As innovation introduces new opportunities every day, we are helping to increase digital inclusion for rural areas and undersubscribed populations.
We are helping to meet the internet connectivity needs of rural and undersubscribed consumers in 3 ways:
- Our low-cost home internet program;
- Expanding internet connectivity to largely rural consumers; and
- Educating and empowering consumers to get the most out of their connections.
- Low-Cost Home Internet Program
Affordable internet access is an important tool for advancing access to education, healthcare and employment — whether households use the internet for school, work, to complete an online education, apply for jobs online, research health information, or simply stay in touch with family and friends. In 2018, we continued to help make internet service more affordable for qualifying low-income households in our 21-state wireline footprint with our Access from AT&T program. 1 1 Consistent with the requirements of the FCC DIRECTV Merger Order.Access from AT&T is available to households within our 21-state wireline footprint with at least 1 resident who participates in the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In California only, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients may also qualify. AT&T assigns eligible households the fastest of these speed tiers that is available at their address for the stated price: 10 Mbps or 5 Mbps for $10 a month; or 3 Mbps, 1.5 Mbps or 768 Kbps for $5 a month. 2 2 NOTE REGARDING INTERNET SPEED AND DATA ALLOWANCES: Internet speed claims represent maximum network service capability speeds. Actual customer speeds may vary based on factors including site traffic, content provider server capacity, internal network management factors and device capabilities, and are not guaranteed. For more information, go to att.com/speed101. Pricing excludes taxes. Service will include a monthly data allowance of either 150 GB, 215 GB or 1TB of data/mo. depending on the type and speed of service you receive. If you exceed your monthly data plan allowance, you will be automatically charged $10 for each 50 GB of data usage in excess of your data plan, even if less than 50GB is used. For more information, go to att.com/internet-usage. AT&T waives installation and internet equipment fees for qualifying households. Other eligibility requirements also apply. For full details Access from AT&T att.com/access.
As part of our Access from AT&T program outreach efforts, we’ve connected with national, state and local groups that work with low-income individuals and families for their assistance in educating potential participants. These organizations include social services groups and organizations representing veterans, seniors, non-English speakers and other groups. We also are collaborating with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on its ConnectHome USA program. In 2018, we held 18 events to help increase awareness of our program among HUD residents in ConnectHome USA locations within our wireline footprint. AT&T also held 9 events at different community locations for local families and organizations.
- Helping to Meet the Connectivity Needs of Rural Populations
Through our participation in a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program, AT&T has been helping to meet the connectivity needs of customers in largely rural areas and to expand the opportunities enabled by internet access. By the end of 2020, AT&T will have used funds from this FCC program to help deploy, maintain and offer internet access and voice services to 1.1 million mostly rural homes and small business locations in FCC-identified areas.
Fixed Wireless Internet (FWI) service is one technology we are using as part of this FCC program. Our FWI service delivers internet service through a base station and a fixed antenna on a customer’s home or building, making it an effective way to provide internet service to customer locations that are difficult to serve through other technologies. We met our FCC requirement to deploy broadband internet access to more than 660,000 locations across 18 states by the end of 2018, bringing reliable and fast internet access to many for the first time.The current generation of FWI service supports speeds of at least 10 Mbps for download and 1 Mbps for upload. 3 3 Ibid. Additionally, many areas where we deliver FWI service as part of this initiative will be upgraded to receive mobile LTE services if they do not already have them.Through AT&T Wireless Internet (AWI), we provide telephone and internet service for home or office over the AT&T wireless network. This service is also an option available to those who live in rural or other areas with limited broadband options. AWI allows customers to access the internet virtually anywhere there is a power outlet and a strong signal from our wireless network. 4 4 Coverage not available everywhere. For the most current coverage information, visit https://www.att.com/maps/wireless-coverage.html. A phone jack, wired internet connection or professional installation are not required. Customers can stream movies and shows, listen to music and play games.
AT&T is also investigating innovative new approaches, such as Project AirGig, to provide connectivity. This technology could one day deliver low-cost, multi-gigabit internet speeds using wireless transmission capability close to power lines. By using existing infrastructure such as power lines, Project AirGig may enable a dramatically expanded broadband footprint to provide service in urban and rural parts of the world that currently lack high-speed internet access.
- Educating Communities
We are working in communities around the country to provide people with the skills they need to maximize the value of internet access.
For more information about our work to educate communities on internet safety, visit our Responsible Use of Products and Services issue brief.
- Policy Advocacy
The economics of building and expanding internet access to often sparsely-populated rural areas can be challenging. We believe it takes a collaborative approach between the public and private sectors, as well as smart public policy, to continue connecting more rural areas unserved by terrestrial broadband to the benefits of reliable and fast internet.
To that end, policies developed at all levels of government need to work with the market and foster continued
private-sector investment and innovation by eliminating barriers to network deployment. The private sector has the expertise and a proven track record of meeting consumer demand at the speeds — and with the service options and technologies — consumers want.
The FCC is directing substantial federal resources toward updating its high-cost universal service programs to support internet deployment. These federal programs alone, however, will not achieve the goal of universal internet access. The key to achieving that goal cannot rest solely (or even primarily) with the government. Public dollars are limited and in high demand for pressing public issues, including education, public safety and repair of aging roads and bridges. The most rational and effective approach, in combination with high-cost support programs such as CAF II, is for government — at the local, state and federal levels — to pursue policies that work with the market to foster the greatest private-sector investment and expansion of internet access possible.
Since the acquisition of WarnerMedia in June 2018 and the launch of Xandr in September 2018, we are continuing to integrate operationally and through our CSR reporting. For this reason, information for these 2 affiliates is not included in this brief, except where specifically referenced.
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