As a long-time digital entrepreneur and current CTO of InteractiveOne, I could tell you exactly how access to technology and mobile broadband has affected my life. Throughout my career, having access to technology has molded my personal and professional life by giving access to opportunities that were not available to many others like me.
More recently, having a reliable and fast broadband network has added not only to my story but to that of the average consumer -- as evidenced by the numerous BlackBerry, iPhone and Android users you walk by on the street.
I have often discussed the importance and effect of policy in my area of expertise -- the digital space. Online companies like the one I work for and others that I have developed over the years cannot grow their audiences, provide new services and expand their staffs to meet these opportunities unless there is reliable broadband from an efficient network.
That is why it is important for policymakers to make decisions that encourage investment in the technological realm.
And that brings me to the issue of the AT&T's proposed purchase of T-Mobile USA. The benefits of this merger, both to underserved communities and to budding digital entrepreneurs, are innumerable. Not only will the increased coverage allow others to become involved in applications development who may otherwise have lacked sufficient coverage to do so, it will also supply services to network operators and assist in network management.
It is my hope that the power of the merged companies, with extended reach and larger area of deployment, will encourage further innovation and inspire entrepreneurship among those within underserved communities.
Access to wireless technologies has already helped the African-American community to lessen the digital divide by providing a lower-cost alternative to a wired broadband connection. As found by the Mobile Access 2010 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, African Americans are the fastest adopting users of smartphones and broadband-enabled mobile devices. In addition, this group is using these devices as their primary Internet connections.
This merger, which brings with it a promise of reaching an additional 55 million people and ultimately connecting over 97 percent of Americans to advanced 4G LTE service, will only help advance the digital connection of African Americans.
The expanded network not only will allow more consumers to utilize broadband-enabled technologies but also will provide a benefit to established and future entrepreneurs by providing them with an expanded market audience. The more people with connections, the bigger the benefit and improvement to any community.
The Internet is a cutting-edge resource that holds a world of possibility. We need to make sure that all Americans have access to the opportunities that come with a high-speed broadband connection.