WASHINGTON — A coalition of advocacy groups, including the NAACP and NNPA, have encouraged the

Federal Communications Commission to approve AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile USA, saying the merger is in the

best interests of millions of African Americans.

The coalition told the FCC that the AT&T/T-Mobile deal will bring wireless Internet access to areas now lacking

broadband, will save users money and will create new jobs nationwide.

“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 vital services in urban and rural

communities,” wrote Hilary Shelton, senior vice president for advocacy for the NAACP, in a letter to FCC Chairman

Julius Genachowski.

Joining the NAACP and NNPA in the letter were the leaders of a broad coalition of civil rights and national black

intergovernmental organizations representing 40 million African Americans.

The coalition pointed out that although African Americans are leaders in adopting wireless Internet access, they

often must contend with poor service.

“Despite their high wireless adoption rate,” the coalition members told the FCC chairman, “African American

wireless Internet users frequently contend with substandard and inconsistent access that plagues many urban and rural


The AT&T/T-Mobile merger can bring significant improvements, according to the coalition, because “if the T-

Mobile purchase is approved, AT&T has made commitments to substantially increase broadband access to underserved

areas and invest billions in infrastructure upgrades.”

The AT&T investment will provide upgrades to service, the coalition’s letter said, and “will lead to shovel-ready

opportunities that will put the unemployed back to work.”

The coalition also pointed out that AT&T has a demonstrated commitment to diversity in its hiring and in its

selection of suppliers. “Minority-owned firms make up 20 percent of the company’s suppliers,” the coalition said, “and

nearly 40 percent of AT&T’s employees are people of color.”

Joining NAACP and NNPA in the letter were:

Melanie Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic;

Albert E. Dotson Jr., chairman of 100 Black Men of America;

Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever, executive director of the National Council of Negro Women;

Gary Flowers, CEO of the Black Leadership Forum;

Susan Taylor, of the National Cares Mentoring Movement;

Representative Barbara Ballard, president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators;

Senator Sharon Weston Broome, president of the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women;

Vanessa Williams, executive director of the National Conference of Black Mayors;

Commissioner Arlanda Williams, president of the National Association of Black County Officials;

Dr. Valerie White, chairwoman of the Black College Communication Association;

Tommy Dortch, chairman of the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame, and

Ricardo Byrd, president of the National Association of Neighborhoods. Participation

AT&T is one of the oldest of American communications companies, and T-Mobile USA is a subsidiary of Deutsche

Telekom, a German telecommunications giant. In March, AT&T offered to acquire T-Mobile USA for $39 billion in

cash and stocks.

If approved by the Federal Communications Commission, the deal will create the largest provider of wireless

service in the nation, with a combined 130 million subscribers.

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