AT&T: 1, Consumers: 0

The bottom line of AT&T's proposed $39 billion takeover of competitor wireless company T-Mobile is pretty simple. AT&T wins. Everyone else loses, particularly those who will lose their jobs as a result. Mergers are job killers, and this one will be no different.

AT&T, of course, won't tell you that. They will crow about “efficiencies” and helping to fulfill the Obama Administration's broadband goals and, not incidentally, about all the extra revenue per user that the new combined company will rake in over the next few years. These are the kinds of arguments that proponents of mergers usually make.

This deal is different.


Public would lose out from AT&T, T-Mobile deal

It’s March again, a time when most sports fans root for underdogs.  Of course, a few people lean towards favorites, including a small and odd fan club assembling for AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile announced on Sunday.
What’s especially puzzling are the strange reasons that some cheerleaders and some casual observers cite in favor of this mega-merger – one that would increase concentration vastly in a market that already is highly concentrated – when most people see through the illusory claimed benefits.


AT&T and T-Mobile merger means better broadband

The acquisition of T-Mobile USA by AT&T is good news for everyone who realizes that the United States needs to catch up to the rest of the world when it comes to broadband speed and buildout.

It presents a real opportunity to expand true high speed broadband in this country that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. AT&T and T-Mobile use the same GSM technology. With the benefit of shared spectrum, that’s a big advantage for customers over other U.S. wireless companies that were looking to buy T-Mobile.


The future value of NASA depends on priorities

As the nation’s only civilian space and aeronautics research and development agency, NASA has a unique and important role in fostering innovation and keeping America competitive. Through NASA’s leadership, the U.S. has set the standard for the world in human space flight, exploration, and aeronautics. The investments we have made in NASA research and development have spawned scientific discoveries that have vastly increased our understanding of the Earth, Sun, our solar system and the universe.

Last year, Congress approved a plan to ensure a balanced portfolio of science and exploration at NASA. This plan created a roadmap that would give U.S. astronauts access to the International Space Station while developing capabilities to travel beyond low Earth orbit. Unfortunately, this administration seems to be ignoring clear Congressional intent.


Meeting the world’s health challenges, boosting our economy

American innovations that improve the health of all people on earth can come from anywhere, even from sending people to outer space.

NASA developed a water-filter system devised for the space shuttle that kills bacteria using iodine resin. Now that system is being used to purify water in some of the poorest countries in the world, saving countless families from debilitating diseases.

A California company developed a coffee maker-sized machine for the US Postal Service to test packages for anthrax. In the next few months, scores of these machines will be used in developing countries in Africa to test for tuberculosis, and give results in two hours instead of three months.


Telecommute to the future

Just a few short weeks ago, Washington, D.C., was brought to a standstill by an ill-timed, quick-hitting snowstorm that blanketed the region in just a few inches of snow, but revealed a mountain of issues in its aftermath. Thousands of commuters in the Washington Metropolitan Area were stranded by a weather event mimicking an emergency evacuation of the Capital city. I myself had a seven-hour commute that night to my home in Montross, Va., (normally an hour-and-a-half drive) giving me plenty of time to think about how things might be different if more folks telecommuted.

A public servant’s first priority is to provide for the safety and security of Americans. Additionally, be it a national security event or a snowstorm, both businesses and federal agencies alike face the need for contingency plans to provide for continuity of operations. 


Our national broadband strategy: Wireless déjà vu?

The national broadband strategy articulated by the President is a good news/bad news sort of déjà vu for those of us who were on the front lines of municipal WiFi’s surge and eventual flame out. At least the bad news part is correctable if both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue learn one valuable lesson from 2006.

The good news is that the President clearly understands the vital impact broadband can have on economic development. When integrated with appropriate existing programs such as urban enterprise zones, SCORE and local economic gardening, broadband indeed helps make businesses more competitive, enables telemedicine advances and transforms education and worker training. 


Social media as a strategic weapon

Austin, Texas - An analysis by the Global Language Monitor has found that a new weapon has recently been detected in the world's strategic arsenal.

To  the uninitiated, it might appear to be part neutron bomb, which destroys only living things with little collateral damage, part some as yet unidentified weapon, which has the ability topple dictators, regimes and unsuspecting governments while rendering both living things and physical structures unharmed.

We are speaking, of course, about Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.), which have the apparent ability to re-align the social order in real time, with little or no advanced warning.


Consumers deserve affordable access to wireless networks

Right now, there’s a strong chance that you’re reading this on your smartphone or laptop while connected to the Internet through a wireless network. But not everyone is that fortunate. In fact, it may surprise you that a third of households in this country don’t have access to high-speed Internet. That’s why Consumers Union was pleased to hear President Obama’s commitment that 98 percent of Americans will have access to wireless broadband in the next five years.

For Americans who have access to broadband now, it is hard to imagine how to navigate the 21st century without it. Jobs, education, communication and innovation now all rely on high speed Internet access. And as the President said, this is about more than faster Internet and digital trends. It’s about opportunity, and giving every American access to these opportunities through high speed wireless networks.


Stop government from regulating the Internet

Washington has taken over the banks, health care, the college loan industry and now it is targeting the Internet.

The private sector has invested $700 billion into developing the Internet as we know it today. Private companies have transformed it from a dial-up phone technology into an instrument that can share information in real time throughout the world, with no wires attached. 

The development of the Internet has been one of the greatest success stories in recent history – accounting for one-sixth of the U.S. economy – because it has been allowed to grow without taxes and Washington regulations. Access to information has exploded, prices continue to plummet and new innovations continue to evolve exponentially.