Delaware is known as “The First State” for its role as the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. It could also be known as “The First State” for its position leading the country in access and adoption of broadband internet, with 100 percent of Delaware citizens having access to broadband from at least one provider (National Broadband Map).
Like all advances in communications technology, broadband Internet means faster, wider and cheaper access to information. For individuals this means being able to do research for school from the comfort of your home, and for businesses it can mean reaching new markets with products, tracking shipments and deliveries, and paying bills online. Whether for individuals or businesses, broadband access means being able to work more quickly and efficiently.
Any economist will tell you that with greater efficiency come greater profits, and greater profits means having the capital to grow and create jobs, which is exactly what we need in today’s slumping economy. Broadband access is the single most important investment businesses can make in order to increase revenues and create jobs. Unfortunately, many areas in the country lack any kind of broadband access and are unable to take advantage of its many benefits.
According to the Internet Innovation Alliance, many Americans in rural areas lack access to broadband Internet, or even any Internet at all. For businesses, this means being unable to compete in an ever increasingly global economy, and for individuals, it means starting at a disadvantage to those who have access. Currently in Washington there is a lot of debate about the best way to increase access to broadband through government programs and loans. But, clearly, a private market solution is preferable to an approach that once again taps the American taxpayer.
A few months ago AT&T announced that it was seeking to merge with T-Mobile USA, a German-owned wireless company. In information provided to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), AT&T has committed to build out its promises to expand 4G broadband wireless network to cover more than 97 percent of the country if allowed to merge with T-Mobile. Additionally, AT&T has announced that with the merger, they would bring 5,000 outsourced call center jobs back to the U.S. as well as maintaining the 25,000 T-Mobile call center jobs here already.
With the benefits of the merger, coupled with the general benefits of broadband for the economy and jobs (10 Facts About Broadband and Jobs) it is hard to see why the Federal government has not already approved the merger and started getting Americans back to work. The T-Mobile/AT&T merger sounds like common sense to me and Delaware could be a place where AT&T could put those 5,000 new American jobs. We have the facilities and the infrastructure to facilitate that kind of work and we have people well versed in both technology and customer service.
As a candidate for the Delaware General Assembly, I’m calling on fellow candidates, my opponent, Rep. John Viola and current legislators to join me in supporting this private sector venture and to call on Congress to end its hostility towards business.