Black and Brown communities face obstacles every day that many Americans often do not understand or appreciate. The long-term effect of these obstacles often results in lower academic achievement, limits on career possibilities, and weaker community bonds.
For example, many Americans have become accustomed to accessing broadband-like speeds at home, at work and when using their mobile devices. Internet use has become such a standard part of our lives that we hardly even think about it anymore. But let’s take a moment to think about how much more challenging or frustrating it would be to pay bills, apply for a job, schedule community meetings or check a bank balance with a limited connection or no connection at all.
Bringing service to underserved communities (Black and Brown) is just one of the benefits that the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint will bring. By upgrading its existing network and moving quickly to deploy 5G nationwide, New T-Mobile will bring fast, broadband-like speeds to communities that are considered underserved. The merger would also increase competition, bringing prices down for consumers.
Providing 5G access would bring us closer to bridging the digital divide and would open up opportunities for young people in our community. Just as importantly, jobs will be created by the merger in new customer experience centers and to support the construction of new network infrastructure. In fact, T-Mobile has also announced that it will open a brand-new customer experience center in the Central Valley, bringing roughly 1,000 new jobs to the area.
Communities that lag behind in broadband deployment are put at a huge disadvantage in employment, education and civic engagement. This merger promises to bring jobs and opportunity to our communities. For these important considerations, I support the merger.
The Rev. Oliver E. Buie is an associate minister at Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles.