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Policy

6:30pm June 27, 2011

Butterfield Leads Democrats in Supporting AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

G.K. Butterfield

By a letter dated June 24, Congressmen G.K. Butterfield, D-North Carolina, and Gene Green, D-Texas, led dozens of their colleagues in filing comments to the Federal Communications Commission in support of the pending AT&T/T-Mobile USA merger.

In total, 76 Democrats from the House of Representatives signed on to the letter, of which 20 members of the Congressional Black Caucus cosigned on the effort, including Representatives G.K. Butterfield, Alcee Hastings, Gregory Meeks, Sanford Bishop, William “Lacy” Clay Jr., Al Green, Chaka Fattah, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr., Eddie Bernice Johnson, Donna M. Christensen, Jesse L. Jackson Jr., Corrine Brown, Cedric Richmond, Yvette Clarke, Frederica Wilson, Marcia Fudge, Karen Bass, David Scott, Terri Sewell and Danny K. Davis.

In describing the impetus behind filing supportive comments, Butterfield said that “this merger represents an opportunity to deliver a better wireless product that will benefit all, including those in rural areas. We are encouraging the FCC and the DOJ to consider a number of important factors during the review process, including the proposed increases in coverage to those living in rural and underserved areas.”

Butterfield represents the 1st district of North Carolina, comprising 23 counties, of which 97.5% is rural and could benefit tremendously from increased access to reliable and affordable broadband.  Just over half of his district (50.9%) is African American.

Butterfield sees this merger as a real opportunity to promote job-creating opportunities for those most in need.  He also recognizes AT&T’s commitment to diversity and to deploying broadband to rural communities as among his top reasons for supporting the merger.

Nationally, unemployment for African Americans is nearly double that of the general population.  The situation is particularly tenuous for African Americans living in rural areas who lack access to the non-farm private sector jobs where the most growth is currently being had on the economic development front.

According to the members of congress supporting this deal, “As a part of their merger proposal, AT&T has committed to building a next-generation wireless broadband network that will cover 97 percent of Americans. The fact is, we live in an information age that requires high-speed broadband as part of our basic infrastructure. Without high-speed wireless broadband access, rural Americans and our rural economies will be left behind. The 76 Democratic signatories represent a large and diverse spectrum of the caucus; all united in our desire to make the President’s pledge of nationwide, next generation wireless broadband services a reality.”

The 76 members of congress made clear their support of President Barack Obama’s goal of reaching near ubiquitous deployment of wireless broadband over the next five years, saying that “those digital connections will drive investment and innovation in new technologies and services and move the American economy forward to ensure our nation’s continuing global competitiveness.”

They also emphasized “the potential for ubiquitous, wireless broadband throughout our nation [to] be a significant benefit for the millions of Americans that may not otherwise see those benefits, including our constituents living in rural and underserved communities.”

Keeping the benefits of mobile applications and services front of mind, the members were adamant in their support of next generation wireless broadband and pledged to help bring to fruition the president’s pledge of securing universal connectivity for America.



About the Author

Kristal High
Kristal Lauren High co-founded and serves as Editor in Chief of Politic365. She also operates her own communications and creative engagement company. Prior to launching the publication, Kristal developed an expertise in broadband adoption among minority, low-income and underserved populations through her work with the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies’ Media & Technology Institute. Throughout her career, Kristal has worked with national civil rights and civic associations, business leaders, minority elected officials, and Fortune 500 brands on an array of issues pertaining to the leveraged use of the Internet for online coalition building, stakeholder outreach, political advocacy and multimedia production. For her efforts in online advocacy and web publishing, Kristal received the New York Urban League Young Professionals Digital Renaissance Award and the NAACP’s Leadership 500 Chairman’s Leadership Award. She was also named to the Digital Sisterhood Network’s Top 100 Digital Sisters of the Year and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Black Broadcaster’s Association. Kristal is also the recipient of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation's Excellence in Communications award, and has been named to two top 40 Under 40 lists - the Lawyers of Color Hot List and the National Bar Association's/IMPACT Nation's Best Advocates list.




 
 

 
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8 Comments


  1. [...] today reported that G.K. Butterfield, Democrat of North Carolina, led over 70 Democrats in supporting AT&T, [...]


  2. John_Q_Public

    It is great to see members of Congress taking creative approaches to spurring job creation. Let's hope their support speeds up the review and approval of this transaction.


  3. S. W.

    Here's to hoping that the merger will produce true opportunity in the matters of employment and rural access to mobile broadband… Go Dems!


  4. Brenda Lowe

    This is the saddest day when smart people do dumb things. Ask the 500,000plus workers who were laid off as a result of the mergers of the past ten years. Obviously, non of these people have ever been employed in the industry.


  5. [...] other Democrats, such as North Carolina Representative G.K. Butterfield and Gene Green of Texas, support the merger—as does the traditionally Democratic-leaning Communications Workers of [...]


  6. [...] the merger, among them crucial telecom players in the House like Gene Green (D-TX), who circulated apro-merger lettersigned by 76 members of his [...]


  7. [...] merger, among them crucial telecom players in the House like Gene Green (D-TX), who circulated a pro-merger letter signed by 76 members of his [...]


  8. AT&T/T-Mobile as a genuine open door to advertise employment making open doors for those most in need. A merger is said to be the point at which two associations coincide on the choice of being one; its the common choice. Thanks for the sharing the post.



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