Meeting Consumer Demand
for advanced Internet-based services

Picture of AT&T Alabama State President Fred McCallum

AT&T Consumers are driving growth of IP services
By Fred McCallum, AT&T Alabama President

Carbon Hill has been proposed by AT&T as one of two locations in the country where we will implement a new trial technology program overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This will serve as the model for providing our customers with access to our ultra-fast, Internet-based network. What we learn together in Carbon Hill will enable cities, small towns and rural communities across America to take advantage of this communications technology.

As a testament to the reliability and value of this technology, most Alabama residents are already using the newer services and devices this network makes possible. Around Alabama and across the country, we access the Internet on our cell phones, use Skype to “virtually” visit with friends and family, or use voice services offered by cable providers. All of these are Internet-based services. And thousands more people each month are choosing to connect using these newer technologies and services.

For those who are using these technologies, and especially for those who are not yet, this proposed trial is a way for AT&T, working responsibly, openly and transparently, and together with the FCC, our customers and the community in Carbon Hill, to identify and address any issues, special needs, and considerations that may arise, and best assure overall customer satisfaction.

The FCC has called on companies to submit proposals to conduct trials where connections and services will be rolled out in a community and offered to consumers, all while ensuring the values of universal service, competition, public safety, reliability and consumer protection continue to be met. We at AT&T are answering this call with our proposed selection of Carbon Hill as one of two trial locations nationwide. What we learn in Carbon Hill will allow us to safely and reliably help connect all Americans using the latest network and technologies.

We are very realistic about this trial. Like with any new program or technology, we expect there will be issues that arise, and, working together, we stand ready to address them. This trial will be taking place in an open and transparent way, while the traditional telephone network is still in place.

Throughout our over 130 year history, connecting our customers to the people and things that matter to them has been AT&T’s most important goal. Assuring that this connection is safe, strong and reliable is our guiding principle, and a cornerstone of this trial. Throughout the trial, AT&T will maintain its unwavering commitment to protecting, promoting and preserving the values of universal service, competition, public safety, reliability and consumer protection.

Let me say a bit more about the trial. If you are like me, you almost take the communications revolution for granted.

We have moved from a curly-corded phone attached to the kitchen wall to a mobile society that allows people to connect to their family, friends, business associates and even strangers whenever and wherever they choose.

Technology has made it possible for people to connect in more ways than ever before. While that curly-corded kitchen phone connected you to a place –today, connections provided using cell phones, email, video chat, text messages, are to people, wherever they are. And each passing day and year brings more new products and services for people to use to connect to their families, friends and co-workers.

I remember the first time I saw email and the first phone I had that texted. It was amazing. But today, I probably do both of these things dozens of times a day, to quickly and easily connect to people and information.

I remember when I saw the first iPhone - seven years ago - and was amazed again. And today our children and grandchildren watch movies on their phones and tablets. And after just seven years, we think nothing of it – of all that can be done with these devices.

This amazing revolution is driven by you, and people like you, and by the choices you are making every day in how and where you choose to connect.

That is really what this trial is about. The new things we want to do and the products and services we want to use need an expanded, upgraded network that is smart enough to carry our voices, our shows, our business, and all our data across the country and around the world and right back to here in Alabama.

We are investing and building to assure that Alabama and the rest of the country have access to the newest technologies and services. AT&T has invested nearly $1.35 billion in its wireless and wired networks between 2011 through 2013, driving a wide range of upgrades to enhnace speed, reliability, coverage and performance for residents and business customers.

Here in Carbon Hill, we have been investing to build new infrastructure and upgrade our exisiting facilities to better serve our customers and the Carbon Hill community. In 2013, we put up 4 new cell towers and made a number of additional enhancments to improve the connections you depend on.

We have also been investing in people. In 2013, we hired more than 350 people across Alabama to help build and enhance our IP infrastructure. We are looking forward to continuing to invest here in Alabama, both in the technology and in the people needed to connect you with that technology. That's what this trial is all about.

We are excited to work with our customers, to hear about their experiences and to understand what we can do to make their transition to the future of technology safe, easy, simple and seamless. We will be on the ground in Carbon Hill talking to customers about their communications needs so that we can find solutions and put them in place – both here in Alabama and around the country.

I am excited that Carbon Hill has been proposed for selection for this trial. AT&T and our Alabama employees are proud to be a part of the fabric of our state. We live and work here, we send our children and grandchildren to the local schools, we cheer on the local sports teams and shop at the local stores. We know we provide more than just a service; we are connecting our friends, our neighbors and our communities to another. This trial will help ensure that AT&T can continue giving Carbon Hill, and all of Alabama, the efficient, reliable and affordable connections they want.

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