Activists Take On AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

June 17, 2011  |  

By J. Smith

Activist organization ColorOfChange.org has launched a new campaign against the AT&T/ T-Mobile merger, calling on the FCC to block the deal. In a thorough report of the attempted deal, Color of Change says “AT&T wants to buy T-Mobile – and it could have huge, negative consequences, especially for Black Americans.” They drew up a report outlining the potentially harmful economic effects the merger could have and question the major civil rights groups that have come out in support of the merger.

“The deal is likely to destroy jobs, raise the price of cellular service and threaten net neutrality for wireless high-speed internet,” the report claims. Net neutrality essentially prevents large corporations from marginalizing smaller companies that threaten their profits or promote an opinion that is dissenting from the popular one. “Protecting net neutrality for wireless broadband in increasingly important as more and more people use their phones to access the internet, especially African Americans,” the report claims.

Color of Change’s study says that combining the two companies would effectively get rid of the competition, causing a snowball of other problems to gather, and that false and deceptive arguments have been used to support the merger. Read them here. But what is most troubling is the light the report shines on civil rights groups who have come out as strong supporters of the corporate giant after years of donations from the very groups in question.

“In order to shift focus away from the facts regarding the serious impact on the deal on marginalized communities, AT&T is trying to show the FC that civil rights groups support the merger,” the report said. And indeed, groups like the NAACP, National Action Network and the National Urban League have lent their support to the company’s cause. “Many of these groups have very close, long-standing relationships with AT&T, and have received significant financial support from the company.”

Those groups have the right to support whichever cause they’d like, but not if it works against the best interest of the groups they are charged with representing.

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