Add nine state Agriculture Commissioners to those supporting the AT&T-T-Mobile merger.
In filings at the Federal Communications Commission, the commissioners pointed to the promise of rolling out wireless broadband to rural areas, one of AT&T's pledges with the new spectrum it will aquire through the deal.
"I am writing to express my support for the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile," wrote Florida AG commissioner Adam Putnam. "Florida agriculture is a $100 billion industry. With increased capabilities like broader reaching wireless services, there will be even greater opportunities to grow."
"The merger...would be a giant step toward ensuring broadband access for more South Dakotans," wrote AG Commissioner Walt Bones of South Dakota, who pointed out he had a family farm first homesteaded by his grandfather in 1879. "Promising a national post-merger infrastructure investment of more than $8 billion, AT&T would be able to expand its high-speed mobile network, increase broadband speeds, and improve its service and data offerings.
The commissioners also pointed to job creation, education and the use of GPS for better crop management, seeding and fertilization as reasons to back the deal.
The nine commissioners are from Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida, Arkansas, Texas, Iowa and South Dakota.
They join the Future Farmers of America and U.S. Cattlemen's association in backing the deal. The Justice Department has filed suit to block the deal, but the FCC is still vetting it and Justice has indicated it is willing to talk with AT&T about resolving its competition issues.