We demand that the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, be halted, whether by the U.S. Department of Justice on anti-trust grounds, by the Federal Communications Commission on public interest grounds, or by the Congress.
We fear that allowing AT&T to gobble up T-Mobile will put three-quarters of the U.S. cell phone market in the hands of only two wireless providers, AT&T and Verizon. The inevitable results of such immense concentrations of market power are higher prices, poorer service, artificial scarcity of services, less innovation, predatory price gouging, the end of network neutrality on the wireless internet and the widening of the digital divide. The fate of the wireless internet will be sealed --- it will be a closed and corporate plantation, much like cable TV.
We know that mergers between giant corporations almost always cost jobs, not create them, and lead to fewer choices, worse customer service and higher prices for consumers.
We understand that the billions AT&T wants to spend on buying up the competition could be better invested on network upgrades, training and new hires, and expanding delivery of wireless and broadband coverage to underserved areas.
We fear that the proposed merger will give Verizon and AT&T a virtual lock on deployment of wireless internet in the U.S., turning what could be a free and open wireless internet into a closed and corporate plantation.
We further demand and insist that our community and civic organizations and elected officials, even those without a direct legal say in the matter, weigh in on the side of ordinary people, families and communities, rather than in the interests of their wealthy and powerful corporate and charitable donors and contributors.
We believe that the wireless broadcast spectrum is ultimately public property, and we know that the internet was originally developed, designed and deployed by public employees before being sold to private interests for pennies on the dollar and heavily subsidized by tax breaks and corporate welfare. Furthermore federal law requires the FCC to regulate the broadcast spectrum to maximize public good, not private profit.
It is our eminently lawful and reasonable expectation that the wireless spectrum and the wireless internet be managed accountably, transparently and in the public interest. This proposed merger makes accountability and transparency impossible, is anti-competitive, and fundamentally inimical to the public interest.
We therefore affix our names to this petition in the firm belief that we are entitled to accountability on the part of public servants like Congressional representatives, FCC personnel, and the Department of Justice, as well as civic leaders such as those heading the NAACP, LULAC, the Urban League, churches, labor unions and others. We demand that each and all of these forces take every legal measure to educate themselves and the public on this issue, and to stop the pending merger between AT&T and T-Mobile.