The recent announcement of AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile from German Deutche Telekom should come as welcome news to entrepreneurs and small business owners across the country. If approved, this union will increase access to 4G LTE networks to 95 percent of the nation -- meaning that real high-speed Internet access will become the rule, not the exception to our online interactions. What's more, those who rely on the "new" network will be able to receive the benefits of added infrastructural support -- more spectrum, more cell towers, and greater efficiency all around.
Now, to some like me who are immersed in the world of technology, these possibilities alone are profoundly exciting. But here's what this deal could mean to people who don't focus on technology everyday. If the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission approve this deal, we'll have access to more robust wireless networks delivering higher speed Internet that will further promote the potential of broadband to bolster job creation, economic development, education and health care opportunities. Also in some of the most rural areas where wireless coverage was sparse, it will not be complete.
On the jobs front, it's going to take more manpower (or woman power as the case may be) to build out AT&T's LTE network. From engineers and statisticians to programmer and installers, accomplishing this feat will require the creation of new jobs. Likewise, it provides new market opportunities for mobile content and application creators who will be able to tailor their products to a more robust wireless network. And it supports the business needs of small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country by enabling access to stronger, more efficient and reliable communications networks.
At root, if this merger is approved, we can likely expect: an increase in the quality of the services customers are able to receive and a potential reduction in the costs associated with mobile service in points across the nation. Moreover, as has been the case over the past ten years, when mergers like this occur, American industry has been able to maintain a competitive mobile market, and the costs for mobile services has actually decreased.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski echoed this sentiment in his remarks during the CTIA Wireless Trade Show in Orlando, Florida earlier this week, noting that "It's essential that we move quickly -- not only because of the benefits of action, but because of the costs of inaction."
"If we do nothing in the face of the looming spectrum crunch," he said, "many consumers will face higher prices -- as the market is forced to respond to supply and demand -- and frustrating service - connections that drop, apps that run unreliably or too slowly." Of particular import, Genachowski noted that too much delay "would also have a disproportionate impact on minority and low-income groups who are more likely than the average American to access the Internet through a mobile device."
Each day we get new confirmation that mobile is the key to the future. This deal provides us with a promising perspective on what the future ahead could look like.
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