I appreciate your well intentioned comments, but let's be real for a sec and break down some of these AT&T talking points. The merger extending coverage to 97% of Americans is just not true for a couple reasons. 1) If you overlay AT&T's network to that of T-mobile's it only extends coverage to 1% more Americans than are currently covered. 2) As Joe pointed out in his editorial, AT&T discussed extending it's coverage to 97% of Americans for less than 10% of what this merger would cost. So we clearly don't need this merger in order to make that happen, and it's frustrating that you regurgitate that talking point because it has been used to garner support from grasstops and astroturf organizations, but let me tell you as an organization that does work on the ground with communities of color we know better than that. Lastly, it's simple economics, investment does in fact create jobs and AT&T has already promised Wall Street to cut investments by $10 billion. The $8 billion they're promising to invest in the next 6 years pales in comparison to the $3 billion that T-mobile has on average spent the last 5 years. More Mergers=More Problems.”
“It is true that communities of color are crossing the digital divide through mobile technology but we're still not living in a period of time in which mobile is a complete replacement for a wireline connection. Try applying for a job or submitting your application for section 8 on a phone. Secondly, what type of internet are we leading our communities to when AT&T lobbied extensively to ensure that rules of net neutrality (the rules which ensure no content can be discriminated against on the web) did not apply to mobile broadband. So yes, true that communities of color are going to the internet via phones, but what does it matter when even on that digital platform are communities are given less than what they deserve.”
“Thank you for speaking the truth about the merger, the truth is that our struggling economy can't afford this merger. We can't afford to lose more jobs, to further concentrate wealth in fewer hands, and to give away the most transformative democratic tool of our time (the internet) to a corporation that has constantly reminded us that put profits over people.”
“As far as I can tell the economics that MMTC understands is the one that permits companies to make as much money as they'd like off a necessary utility like the internet. I come from and work in communities that you deem under-served and let me tell you, those economic principles that led to basic duopolies of internet service providers in most communities in the United States have failed people of color and indigenous peoples. The only detachment from reality I see is from your side that really believes that in order for our communities to "get served" these rich corporations need to make more money. You know nothing about Cyril, and you clearly know nothing about the real struggles in our community.”
“Thank you Malkia for breaking down the real struggle for an open internet. While I appreciate the intentions behind Mr. Steele's comments, the truth is our communities (people of color, immigrants, indigenous people) have never benefited from free market economics.
Steele is concerned with a lack of competition if stricter regulations where in place. The truth is that where I'm from the only game in town is Comcast or Qwest and both aren't affordable options.
I'd invite Mr. Steele and other national civil rights organizations to come to Minneapolis (where I live) and visit with the very people they say they represent so they can hear first hand why broadband as a universal service and strong net neutrality rules are critical in the fight to bridge the digital divide.”