AT&T Merger Threatens Our Ability to Stay Connected

When Hurricane Irene approached my home in Massachusetts, and my family’s on the coast of Connecticut, I received a powerful reminder of how much we rely on our cellphones and the Internet. We used both tools to track the storm and prepare ourselves for a worst-case scenario, which luckily didn't come to pass.

Of course, as a Free Press outreach manager, I'm nearly always linked to the Web through my cellphone or computer. This summer I organized in-district meetings with members of Congress in Maine, New York and Wisconsin. I relied on phone and email to organize meeting participants and share media policy information. I also hosted conference calls to facilitate networking, information sharing and Q&A time with activists from the same congressional districts.

For day-to-day tasks as well as extraordinary events, many of us depend on mobile devices to stay connected. That’s why I’m so worried about the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile.

If the deal goes through, it would leave AT&T with unprecedented control over both our phones and the Internet because we increasingly access both through the same device: our cellphones. The potential takeover threatens our ability to organize, tell our stories and connect with our loved ones because it would leave us with just two companies, AT&T and Verizon, controlling almost 80 percent of the wireless market.

This kind of control would lead to higher prices, fewer jobs and restrictions on free speech. Here are a few things you should know about AT&T’s takeover of T-Mobile:

  • AT&T has a history of restricting free speech on its networks and devices. And it opposes wireless Net Neutrality protections.
  • Competition helps keep prices down. To use my phone and Internet connections to organize at work, volunteer in my community and get information, I need to be able to pay my bills. If there are only two companies dominating the market, they will likely increase prices. I’m concerned about being able to keep my budget in check.

Luckily, the Justice Department agrees with those of us who have been fighting to stop AT&T in its tracks. Late last month the department filed suit to block the merger, which it called “anti-competitive.”

And AT&T’s own leaked documents show it hasn’t been honest about the reasons it’s conjured up to support its takeover of T-Mobile.

The truth is stacked against AT&T.

If you want to get involved and help stop this merger and protect your communication rights, visit for information and details on actions you can take.

Together we can speak out and ensure that corporations don’t interfere with our ability to communicate.