LACKEY: Actions speak for AT&T in connecting South Carolinians

By Pamela Lackey, special to Statehouse Report  |  Many of us with Southern roots know well the phrase “actions speak louder than words,” for we heard it often from our mothers.

Momma’s wisdom is just as applicable today in the business world as it was in the backyard when she wanted to underscore the significance of keeping a promise her kids had made.

Lackey

For nearly a century and a half, AT&T has been committed to bringing the best, most advanced communications services available. We believe that delivering for our communities and our neighbors is as important in today’s world of broadband and fiber optics as it was in the days of party lines and candlestick phones.

Two recent developments point directly to how we are keeping that commitment and connecting South Carolinians to the future.

First, getting high-speed broadband service has been a challenge for some folks who live in rural areas. While low population densities may be good for a peaceful lifestyle, they can present challenges for the business case needed to deploy broadband using traditional wired networks.

Last month we took a major step in helping meet that need in launching our Fixed Wireless Internet service in parts of our traditional wireline service areas in South Carolina and seven other southeastern states. We plan to be available in 18 states overall by the end of the year.

With Fixed Wireless, customers will receive an internet connection with download speeds of at least 10Mbps delivered from a wireless tower to a fixed antenna on their home or business. AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet is subject to certain restrictions and/or limitations. Please see att.com/internet/fixed-wireless.html for more details.

This initiative is part of our participation in the FCC’s Connect America Fund program and is a good example of how a public-private partnership approach can help deliver high-quality, high-speed internet to rural areas.

We are also excited about the continuation of a program called Access from AT&T, which provides a low-cost option for wireline home internet service for qualifying, low-income households.

Access provides eligible residents access to internet speeds of up to 10Mbps, depending on the fastest speed available where they live. The service is offered to households located across the 21 states where AT&T offers wireline home internet service and where at least 1 resident participates in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Access from AT&T is subject to certain restrictions and/or limitations. Please visit att.com/access for more details.

Another excellent example of collaboration between the government and private industry to meet the community’s needs is the FirstNet project.

As hurricanes remind us regularly, in emergency situations, prompt and reliable communications for the men and women who put their lives on the line to help others is essential.

AT&T was privileged to be selected by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce, to build and manage the first broadband network dedicated to America’s police, firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) when they need it. The FirstNet network will cover all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, including rural communities and tribal lands in those states and territories.

In June, FirstNet provided each state with customized plans outlining the coverage, features and mission-critical capabilities that the FirstNet network will bring to first responders and other public safety personnel, such as priority access to voice and data across the existing nationwide AT&T LTE network.

We are excited about the capabilities of FirstNet and the public safety benefits it will bring for South Carolina.

To meet growing consumer demand, AT&T has invested more than $140 billion between 2011 and 2015, more than any other public company in America.

Here in South Carolina, over the past three years, we invested more than $800 million in our wireless and wired networks.

To be sure, this is not something we do alone. Our ongoing investment in advanced technology goes hand-in-hand with the efforts of policymakers here in South Carolina to consistently review and update policies to continue encouraging investment and innovation as technologies evolve.

And it affirms AT&T’s determination to help South Carolina and her people reap the full benefits of today’s global, digitally-connected economy and society.

Pamela Lackey is president of AT&T-South Carolina.  AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet is subject to certain restrictions and/or limitations. Please see att.com/internet/fixed-wireless.html for more details.  Access from AT&T is subject to certain restrictions and/or limitations. Please visit www.att.com/access  for more details.

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