AT&T Hawai‘i: 2023 Recap

Elizabeth Songvilay – Director – External Affairs, AT&T Hawai‘i
February 1, 2024
Community Impact


AT&T Hawai‘i: 2023 Recap

As 2024 kicks off, we take pause to reflect on the highs and lows of the past year.

Continued Network Investment

Between 2020 and 2022, AT&T spent nearly $175 million investing in our network in Hawai‘i and the momentum continued throughout 2023.

Our network investments expanded our network to new areas and enhanced our existing coverage with increased data capacity. These investments help AT&T continue to meet the network demands of our customers as they live, work, learn, and play.

AT&T Hawai'i New Site Builds On-Air

FirstNet Growth

We have also made significant progress in building out FirstNet®, Built with AT&T, the nationwide public safety broadband network, across Hawai‘i. In 2023, the FirstNet Authority confirmed AT&T completed its initial, nationwide 5-year buildout. Every state, including Hawai‘i, as well as the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories, provided input to inform the initial buildout plan for their respective jurisdiction, based upon the needs of public safety.

Last October, we were proud to share our accomplishments with state and county leaders, public safety officials and lawmakers through a series of FirstNet Progress Update meetings in Honolulu and Hilo. As part of these meetings, our team hosted technology showcases where dedicated FirstNet deployable assets used to support public safety during planned and emergency events, including those utilized in West Maui, were displayed. We appreciate everyone who took the time to join us!

AT&T Hawai‘i and FirstNet teams with the O‘ahu-based dedicated FirstNet portable cell site at the Honolulu FirstNet technology showcase

There is still more to do, and we look forward to continuing our work with stakeholders and the public safety community, carrying the momentum through 2024 and beyond.

Wildfire Response & Recovery

The Maui wildfires had a devastating impact to West Maui – an impact that has been felt by us all.

Network Response

The fires immediately triggered an all-hands-on-deck response by AT&T teams in Hawai‘i, and across the country, to restore critical communication capabilities. This included supporting first responders on FirstNet and supporting the broader community by providing temporary connectivity solutions while working to restore any existing facilities that were impacted. You may read more about our response here.

AT&T team members deploying a portable cell site in Lāhainā to help fill a gap in coverage left by a nearby facility that was damaged by the fires. 

Contributions

To support those affected by the wildfires, AT&T contributed a total of over $100,000 to the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, American Red Cross, Information Technology Disaster Resource Center, and Maui Economic Opportunity to aid recovery efforts. To facilitate additional donations and support relief efforts on the ground, we also set up employee donation portals and public text-to-give campaigns that provided anyone who wanted to contribute financially with an opportunity to easily and effectively do so.

Customer Care

Our Maui team also made themselves available to on-island customers by extending store hours and promotions to help keep people connected. Through our store, we learned that many people lost their phones while fleeing to safety. This prompted our retail and customer account teams to collect over 100 phones from Google, Samsung, and from within AT&T to donate to those who were impacted. We collaborated with the J. Walter Cameron Center, who was already hard at work in distributing devices, to help distribute these phones to those who needed them the most.

We are grateful to all who joined the response efforts, many of whom were impacted themselves. AT&T will continue to offer what support we can on this road to recovery.

Growing Stronger Together

Seeing the difference we can make when we come together is uplifting, and we know it will be important in the year ahead. There are many organizations in Hawai‘i with whom AT&T shares a long history of collaboration, and over the last year we worked with these organizations to continue to uplift our community, through disaster recovery support and efforts to help bridge the digital divide. Here are a few examples from 2023:

  • The AT&T Hawai‘i team participated in a 2023 nationwide laptop distribution effort between AT&T and Human-I-T. 200 laptops were distributed across Hawai‘i through five non-profits in Kaua‘i County, Hawai‘i County, City & County of Honolulu, and Maui County. We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked with Kaua‘i Planning & Action Alliance, HOPE Services, Maui Economic Opportunity, Na Kahua Hale O Ulu Wini, and Parents And Children Together. Such teamwork underscores our dedication to empowering local communities and helping people connect to greater possibility.

Kaua‘i Planning & Action Alliance and staff with laptops prior to distribution.

AT&T External Affairs Director Elizabeth Songvilay with Maui Economic Opportunity CEO Debbie Cabebe and staff at one of MEO’s distribution event (distribution events were held in Wailuku, West Maui, and Kaunakakai.

  • The AT&T Foundation contributed $36,000 to the YMCA of Honolulu to help bridge the digital divide. These funds sponsored digital literacy classes titled Kūpuna Connects which are expected to serve over 100 kūpuna across O‘ahu through part of 2024. Over the last three years, the AT&T Foundation has contributed over $100,000 to the YMCA of Honolulu to help bridge the digital divide, including the homework gap during the COVID-19 pandemic.

YMCA staff leading one of the first Kūpuna Connect classes at the Kaimuki-Waialae YMCA. 

  • Our AT&T team members love to be in the community where we are needed. As a longtime supporter of the Hawai‘i Food Bank, AT&T team members participated in the Hawai‘i Food Bank’s annual food drive on O‘ahu last August, which raised over $300,000 for Maui relief efforts. And in October, AT&T hosted a month-long blood drive to help replenish Hawai‘i’s low blood supply.

 

Looking ahead

We want to extend our deepest gratitude and mahalo to all who we have worked with to help meet the growing demands of AT&T customers as well as create safer, more connected, stronger and healthier communities. We are honored and proud to be a part of this community, and we hope to continue to play an integral part toward opportunity and success in 2024 and beyond.

 

 

 

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