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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Moving connections forward for the West Delray Beach community

For well over 100 years, the traditional phone network has served America well. Many fondly recall desktop rotary phones and phone booths. But many others have never seen – or used – these antiquated devices.

Communications technology has accelerated at breakneck speed. Movies and TV shows from as little as ten years ago document how fast technology and devices have evolved. No longer do we carry large, brick-like mobile phones; today it is likely that you are carrying a mobile device that fits neatly into your pocket or handbag. And that mobile device is not just a telephone – in fact, voice is just one application available among dozens of others, including video, text, and email. Indeed, this mobile device is more like an essential multi-tasker that helps keep you on schedule, allows you to work remotely, tracks your calories for the day and even how much sleep you got last night, all the while enabling you to text with your children, photograph the amazing pastry you had at breakfast, upload and share that picture with friends and family, and show you the weather for the next day.

Indeed, while that rotary phone of yesterday has a special place in our hearts, today’s technology means that your mobile device plays an increasingly critical – and central - role in your daily life. Like millions of others across the country, Florida’s residents and businesses are making the choice to use these newer products and devices to connect them at home, at work and while on the go. Indeed, in Florida, fewer than 7% of adults continue to rely solely on traditional wireline telephone service for their communications needs.

But no matter how people are choosing to connect nowadays, AT&T has never lost sight of the fact that this connection must be safe, strong and reliable. AT&T’s investments in our wireless and wired networks throughout Florida total more than $2.75 billion between 2011 through 2013. This investment is helping us to improve and expand our network in order to meet growing consumer demand, and pave the way for future innovation.

All of this is why, as we continue upgrading our network here in Florida and across the country, ensuring that your experience is safe, reliable, and dependable, no matter how you connect, is our top priority.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) called on companies to submit proposals to conduct trials where new 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.

AT&T is answering the call to help connect the nation using the latest network and technologies. We have proposed to select two locations nationwide to conduct such trials, and the West Delray Beach area is one of them.

Through the trials, we hope to learn how best to deliver new and enhanced connections to our customers. We will be working with the FCC (which will oversee the trials), our customers, and the West Delray Beach community, to identify any issues, special needs, and considerations that may arise. We will then work to find solutions that best serve our customers.

I want to stress that throughout the trial, the traditional phone network will be in place. But we will also be building out new technologies robust enough for not just your phone, but your TV, email, Internet content, and more.

Throughout this process, we need to hear from you, our customers. We need to hear about your experiences and your connections, so we can work with you to find the solutions to meet your needs. We also pledge that this process will be open and transparent, so that as more of our customers choose to use newer, faster devices, we can make certain that all the things you need to keep you safe and healthy — 911, medical services, home alarms — continue to be there for you.

Working together, what we learn during this process will help provide information and data that will bring new and enhanced services to our customers in the West Delray Beach area of Florida, and then across the nation.

All of us at AT&T are excited to work with you as we show the world what the future of technology looks like. We will be in the West Delray Beach community talking to customers about their needs and learning what we need to do in order to make this as safe, easy, and seamless as possible.

Together, we can find the solutions to make new technologies work for everyone — both in Florida, and across the country. I look forward to working with you.

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Joe York is AT&T's president for Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.