Letter to the Editor: T-Mobile/Sprint merger can mean better Internet and phone connections for rural towns

Dear Editor,

Rural California still lags behind its urban and suburban neighbors in cell phone coverage and Internet speeds. Growing up in Exeter, it was difficult to even have reliable Internet service at all. This unfortunate reality has inhibited business growth, slowed down our favorite Netflix shows, and stymied a lot of relationships on FarmersOnly.com before they even started.

Rural areas across the country struggle with this issue, and it’s holding us back. To take just one example: how many people in rural areas could do the jobs employers are struggling to fill, if they just had reliable broadband access?

This could soon change with the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, and one of the biggest benefits of the combined company would be the ability to quickly deploy a 5G network.

Launching a network usually takes time, but this merger will be able to jump-start the process. The plan is to use Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) antennas to deploy the network. This gets rid of the need to install wired lines, which will make it quicker and less expensive to build, which alone will improve access for rural customers.

Another benefit of the merger that will allow for a speedier rollout, is the fact that each company has different spectrum holdings. These are the airwaves that carry cell signals, and by combining these different but complementary airwave bands, the new T-Mobile will be able to deploy a 5G network that is broad and deep.

This merger has the potential to positively affect rural communities in California and across the country, such as Exeter and other smaller towns in Tulare County. Bringing reliable, high-speed internet access to rural areas is long overdue. Sincerely,

Chris Telfer

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