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AT&T To Expand Broadband Access In Michigan

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DETROIT (WWJ) - Expanding high-speed wireless broadband access to more than 2.5 million rural Michigan households is the goal of the Obama Administration and the Internet Innovation Alliance, a coalition of business and community leaders endorsing the pending merger of AT&T and T-Mobile.

Jamal Simmons, Co-Chair of the Internet Innovation Alliance, said the reason why the merger makes sense to them is because T-Mobile has high concentration in urban areas.

“This will allow AT&T to buy infrastructure, they won’t have to pay the bills and it will allow them to use the money they want to spend on infrastructure in bringing service to people in rural areas,” said Simmons.

With the explosion in the sale of personal wireless phones and devices, Simmons said a growing challenge is developing enough high-speed bandwidth capacity to handle all of that increased cyber traffic.

On Monday, AT&T announced the activation of 23 new mobile broadband cell sites in various cities throughout Wayne County.

“Right now, you have cable companies that offer you wireless and broadband, you’ve got satellite companies, cell-phone companies; all these people are offering you this service and that’s overloading the system,” said Simmons.

In addition to endorsing the pending merger, Simmons said the Internet Innovation Alliance is also encouraging the FCC to allow the re-auctioning of excess television spectrum space that now exists because of TV’s move to digital.

“At the end of this deal, [AT&T] would have been able to bring broadband, 4G LTE service, which is the latest and newest technology, to 55-million Americans nationwide. 2.5-million of them will be in the state of Michigan, particularly in the rural areas,” he said.

Simmons said if the merger is approved by the FCC, AT&T has committed to spending an additional $8-billion toward broadband infrastructure improvements nationally.

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