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Friday, June 24, 2011

Media Literacy Project Opposes AT&T and T-Mobile Merger

The Media Literacy Project (MLP) has released a statement publicly communicating its opposition to the AT&T and T-Mobile merger. If the FCC and Department of Justice approve this merger, it would eliminate jobs, increase prices and threaten consumer choice, according the the MLP.

The Media Literacy Project joins a national debate on the detrimental impacts of the merger on jobs, innovation and consumer choice. The news has already generated a wave of public comments, with the Federal Communications Commission opposing the merger. As public comment on the merger closed on Wednesday, the Media Literacy Project released its statement against the merger.

Andrea Quijada, the Executive Director of Media Literacy Project, issued the following comments:

“If the FCC and Department of Justice approve the merger, AT&T and Verizon will control 80 percent of the market. New Mexicans will be in a dire communications circumstance where they have no real choice in their cell phone providers and little recourse to hold their providers accountable for anti-consumer behavior. We know that many New Mexicans depend on their mobile devices to apply for jobs, access health information and stay connected to their families. But because the wireless market is unregulated, many New Mexicans will be vulnerable to slowed or blocked content and unexpected fees.”

“We know from AT&T’s past that they have no hesitation in cutting jobs to pad their bottom line. Currently, T-Mobile employs 1,700 New Mexicans at its two Albuquerque call centers. Already New Mexico faces a 19 percent poverty level and cutting more jobs will leave many more families scrambling to make ends meet. New Mexico is already buckling under the economic crisis and we can’t afford another blow to jobs.”

“Poverty rates are statistically higher in rural communities than in urban communities. This puts New Mexican families at a disadvantage when prices for data and voice plans from national carriers typically remain the same whether the consumer lives in a metropolitan or rural area. If prices increase, it will definitely be difficult for many families nationwide to be able to afford their voice and data plans. But it will be especially difficult on many New Mexican families. We can’t let AT&T and T-Mobile increase prices that will leave New Mexico hit the hardest.”

“It’s clear that AT&T already doesn’t invest enough in its rural broadband network. The call quality and reliability of its network is low. Instead of purchasing T-Mobile’s licenses for $39 billion, AT&T should divert these funds toward updating and improving its existing rural area network infrastructure. They don’t need to buy T-Mobile to better serve rural New Mexico.”

Media Literacy Project is a non-profit organization that advances education and advocacy for media justice.

Note: For additional perspectives on the proposed merger, see our previous posts relating the views of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission's Jason Marks (which has accumulated a significant number of new comments on the thread), as well as a guest blog on the subject by Glenda Winternheimer of the Communication Workers of America.

June 24, 2011 at 09:58 AM in Media, NM Public Regulation Commission, Regulation, Telecommunications | Permalink

Comments

OK, I am admittedly a union hack with a horse in this race, but here is a follow up questions for the media literate.

Deutsche Telekom parent of T-mobile is pulling out of the U.S. market. Somebody is going to buy them. How do we feel about the worker's rights history of Sprint Nextel? They're next in line to bid.

Posted by: Miles Conway | Jun 24, 2011 3:51:42 PM

Something for the CWA to share, then consider.

http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5623/p/salsa/web/blog/public/entries?blog_entry_KEY=1679

Posted by: Hakim Bellamy | Jun 29, 2011 2:08:46 PM