"COVID-19 is an unprecedented event for the country – and in times of emergency, communication is critical."

That’s from Tim Ketchie, communications unit leader for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And he’s right. Companies that own the network to keep people connected are mission critical – now more than ever before.

AT&T was built for a time like this. When customers need us most, we show up. That’s what we do. It’s who we’ve been for 144 years as a company. It’s who we are today.

We own the network that connects parents to children, students to teachers, doctors to patients, our elderly and disabled population to resources for assistance. Whether it’s working from home, taking online classes, streaming videos or games or conferencing with a doctor via telehealth services, our network is critical.

I have the privilege of leading AT&T Field Operations, and our team is at the front line of this crucial work. We keep our network alive for our customers.

Not only is it our mission to keep customers and communities connected, but it’s our civic duty. And we take that duty seriously. It’s even more critical during a public health crisis, especially for our health care providers, first responders and others delivering vital services.

Your AT&T technicians are the boots on the ground when a customer’s voice, data or internet is down and needs fixing.

Every day, thousands of technicians across the country are entering a customer’s home or business to repair or install service. Every day, they are trusting that they’ll remain healthy and able to work. Day after day, they leave their homes to keep their neighbors and communities connected as our national emergency looms around them.

Internet, telephone and video connectivity are essential services, and the installation and repair of those services is work technicians can’t accomplish from their own homes. So, they go to the front lines, and out into an uncertain world to keep us connected. They are dedicated. They show up.

These technicians are restoring connectivity at:

  1. Homes … where parents are working and kids are being schooled remotely.
  2. Businesses … where those who must be in the office, due to the nature of their work, have a critical need to stay connected.
  3. Hospitals … where doctors and nurses rely on connectivity to save lives and to receive the latest updates and developments in their fight against this new virus.
  4. Quarantine centers … where both the medical staff and the patients in their care need to stay connected to the outside world.

While their mission is essential to keep our customers connected, we also recognize that there is a balance between providing service and keeping our technicians safe. To accomplish that balance, and as the situation evolves, we’re providing them with new policies and procedures, as outlined below.

  • Customers will notice technicians asking appropriate COVID-19-related questions before arrival.
  • Technicians will dispatch only if they have a way to keep their hands and equipment clean. 
  • Our technicians will practice social distancing while working, all while delivering on our commitment to service.
  • We’re also updating the tools we use to communicate with customers before dispatch (like sending text messages) to provide self-help and or appointment rescheduling where appropriate for safety.

From Hurricane Harvey to the California wildfires to the recent tornado in Nashville – we keep our country connected. COVID-19 is no different – our mission remains the same. When disaster strikes our country and communities, we show up. That’s what we do.

AT&T was built for this. And we will be there.