NAACP endorses AT&T deal

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Dec 12, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)

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NAACP endorses AT&T deal

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Sentinel News Service , on 06
-
03
-
2011 14:57

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NAACP endorses AT&T deal

NAACP & Minority Media and Telecommunications Council says AT&T/T
-
Mobile deal would benefit minority Americans


The Minority Media
and Telecommunications Council, the nation’s leading
civil
-
rights advocate on communications issues, has endorsed AT&T’s
proposed merger with T
-
Mobile USA.


A coalition of civil rights and intergovernmental

organizations led by the
NAACP, 100 Black Men, NN
PA and National Coalition of Black Civic
Participation also announced its support.


MMTC said its analysis found that the AT&T/T
-
Mobile merger would:




Benefit minority broadband consumers by allowing AT&T to address
capacity constraints. This will
“alleviate the pressures that could drive prices
up, drive down minority adoption, and widen the digital divide,” MMTC said.




Benefit minority telecommunications workers. “AT&T has an
extraordinary track record of minority hiring and promotion, diversity

best
practices, and neutrality towards unionization,” MMTC told the FCC.




Benefit minority entrepreneurs. “AT&T has the strongest minority
procurement program in the wireless industry,” MMTC said.


MMTC’s support for the AT&T


T
-
Mobile combination is M
MTC’s only
endorsement of a merger in its 25
-
year history. Though MMTC remains
opposed to consolidation of ownership of communications out of concern for
loss of diversity and diminished need for innovation, the advocacy group told
the FCC that in this cas
e the potential gains for minority communities were
“truly compelling.”


The group sees closing the broadband adoption as the nation’s top national
priority. It believes that the AT&T/T
-
Mobile merger will help communities and
the country reach that goal by

providing additional capacity, especially in large
majority
-
minority cities. This extra capacity will allow for expansion of service
and help keep costs under control.



MMTC gave AT&T high marks for its record on hiring and said the company
“stands at th
e top of American industry in its service to minority communities
and commitment to diversity best practices.”


In past mergers, AT&T has extended its own diversity policies to the acquired
companies, and AT&T has promised to do so in this case as well. “G
iven
AT&T’s diversity bonafides,” MMTC told the FCC, “minority consumers,
telecom workers, and entrepreneurs all stand to benefit from the merger.”


The analysis by MMTC also found that AT&T has a strong record on making
purchases through minority
-
owned su
pplier companies.


In 2010, the company spent more than $9 billion on goods and services
through businesses owned by minorities, women and disabled veterans. “The
merger promises to extend AT&
T’s outstanding diversity and procurement
record to the T
-
Mobile assets,” MMTC said, “and it will create extensive
opportunities for diverse businesses to participate in AT&T’s buildout of the
nationwide LTE [long
-
term evolution] network made possible by t
he merger.”

AT&T announced in March its intentions to purchase T
-
Mobile USA from its
German parent, Deutsche Telekom. It is a huge deal


$39 billion in stocks
and cash


and would create the nation’s largest wireless provider, with 130
million subscribers
.


The scope of the purchase, and its potential impact, has generated concerns,
and Congress is holding hearings on the merger. But AT&T’s record on
minority hiring and purchasing, and the potential impact the merger could
have on wireless access for minor
ity customers, has drawn support from
prominent civil
-
rights organizations.


“The merger of AT&T with T
-
Mobile USA stands to bring some much
-
needed
relief to the African American community by helping to close the digital divide
and increasing access to vit
al services in urban and rural communities,” Hilary
Shelton, senior vice president for advocacy for the NAACP, wrote in a letter to
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.


The coalition of African American organizations told the FCC that the AT&T/T
-
Mobile deal w
ould bring wireless Internet access to areas now lacking
broadband, would keep costs down and would create new jobs nationwide.

Additional support for the merger is anticipated from other national minority
organizations.

[WE] will report on these developme
nts as they happen.