Last September, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) announced the launch of the Partner2Connect (P2C) Digital Coalition to foster meaningful connectivity and digital transformation in communities across the globe. P2C encouraged stakeholders to construct pledges within four Focus Areas: Connecting People Everywhere; Empowering Communities; Building Digital Ecosystems; and Incentivizing Investments. The aim of this initiative – making bold moves that inspire transformational change – aligns closely with what we do at AT&T; in 2021, our company made a 3-year, $2-billion commitment to help close the digital divide.
At AT&T, our purpose is to create connection – with each other, with what people need to thrive in their everyday lives and with experiences that matter. AT&T is committed to helping to bridge the digital divide through efforts that promote broadband affordability, access and adoption. We are also investing our resources and knowledge to advance the digital skills needed to thrive in the classrooms and workplaces of today and tomorrow, specifically through AT&T Connected Learning℠. Our company also contributes to programs focused on empowering girls and young women with tech and STEM skills, as well as programs focused on increasing the representation of women in STEM careers and supporting women entrepreneurs.
With these values in mind, I’m proud to share that AT&T has made the following commitments to the Partner2Connect initiative:
- AT&T pledges to equip more than 3 million people in 13 countries/jurisdictions with digital skills training by 2025.
- AT&T pledges to provide 1 million people in need with digital resources through AT&T Connected Learning℠ by 2025.
- AT&T pledges to support more than 6,000 women entrepreneurs in 5 countries by 2025, through both financial support and relevant training.
In addition to these three pledges by AT&T, I am also glad to share details here about a joint Partner2Connect pledge made by AT&T and the United States Telecommunication Training Institute (USTTI). AT&T and USTTI have a strong, enduring relationship – with AT&T serving as a founding board member of the organization in the 1980s, and with continued collaboration today. We also have priorities that go hand-in-hand: AT&T recognizes the critical importance of connectivity and the need for rapid restoration of communications to areas affected by disasters, and our Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) program is one of the largest and most advanced of its kind.
- AT&T and USTTI commit to delivering a structured network disaster recovery training program to 20 regulators and telecom industry representatives, with a focus on those from Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, and leader on the Partner2Connect initiative, applauded AT&T for our commitments and reiterated the possibilities provided by joining in on this initiative:
“I welcome these pledges towards Partner2Connect. The Partner2Connect Coalition is a game-changing opportunity to take a holistic approach, catalyze new partnerships, and mobilize the resources needed to connect those who are still offline. I am calling on all players to step up and help us connect those 2.9 billion that are unconnected. I look forward to welcoming many more pledges soon so that we can truly ‘Partner2Connect the World.’”
You may read more about the ITU Partner2Connect Digital Coalition here.