MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Legal Newsline) - Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange announced his support last Wednesday of the proposed merger of wireless carriers AT&T and T-Mobile USA.
Strange encouraged the federal government to approve the merger as he said it will improve residents' lives and communities statewide, strengthening access to public safety, delivering high-speed broadband services to more consumers, creating jobs and advancing economic growth. Strange emphasized the need for rural Americans to have equal access to high-speed broadband.
"With nearly one-third of our residents living in rural areas, this represents a significant potential benefit beyond just higher call quality and faster data downloads," Strange said. "Rural residents, especially younger ones, will gain access to innovative teaching and medical programs - an important new economic advantage that can help improve access to education, healthcare and jobs."
Strange said that he decided to support the merger after hearing from officials for AT&T that if the merger received federal approval, the company would make a significant investment to expand deployment of the most advanced wireless technology, frequently called 4G service, to over 95 percent of Alabama residents.
In addition to the jobs the infrastructure investment would bring in the short run, extending access to high-speed wireless Internet services to two million more Alabama consumers could encourage job and business growth in the future.
Strange's endorsements came in a letter he co-signed with 10 other state attorneys general to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski and U.S. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney. The DOJ and the FCC must approve the merger for it to take effect.
The 10 other AGs from across the county are Arkansas' Dustin McDaniel, Georgia's Sam Olens, Kentucky's Jack Conway, Michigan's Bill Schuette, Mississippi's Jim Hood, North Dakota's Wayne Stenehjem, South Dakota's Marty Jackley, Utah's Mark Shurtleff, West Virginia's Darrell McGraw and Wyoming's Greg Phillips.
The AGs urged the approval due to the merger's "substantial and far-reaching benefits" which include fewer dropped calls, faster downloads, better quality service, increased investment, job creation and economic development.