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May 20

Getting South Florida Back to Work by Jose Mas, CEO of Florida-Based MasTec. (www.mastec.com)

As the CEO of a publicly traded company, investors often ask me: What keeps you up at night? Truth be told, I usually slept pretty well until lately. My company, MasTec, has managed to grow over the past four years, but the work to sustain this modest success is a constant struggle in today’s business world.

 Given the current recession, it’s uncertain what the future holds for South Florida. Watching our friends, families, and neighbors continue to struggle is troublesome. Recent headlines in The Miami Herald highlight that it is tougher to find a job in Miami than other parts of the country and that government aid soared 12 percent in South Florida during the recession (“Finding a job is harder to do in Miami than Detroit,” April 19, 2011; “Government aid soared 12 percent in South Florida during recession,” Miami Herald, April 21, 2011).

 MasTec is part of the larger South Florida business community, a delicate financial ecosystem that continues to fight through the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Making matters worse, gas prices are soaring, and the housing market remains unstable.

 To rebuild our vibrant and creative community, policymakers and our elected officials must make the right decisions to drive job growth at innovative firms like ours, a construction firm that’s headquartered right here in South Florida. I am a true believer that mobile broadband will help my company and hundreds of other businesses in South Florida work more efficiently, better serve consumers and hire more employees.

 On a related matter, policymakers in Washington, D.C. are making decisions on whether to allow AT&T to pay approximately $39 billion for its wireless rival T-Mobile. This is a deal of vital importance to our community, as MasTec — which employs almost 10,000 individuals — is a key corporate partner of AT&T, which is pledging to spend more than $8 billion to build a nationwide high-speed “4G LTE” wireless broadband network — to reach an additional 55 million Americans — if the deal goes through. This broadband build-out will spur further innovation, economic growth and job opportunities.

 The deal would also have a profound impact within the Hispanic community, which is a leader in broadband adoption. According to the Pew Research Center, 87 percent of Hispanics and African Americans own a cell phone, far outpacing white Americans and the rest of the population. However, many Hispanics are also no doubt part of the more than 20 million Americans who do not have access to high-speed wireless internet at all.

 That could all change with a combined AT&T/T-Mobile. According to AT&T, after merging its operations, the company would expand broadband wireless access to reach more than 97 percent of the nation. It’s new high-capacity 4G LTE broadband wireless network also would usher in the next generation of online technologies, giving consumers more options and putting people back to work at new and expanding firms.

 Wireless mergers during the past decade have also proven to decrease monthly wireless bills by up to 50 percent, which would put more money into the hands of South Florida consumers and small business owners.

 Smart investments drive innovation, growth and jobs. AT&T has a track record of hiring more employees after its merged operations with other firms.

 AT&T is a valued partner and we’ve worked with them for years to design, construct and maintain wireless-infrastructure systems. Their vision for the future of wireless in the United States is our vision for returning prosperity to South Florida: Good jobs through innovation.  www.mastec.com

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/05/18/2223222/getting-south-florida-back-to.html#ixzz1MuEo9tfT

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