April 21, 2021

Manchin Urges Internet Company CEOS To Not Leave West Virginians Who Rely On 2G, 3G Internet Services Behind

Washington, DC – This week, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) led 13 Senators in requesting information from the CEOs of Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T on their companies’ plans to transition away from 2G or 3G services beginning in 2022. Many West Virginians currently rely on 2G or 3G services because for some West Virginians it is the only option in their area and is typically less expensive than 4G and 5G service plans.

The Senators said in part, “Every day millions of Americans rely on broadband to access important healthcare, government, and education resources. This has been especially true over the last year during the pandemic, when broadband became a vital lifeline to the outside world for many people. And while advances and investments in mobile wireless data services, such as 5G, are exciting and welcome, they also risk only benefiting some places and furthering the digital divide in many areas of the United States. Consumers that are struggling financially or have no other mobile wireless options need adequate information and support so they do not suffer additional hardships as companies begin to shut down these legacy services. We must ensure that we do not leave these consumers behind in the move to 5G.”

Senator Manchin has long been focused on closing the digital divide to ensure that every West Virginian has access to affordable, reliable broadband, regardless of where they live.

“Researchers estimate that approximately 13% of Americans rely on older 2G or 3G technology, with other estimates putting that number higher. In some areas, 2G and 3G services are the only mobile wireless service available, and this is particularly true in rural and secluded areas where 4G and 5G technologies have not yet been deployed. For many customers who live in these areas, a mobile wireless connection is their only tool for staying in touch with friends and family, doing homework, or making a living. Shutting down 2G and 3G services in these areas without adequate notice, or before 4G or 5G services are available as a replacement, risks leaving millions of Americans completely disconnected,” the Senators continued.

A timeline of Senator Manchin’s efforts to expand broadband can be found here.

Senator Manchin’s letter to Mike Sievert, President and CEO of T-Mobile can be found here.

Senator Manchin’s letter to Hans Vestberg, Chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications can be found here.

Senator Manchin’s letter to John Stankey, CEO of AT&T can be found here.