ColorOfChange.org, an Internet-based grassroots organization, recently launched a campaign urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to block a possible merger of AT&T and T-Mobile. The organization’s leaders argue the merger will negatively impact African Americans.
The group challenged “misleading and deceptive arguments” from AT&T and other civil rights groups—many of whom have financial ties with the company—who support the merger.
“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, in a press statement. “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 purport the merger will help lessen the digital divide and allow AT&T to bring high-speed wireless Internet services to more communities in a shorter amount of time. However, ColorOfChange argues that the merger will hamper African Americans’ access to the Web, as prices for mobile Internet will go up and broadband access will remain too expensive for underserved communities.