NEW YORK –The national civil rights group ColorOfChange.org today launched a campaign urging the FCC to block the proposed AT&T and T-Mobile merger, arguing that the merger will have hugely negative consequences, especially for African Americans.
The group challenged what it called misleading and deceptive arguments from AT&T and other civil rights organizations supporting the merger, and noted that many of the non-profit groups in support of the merger have significant financial ties with AT&T.
“The AT&T and T-Mobile merger is likely to destroy jobs, raise the price of cellular service, and threaten net neutrality wireless high-speed Internet,” said Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org. “More than other groups, African Americans rely on wireless broadband to connect to the Internet. This deal would consolidate nearly eighty percent of the wireless market in the hands of AT&T and Verizon, two companies who are hostile to the principles which protect innovation and freedom of expression online.”
AT&T and some civil rights organizations have claimed that the merger will help close the digital divide by allowing AT&T to speed up its deployment of high-speed wireless Internet service.
ColorOfChange argues that allowing AT&T to take over T-Mobile will actually hurt access to high-speed internet for African-Americans.
With less competition, prices for mobile Internet will go up — and it will become more difficult to close the digital divide since broadband access would remain unaffordable for too many people of color.
Some groups have also claimed that the merger will be good for African-American and Latino workers.
ColorOfChange noted that mergers almost always lead to layoffs as the merging companies seek to eliminate redundant jobs, and there is no reason to expect that this merger will be any different.
Through the campaign, ColorOfChange is calling on its national membership of more than 750,000 to submit comments to the FCC urging the commission to block the deal.