AT&T: Expanding Infrastructure & Investing in Pennsylvanians
“We contribute to Team Pennsylvania because they have a strong record of results. The organization brings together the public and private sectors to help the commonwealth compete regionally, nationally and globally.”
– J. Michael Schweder, President, AT&T Mid Atlantic
AT&T’s roots are deep in Pennsylvania – stretching back to 1876 with Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone and the founding of the company that would become AT&T. One of the milestones in the company’s long and storied history has direct links to Pennsylvania: near the end of 1885, AT&T celebrated the completion of its first line between Philadelphia and New York. This became a centerpiece in the foundation of the company’s long distance business. 130 years later, AT&T, a longtime investor in Team PA, continues to invest in their network to keep people, including Pennsylvanians, connected to their world. According to J. Michael Schweder, President, AT&T Mid Atlantic, the company invested more than $800 million from 2014 – 2016 into their network in Pennsylvania.
“Throughout the company’s history, millions of Pennsylvanians have benefited from the innovative products and services offered by AT&T. Thousands have parents, grandparents and other family members who have worked for what today is still one of the most recognizable brands in the world,” said Schweder. AT&T aims to serve millions of customers around the world with connecting to leading entertainment, mobile, high-speed internet and voice services. AT&T boasts the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider and nearly 3.5 million companies, from small to large businesses across the globe, turn to AT&T for their highly secure, smart solutions.
In Spring 2017, AT&T was selected by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to build and manage the first broadband network dedicated to America’s police, firefighters, and emergency personnel services (EMS). The FirstNet network will cover all 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. The network will reach rural communities and tribal lands in those states and territories. This significant public-private investment in communications infrastructure will support millions of first responders and public safety personnel nationwide who protect and serve more than 320 million people across the U.S. This investment is expected to create 10,000 U.S. jobs over the next two years to support the network buildout, beginning later this year.
AT&T has also focused on investing in communications infrastructure right here in Pennsylvania. Recently, the company collaborated with state policymakers and local government officials to pass the Wireless Broadband Collocation Act, which streamlines the process for adding wireless infrastructure to existing structures, such as water tanks of buildings. “In order to keep pace with consumer demand and prepare for a 5G future, AT&T and the wireless industry are working to improve the regulatory climate and infrastructure deployment for newer technologies known as small cells,” explained Schweder. Small cells will allow for Pennsylvanians to have access to strong mobile connections to help with work, learning, and leisure. “We are helping communities by connecting things like utility meters, street lights, and water systems. Adding connectivity to these physical properties can help transform how cities serve their citizens, use energy, and preserve nature resources.”
It is very clear that AT&T cares about the communities they serve. Their signature philanthropic initiative, AT&T Aspire, is a multi-year program designed to drive innovation in education to promote student success in school and beyond. By leveraging technology, relationships and social innovation, AT&T believes they can help all students make their biggest dreams a reality. They provide and support opportunities for members of the community to foster skills that will meet the needs of the future workforce. In Pennsylvania, they have supported organizations across the commonwealth that share these goals, including Team PA.
In August 2016, AT&T approached Team PA with a partnership opportunity to administer programming that would strengthen community and economic development leadership by reaching out to young professional communities. Activities, funded by a generous contribution from AT&T, are underway to close the gap in engaging young professionals in nonprofit and civic leadership boards and activities. They include offering scholarships to participate in professional development opportunities and convening young professional groups on a statewide basis to share best practices and better integrate with community leadership organizations. “We [AT&T] contribute to Team Pennsylvania because they have a strong record of results. The organization brings together the public and private sectors to help the commonwealth compete regionally, nationally and globally. A part of those efforts includes making sure there are educational programs in Pennsylvania to prepare the workforce with important skills. We all need to work together to prepare the next generation of business and technology leaders for Pennsylvania.”
Schweder concluded by reminding Pennsylvanians that distracted driving is never ok. That’s the theme of the company’s “It Can Wait” campaign to curb distracted driving. Learn more and take the pledge at www.itcanwait.com.