New America Media (NAM) is proud to bring you this first in a series of dispatches from the front lines of media battles in the United States. Over the next four months, via NAM's membership in The Media Consortium (TMC), we will publish a series of news bulletins and in-depth articles on the state of the new media, and how developments in controversial areas, such as Net Neutrality, will affect Americans.

TMC is a network of the country’s leading, progressive, independent media outlets set on amplifying independent media’s voice, increasing the public policy clout of independents, and, especially, engaging the public in complicated, but vital issues of media access and freedom. The issue of  Net Neutrality, for example, is about preserving the internet as an open carrier of information, not as a paid-access service with commercial or other information gatekeepers. Other pieces will probe the wild world of Internet regulation -- and more.

Here is the link to the inaugural issue of "The Wavelength," a biweekly blog by Eric K. Arnold, about the latest trends and developments in national media policy. This week, the focus is on major mergers, holding telecom giants accountable, and the revolving door at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The top story is on AT&T's announcement that it has reached an agreement with T-Mobile to buy the mobile phone service provider for $39 billion. As reported in the New York Times, the deal would “create the largest wireless carrier in the nation" and promises to reshape the industry.

Arnold writes:
The immediate upshot is that the number of nationwide wireless carriers would drop from four to three, with Sprint Nextel running a distant third behind AT&T/T-Mobile and Verizon. Another impact could be higher rates for current T-Mobile customers. Advocates of the deal suggest it could improve AT&T’s oft-criticized service, resulting in fewer dropped calls. However, critics note that the roughly $3 billion in projected annual cost savings will likely come at the expense of workers at the hundreds of retail outlets expected to close, if the deal goes through.

Click on "The Wavelength" link above for this issue.