Monday Roundup: AT&T, T-Mobile and Rural America

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AT&T’s announcement that it would buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion will be subject to scrutiny from anti-trust officials in the federal government. AT&T hopes to make the combination a little more palatable by saying the merged company will cover more of rural America. 

The combination of AT&T and T-Mobile will create the largest wireless carrier in the country with 130 million subscribers, according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s a third more than Verizon. AT&T is pitching the deal, in part, as a way to create better wireless service in rural areas, an Obama administration priority. 

AT&T promised to provide 4G wireless services (including broadband) to 95 percent of the population by building more cell towers.

Consumer groups have already started to oppose the merger. The deal would have to be approved by the Federal Communications Commission.

• Farmers are producing a lot of grain, the grain is being stored and that means there are a record number of grain bin accidents

Last year 51 people were engulfed by grain and 26 died, the highest number on record, according to Purdue University. The Chicago Tribune reports:

“In less than 10 seconds, a man who steps into flowing corn can sink up to his chest, becoming immobilized, said Robert Aherin, agriculture safety leader in the agricultural engineering department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Within another 10 seconds, he can be submerged and unable to breathe, essentially drowned in corn.”

• The House Agriculture Committee has recommended that food assistance programs be cut instead of farm subsidies, the National Journal reports.

The National Journal reports on the March 15 letter sent to the budget committee:

The letter emphasizes recent reductions in the committee’s budget due to renegotiated insurance deals and higher food prices, which have reduced or temporarily eliminated the cost of some conditional subsidies. But it argues that SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) — which grew more expensive during the recession as unemployment increased the number of people who were eligible and as Congress expanded benefits under the economic stimulus law — could be a target for cuts. SNAP makes up the bulk of the USDA’s budget.

 

 

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