Speaker Hanshaw, Vice-Chairman Linville praise FCC chairman’s action on Sprint, T-Mobile merger

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CHARLESTON – House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, and Committee on Technology and Infrastructure Vice-Chairman Daniel Linville, R-Cabell, today said they support conditions secured by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai in the proposed merger between Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile, Inc., conditions that could substantially increase wireless broadband coverage in West Virginia.

FCC Chairman Pai recently announced the companies had committed to building an advanced 5G network over the next three years while not raising prices, should their merger be approved.

“This deal, should it be approved, could significantly improve access to high-speed wireless technologies in West Virginia,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “I applaud President Trump’s FCC Chairman for securing significant commitments from these companies to boost wireless coverage in rural areas like West Virginia.”

The companies would be required to cover 97 percent of the nation’s population with high-speed wireless coverage in the next three years, and 99 percent within six years. There was specific emphasis on covering rural areas, with 85 percent of rural areas covered by 5G networks within three years, and 90 percent of rural areas covered within six years.

The companies have agreed to provide at least 90 percent of Americans with access to speeds of up to 100 Mbps, and 99 percent would have access to speeds of at least 50 Mbps.

“This deal could dramatically expand competition and access to wireless networks and home-based broadband through a significant investment in new 5G technologies across our state,” Vice-Chairman Linville said. “Having a strong third carrier in the wireless industry will increase competition and unleash the power of the free-market to benefit consumers across the Mountain State. If approved, this deal could ignite a wave of broadband and cellular technology expansion across West Virginia over the next six years.”

While the FCC has signaled its approval of the merger, the deal still needs anti-trust approval from the U.S. Justice Department before it can occur.