Owensboro and Daviess County have been left behind when it comes to having competitive wireless broadband access. Our lack of third-generation (3G) service from AT&T has put us in a very troubling position and if a solution is not found soon it could have an impact on our local and regional economies.
AT&T says that it now offers 3G service in more than 370 metropolitan areas around the United States. Owensboro is one of the largest metro areas in the US without 3G wireless coverage. The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation is requesting that AT&T, the FCC and our Congressional delegation to help us solve this problem.
Access to fast, reliable and affordable 3G service is absolutely essential in today’s competitive marketplace. Local businesses such as US Bank, organizations like the Owensboro Medical Health System, and Owensboro’s new high tech incubator, the Centre for Business and Research, desperately need the service to expand and grow their operations.
We strongly believe in regional economic development, but this is difficult when we are not on the same playing field as our partners in greater Evansville-Henderson-Madisonville, all of which have 3G coverage. The lack of coverage in Owensboro and Daviess County compared to our regional partners is stark and very disconcerting.
The EDC has asked AT&T why Owensboro and Daviess County have been left behind and we’ve learned that they are as frustrated as we are. It seems that the FCC ordered AT&T to divest the wireless spectrum to support 3G that it owned in this area as part of a recent merger agreement. Now, AT&T is stuck trying to buy new spectrum on the open market from a competitor, which is never easy.
It seems that our lack of 3G service is an unintended consequence of the federal government forcing AT&T to divest its spectrum.
With the growing use of wireless technologies for devices like the iPhone and iPad, 3G wireless is now a bare minimum quality of life issue. The EDC respectfully requests that the FCC and AT&T resolve their spectrum issues and promptly bring 3G coverage to Owensboro.
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