What are the qualities that define a community? Unity, commitment, and adaptability – all qualities, when woven together, that describe the values our teams work hard to uphold, in and outside the company.
As 2020 comes to an end, we remain steadfast in our commitment to be there for friends, families, coworkers and neighbors. Whether it’s addressing social and economic barriers or empowering those particularly affected by the pandemic, we continue to collaborate with civic and non-profit organizations to provide our communities with the resources they need.
When it comes to racial inequality, the problem cannot be solved overnight. To do our part, we continue to actively reevaluate how to make a positive impact. Our $10 million commitment to create economic opportunities and foster upward mobility for Black and underserved communities is just one of the many ways we are helping to combat long-standing social inequities.
While the homework gap has existed for decades, COVID-19 has brought national awareness to the problem. Although America’s networks have performed well during the pandemic, many rural and low-income families don’t have the internet access they need to work and learn. We believe in the equality of education and connection is at our core. And now that the classroom has gone digital, we are refocusing our efforts to expand student connectivity.
It is vital we continue to support each other through the COVID-19 pandemic to emerge stronger than ever. From opening opportunity’s doors to closing technology gaps, I invite you to read below and learn more about our journey to building a resilient community.
Have a happy holiday season, and let’s all look forward to 2021.
Investing in Virginia: Mobile Broadband Network for First Responders Expands Across Virginia
Virginia’s first responders are getting a major boost in their wireless communications with the addition of new, purpose-built FirstNet cell sites and other network enhancements statewide. This new infrastructure is a part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place across the Commonwealth, bringing increased coverage, capacity and capabilities for public safety.
New FirstNet cell sites have launched in the following counties:
- Carroll County: New sites are on the air, in Hillsville, at the intersection of US22 and Route 100; Laurel Fork very close to U.S. 58; and Dugspur, providing new coverage to Dugspur and surrounding areas and completing the initiative that brings coverage to US 221 (Floyd Pike) between Hillsville and Copper Hill.
- Craig County: A new site in New Castle brings new coverage to the town of New Castle and to the surrounding areas to include Routes 311, 42, 624, and 615.
- Fairfax County: A new site near the intersection of Franconia Road and South Van Dorn Street improves coverage between the Beltway and Kingstowne Town Center.
- Floyd County: A new site in Willis will bring coverage to the western portion of Willis and surrounding areas. Other new sites are on the air in the county, including Copper Hill near Floyd Highway; Locust Grove around Route 661; and a new site that improves coverage around Midkiff Road in Floyd.
- Franklin County: A new site in Ferrum provides coverage for Routes 864, 853, 607, 40, and surrounding areas, including Ferrum College.
- Grayson County: A new site in Independence provides coverage around Independence, including the River North Correctional Center and along US 21 and US 221.
- Patrick County: A new site north of Stuart provides coverage around U.S. 58, and another new site provides coverage around Route 747/Widow Drive in Meadows of Dan.
- Washington County: A new site in Damascus provides coverage in town and around US 58, and state Routes 708 and 712.
“Virginia’s first responders deserve fast, reliable and dedicated coverage across the state to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents. And with FirstNet, that’s exactly what they’re getting.”
Vince Apruzzese — President, AT&T Virginia
“Virginia’s first responders deserve fast, reliable and dedicated coverage across the state to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents. And with FirstNet, that’s exactly what they’re getting,” said Vince Apruzzese, president, AT&T Virginia. “We couldn’t be more pleased to support the public safety mission and bring the state’s first responders – and residents – greater access to the connectivity they need. Working with public safety we’ve made FirstNet nimble, adaptable and ready to scale for even the most severe situations.”
Apruzzese added that Virginia was the first state in the country to opt in to FirstNet in July 2017.
Leveling the playing field: changing barriers to opportunities
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world to rapidly change the ways we live and work. So, in a time not short on challenges, how do we change barriers to opportunities? We level the playing field.
- Closing the homework connectivity gap is a top national priority, and I’m proud that AT&T continues to do its part to keep students connected to their teachers. Recently, we introduced a new education initiative that will build on our efforts and move us closer to closing both the homework gap and the home connectivity gap. And we aren’t stopping there. We also announced a new $10 million contribution and collaboration with Connected Nation that will provide free internet connectivity and devices to underserved communities across the country. Read more about these efforts here.
- As the pandemic continues to force schools to rely heavily on remote learning, disconnected students are not just missing homework – they are missing critical learning. The federal Lifeline program – a program intended to help make telecommunications services more affordable for low-income Americans – can and should help address these urgent connectivity needs. But first, we need to bring the program into the 21st century. Learn how that can happen.
Supporting equality and upward mobility for underserved communities
At AT&T, we believe each of us has a role to identify and address racial inequality wherever it exists. Many actions can yield positive changes. However, this is not a one size fits all approach. Here’s what we’re doing to make a difference:
- As part of our $10 million commitment to create economic opportunity and foster upward mobility for Black and underserved communities, we’ve supported several organizations in Virginia is collaborating with the Staunton Creative Community Fund (SCCF); Fisher House; Church Hill Activities and Tutoring; Celebrate RVA; and Achievable Dream.
- Be sure to watch HBO’s Between the World and Me. Based on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ #1 New York Times bestseller, and later adapted and staged by the Apollo Theater, the special combines elements of that production, including powerful readings from Coates’ book. Watch free episodes here.