Building Digital Confidence, Skills and Access in the Golden State

Marc Blakeman, President of AT&T California
November 9, 2022
Broadband Access and Affordability


Building Digital Confidence, Skills and Access in the Golden State

Since starting my career with AT&T over twenty-five years ago, it has been a thrill to see our digital world evolve and adapt. As I settle into my new role, I’m getting up to speed on everything we are doing in California to help expand connectivity and I’m really impressed and excited about the direction we’re headed.

Across California, AT&T is investing in digital inclusion, literacy and learning to help connect our California students and families with the skills, resources and education needed to succeed in the future.

As part of AT&T’s ongoing $2 billion commitment from 2021 to 2023 to help bridge the digital divide across the nation, the company has implemented a series of initiatives to help more Californians have access to high-quality connectivity and to help underserved communities overcome barriers to internet affordability and safe adoption.

Supporting Nonprofits to Increase Connectivity: From 2021-2022, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation have contributed more than $2 million to nonprofit organizations in California. These organizations provide innovative trainings, programs, resources and solutions to connect underserved communities. These contributions will help provide access and internet skill development for both youth and adults and are directed to a variety of programs, including increasing K-12 student access to technology, homework support and academic tutoring.

Connected Learning Centers: This year, AT&T has opened four Connected Learning Centers (CLC) in California, including the opening of a CLC at the Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation (VSEDC) Business Enterprise Center in October. The goal of the center is to encourage more families to get connected through free access to the internet and education resources that teach the value of broadband and how to use it safely and effectively.

Free Digital Literacy Workshops: Strong digital literacy skills are crucial for overcoming the barriers individuals and families face when first participating in our digital-first world, including factors like privacy and online safety. In the last month, across California, we’ve offered numerous free digital literacy workshops to help parents, caregivers and families develop skills and confidence using technology. These workshops help families learn how to use computers and internet resources, which are essential to applying for jobs, obtaining an education, accessing telehealth services and everyday activities.

Free Computers for Students and Families: Access to computers is vital in helping to bridge the digital divide, so we are providing these resources to those that need them most. AT&T employees recently worked with Compudopt and Human-I-T to distribute more than 1,000 free laptops to students and families in need across the country, including in Los Angeles and San Francisco. This is part our newly announced contribution of more than $10 million to support the distribution of additional free laptops to students and families across the country. In total, Compudopt and Human-I-T will help provide 26,000 computers to those in need. Along with providing devices, the nonprofits will also offer digital inclusion programs and digital literacy resources.

Offering Free Internet: AT&T participates in the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Eligible households can sign-up for free unlimited internet service by combining the $30 a month benefit1 from ACP with our low-cost internet plan, Access from AT&T, delivering internet speeds of up to 100Mbps.2 To help spread the word about the program – we’ve provided ACP and Access information at events in Los Angeles including 10,000 attendees at the Fiestas Patrias event and 5,000 attendees at the Gardena Jazz & Music Festival all day event.

  • In Los Angeles we hosted a free digital literacy event in English and Spanish, where 30 local families learned digital skills at our Connected Learning Center at the Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund (SALEF), which serves the Latino community in downtown Los Angeles. Participants received information about Access and ACP.

Expanding Access to Fiber: AT&T is committed to delivering high-speed internet to connect more Californians and help close the digital divide. To meet the demands for reliable, high-speed connections today – and in the future – we are investing in our fiber network. In California, we invested nearly $8.3 billion in our wireless and wireline networks from 2019-2021. And our investments are making an impact. We see fiber as an asset that can provide more educational opportunities, enhance and improve access to healthcare, and strengthen the ways the community can connect with one another. The expanded network will give more customers access to ultra-fast home internet speeds up to 5-Gigs.3 You can sign up to be notified when AT&T Fiber is available to your address through att.com/notifyme.

AT&T is committed to expanding connectivity across the state and will continue to invest in community programs and services that expand access to high-speed fiber internet to more Californians.

1 Or up to $75/mo. off their bill if they reside on qualifying Tribal lands.

2 Terms, conditions & restrictions apply. Plans up to 100Mbps. Limited availability/areas. Free internet subject to continued participation in the ACP and application of the ACP benefit to Access from AT&T plans.

3 Limited availability in select areas. Internet speed claims represent maximum wired network service capability speeds to the home and recommended setup. Actual customer speeds are not guaranteed. Single device wired speed maximum 4.7Gbps. For more information go to www.att.com/speed101