With the nation crawling out of a recession and the unemployment rate, particularly of African Americans, continuing to hover near record highs former mayors Shirley Franklin (Atlanta, GA), Ronald Dellums (Oakland, CA) and Douglas Palmer (Trenton, NJ) have turned to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for assistance.
“We ask that you approve the acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T,” said the mayors to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “Technology and mobile broadband are essential to the development, sustainability, and the future of our economy. This merger takes us one step closer to ensuring that African Americans have greater access to the transformative power that wireless technology offers and the opportunities that come with being connected in an ever-growing digital society.”
The merger, estimated to provide broadband access to roughly 55 million more Americans and make it available to more than 97 percent of the country, addresses one of the main focal points of President Obama’s agenda to enhance American competitiveness and economic growth by increasing the availability of broadband to more communities.
This is especially important to African Americans who studies show are 40 percent more likely to rely on their mobile devices to access the Internet than their non-minority counterparts.
In addition to providing broadband to millions of Americans and allowing them to better prepare themselves to find a career or advance, AT&T has also been one of the nation’s leading equal employment companies.
With the advancements in technology by a leading company with a diverse workforce the mayors believe African Americans could finally have an even greater opportunity to have an increased presence and involvement in technological tools and the industry itself.
“Our nation is calling for change, and African American communities are in particular need of innovative means of creating jobs and enhancing educational and career training opportunities,” said the mayors. “We have a tremendous opportunity, courtesy of the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile, to begin the work of repairing our nation and preparing future generations to become competitive in the twenty-first century.”