AT&T announced a $2 billion investment over the next 3 years to help address the “digital divide”. Through low-cost broadband offers, participation in the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), and community investment, AT&T is set to bring robust broadband connectivity to more Americans.
“We believe that broadband connectivity is essential for all Americans,” said John Stankey, CEO, AT&T. “Our broadband networks rose to the challenge of the pandemic in part due to policies that promoted private sector investment in multiple technologies and networks. AT&T is investing in and expanding the reach of our broadband networks while also advocating for effective and sustainable public policies that help close this country’s digital divide.”
Education Offers. The telco will offer discounted wireless solutions to more than 135,000 public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. These offers help keep students and teachers connected in a 1:1 learning model to assist in transforming educational opportunities.
Access from AT&T. Introduced 5 years ago, this AT&T-funded program makes the internet more affordable for customers by providing qualifying households with wireline internet service at $10 or less per month. This voluntary offer from AT&T has no contract or installation fee and includes in-home Wi-Fi at no additional cost.
Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). Eligible AT&T customers will be able to temporarily reduce their monthly broadband costs by taking advantage of the Federal Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). This government program administered by the FCC will allow more than 30 million eligible households to receive an additional subsidy of up to $50-$75 a month.
“We tip our hat to Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel for her leadership in making the Emergency Broadband Benefit available to more than 30 million households,” Stankey said. “The EBB is a great first step in addressing affordability in the short term. We continue to encourage Congress to work on more permanent solutions with sustainable funding so that all Americans can have access to affordable broadband.”
Global Broadband and Rural Broadband Expert Jeff Seal noted, “I agree with John Stankey in that Broadband needs in America are real and the challenges are being magnified during the pandemic. For many people the only option is scramble to find Wi-Fi hotspots to support critical activities such as telemedicine sessions and distance learning. I applaud AT&T's efforts to bridge the connectivity gap with incremental investments and subscriber subsidies, as well as no-cost educational content through its WarnerMedia division.”