the distance between remote communities and their urban counterparts. From a strictly economic standpoint, the merger will pave the way for billions of dollars of investment by AT&T that will create jobs in rural and underserved areas. As broadband access spreads to these regions, additional jobs will be created as existing businesses grow and new ones take root. Universal broadband access will truly allow any company – big or small, urban or rural – to compete in the global marketplace.

Combining AT&T and T-Mobile will extend wireless broadband access to millions more Americans than would have access if the two companies were not permitted to combine. Not only will the merger be universally beneficial, but it will also be an economic game-changer for rural America.

Sincerely,

 

Brad Colglazier

Rozel City, Kansas Councilman

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