Preparing for the Future with More Resilient Infrastructure

AT&T Blog Team
February 17, 2022
Community Impact

Preparing for the Future with More Resilient Infrastructure

In the face of climate change, recent natural disasters have impacted infrastructure and humanity in unprecedented ways. It is important we make smarter, climate-informed decisions to better prepare our network and operations to be resilient against the natural disasters of tomorrow.  With an increased focus from policymakers on strengthening our nation’s infrastructure, now is the chance to do things right for future generations to come.

To help build climate resilience, AT&T engaged the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory to help assess the risks of climate change to our business. This collaboration combined insights from the Laboratory’s regional climate modeling data with our data scientists’ sophisticated mapping capabilities, and it was the first such project publicly announced in the telecommunications industry.

This effort led AT&T to develop a Climate Change Analysis Tool (CCAT) that helps anticipate potential impacts of climate change on our infrastructure and operations up to 30 years in the future. After a successful pilot in four states in the Southeast, we are expanding CCAT to the rest of the contiguous US while also adding data on new climate impacts including wildfires and drought. As we expand, we will continue to make the climate datasets powering our tool available to the public so cities, universities, and other companies can benefit from using them and can assess their vulnerability as well. Read more about this effort in AT&T’s Road to Climate Resiliency report here.

However, this data is only useful if together, we use it to execute better plans. We are now also embedding the climate data into our network design and planning tools. Our mobility team can use the climate projections to identify locations that are at higher risk of climate impacts. This can help the team plan future network builds and allows AT&T unique insight into how various climate events affect different parts of our infrastructure.

We believe that AT&T being climate resilient in a vacuum is not enough. We need and want all organizations and communities to be resilient as well. That’s why AT&T also contributed $500,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s National Coastal Resilience Fund, which supports resilience projects in US coastal states and territories. Our collaboration with NFWF brings needed support to low-lying communities to help them restore natural habitats and reduce their exposure to coastal flooding risks. Additionally, through our Climate Resiliency Community Challenge, we donated a total of $250,000 to five universities to help Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina communities evaluate their long-term climate risks.

We always want to help think one step ahead of the “what if” scenario. We are excited to expand the applications of this climate impact data this year and to help empower communities to address the long-term impacts of climate change locally. Together, we can all play a role in creating a better, resilient future.

Learn more about AT&T’s climate resiliency initiatives.