Despite Michigan’s dismal economic outlook, telecom giant AT&T has announced it has spent more than $80 million on its wireless network in the state during the first six months of 2010. That’s approximately one-third of AT&T’s $225 million wireless and wireline network capital expenditures in the Wolverine state in the first half of 2010.
It’s good news for a state wracked by a nearly decade-long downturn exacerbated by record-setting unemployment, fleeing workers, a stringent regulatory environment, higher than average business taxes, and a struggling automotive manufacturing industry. State regulatory reforms are being credited for making the investment possible.
“This news shows the impact of good public policy, policies that promote competition, lead to a better economic environment, and make it attractive for companies like AT&T to invest and hire Michigan workers,” said Sen. Bruce Patterson (R), chairman of the Michigan Senate’s Energy Policy and Public Utilities Committee in a press release from AT&T. “AT&T’s investment in this state means jobs and opportunities for Michigan families, and that is welcome news for all of us.”
According to Sue Trussell, spokeswoman for Sen. Patterson, the laws Patterson referred to are Michigan Public Acts 235 of 2005 and 480 of 2006. Both acts, according to Trussell, removed regulatory barriers on the telecom industry in Michigan.
Rising Data Traffic
According to company estimates, mobile data traffic on AT&Ts nationwide wireless network rose 5,000 percent between 2007 and 2009. Additionally, national average mobile broadband network speeds increased by more than 25 percent during the first half of 2010, according to AT&T internal data.
The company has stated it plans to invest between $18 billion and $19 billion on its wireless networks throughout the United States in 2010.
“We are very proud of our investment in Michigan and the positive impact we know it will bring for consumers in our state,” said Jim Murray, president of AT&T Michigan.
“Innovation and investment go hand in hand,” Murray added. “In Michigan, our elected leaders understand that, and when it comes to regulatory policies, they helped make our state a place where is it attractive for companies like AT&T to innovate and compete to attract new customers either for phone or TV service. That kind of forward-thinking is good for workers, for consumers, and for our state.”
Bruce Edward Walker ([email protected]) is managing editor of Infotech & Telecom News.
On the Internet
Michigan Public Act 235 of 2005: http://efile.mpsc.state.mi.us/efile/docs/14776/0070.pdf
Michigan Public Act 480 of 2006: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/%28S%28qsewrvrt0ggf0nfhckcwfsfu%29%29/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-Act-480-of-2006