KANSAS CITY - Rural advocates have warned that the proposed merger of telecom giants Sprint and T-Mobile could negatively impact rural communities through a loss of jobs, higher consumer prices and reduced customer broadband service. Now, Attorneys General in 16 states have filed suit to block the proposed merger, while FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has expressed his support for the merger.
Carri Bennet, who serves as General Counsel for the Rural Wireless Association, joined KCUR radio in Kansas City to discuss the proposed merger and the negative impact it may have on rural customers. Sprint is based in the Kansas City metro area, in Overland Park, Kansas.
“The Attorneys General lawsuit is going to play a big role in this. That’s not scheduled to go to trial until December, so there’s some delay there. There’s also some review with the Tunney Act on the DOJ decision and lots of opportunity for people to comment,” Bennet said. “So it’s not a done deal by any means.”
She said that the odds of the merger being approved will drop as more states join the lawsuit.
“When you have a merger, you are going to have job loss,” Bennet said. “The Communication Workers of America project that 30,000 people would lose their jobs (in a merger).”
In February, Bennet testified before the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology about the negative impact that the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger could have on rural communities.
Also, click here to read “How the Sprint/T-Mobile Merger Would Harm Consumers, Competition and Jobs” , an op-ed written by Bennet and Public Knowledge Senior Policy Counsel Phillip Berenbroick.