AT&T/T-Mobile combination would deliver countless benefits to Maryland

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By J. Michael Schweder
President, AT&T Mid Atlantic

The Internet is no longer just a place to do research or to email friends who live far away. It’s now a marketplace and platform to do business. Commerce moves faster than ever in areas where mobile broadband is available. Businesses with access to high-speed mobile broadband can tap into a global customer base and access colleagues all over the world. In this hyper competitive environment, it is vitally important to ensure that all Maryland businesses are afforded the opportunity to take advantage of this invaluable business tool.

One way to ensure that each American and small business has access to the latest, most reliable technology is to encourage private investment. AT&T plans to invest $8 billion beyond current plans in its infrastructure over the next seven years to realize the benefits of its proposed combination with T-Mobile USA. With this additional investment, AT&T will expand its deployment of advanced 4G LTE technology to more than 97 percent of Americans. In fact, 55 million more Americans will have access to high-speed Internet than without the combination. In Maryland, more than 98 percent of the population will be covered by AT&T’s LTE footprint when its network is completed – nearly the entire population.

This kind of investment means big things for Maryland and for our businesses. Our economy needs a boost now more than ever, and by investing in the right tools we’ll be able to help our Main Streets thrive, from the Eastern Shore to the mountains of Western Maryland and every community in between. In fact, widespread mobile broadband will have a uniquely substantial positive impact on small businesses in Maryland’s more rural areas. With access to high-capacity, high-speed 4G LTE, the distance from large urban areas will no longer be a disadvantage for rural businesses or their customers.

Mobilizing everything means that geography and size will not matter as much to developing a prosperous business as creativity, innovation and hard work. With reliable access to high-speed Internet, urban and rural small businesses will be able to effectively compete with companies many times their size. Mobile broadband allows small companies to turn an idea into a complex and successful business strategy overnight. Cloud-based capabilities that at one time were really only available to large-scale enterprises are now available for more users. This cutting edge technology isn’t just good for business owners, but it is also good for consumers who can interact with businesses in Maryland, across the country or around the world from anywhere at anytime.

More access to advanced LTE mobile broadband can bring all of Maryland’s businesses countless economic benefits and advantages. This is perhaps why so many state leaders such as Governor O’Malley, Speaker Busch, Senator Miller, and organizations such as the Maryland Chamber of Commerce have expressed their support for the combination of AT&T and T-Mobile. This deal is the type of investment and innovation the state and economy needs to make sure we our able to keep pace now and in the future in this digital age.

J. Michael Schweder is President of AT&T Mid Atlantic.
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