AT&T has made a big announcement about its commitment to its hometown.
The Dallas-headquartered telecom giant released a report today that shows it invested nearly $3.7 billion in wireless and wireline networks in Dallas from 2017-2019. The intent was to expand and improve connectivity in more communities—overall increasing reliability, coverage, and performance for residents and businesses.
AT&T said its investment was essential to connect customers with family, friends, and colleagues of all distances. Leslie Ward, president of AT&T Texas, said the company is already seeing the benefits of these efforts for those working, learning, and connecting in North Texas.
“AT&T has worked with local leaders in the metroplex for many years to maximize investment and innovation in the wireless infrastructure,” Ward said. “In these unprecedented times and beyond, we remain committed to the future of the Dallas and Fort Worth communities.”
A 5G future
AT&T calls its wireless network the best and fastest in the U.S., and the largest in North America. Its 4G LTE network today covers more than 330 million people, which roughly equates to 2.6 million-plus square miles.
In Dallas, AT&T has increased access to high-speed internet by building over a million new fiber connections.
But AT&T believes 5G is the future of wireless technology. It even has the potential to blaze a trail for more mobile innovations.
Some—locally and in metros across the U.S.—are already experiencing 5G. The “next-generation” coverage is delivered to customers and businesses in two ways, as described by AT&T:
5G over sub-6 spectrum is expected to enable faster responses over broader distances on new devices and is now available in 190 markets.
5G+ delivers ultra-fast speeds and response times, capable of 1+ Gbps, using 5G technology and new millimeter wave spectrum, unlocking unprecedented experiences in iconic destinations and key venues. It’s ideal for businesses, universities, hospitals and sports venues and is currently deployed in parts of 35 cities.
Throughout the rest of 2020, AT&T plans to bring more 5G coverage to communities across the state.
AT&T continues boosting first responders
In its announcement, AT&T also expounded on how it continues to transform public safety.
AT&T’s FirstNet network is the first nationwide public safety communications platform that is dedicated to helping first responders. It was first announced in March 2018 as a public-private partnership between AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority), and the two have grown it since.
According to Jason Porter, senior vice president of the FirstNet Program at AT&T, subscribing first responders are equipped with “innovative, mission-focused tools, technologies, and features they can’t get anywhere else.”
“Public safety is called upon to handle emergencies every single day. They have to be ready for the worst with the best tools to help them respond safely, efficiently and effectively,” Porter previously said. “We’re honored to see FirstNet play a supporting role in that response for thousands of agencies across the country.”
AT&T plans to build upon its current and planned investments in Dallas, which includes FirstNet. The local expansion is being done with collaboration from state and public safety officials to ensure FirstNet meets the needs of the public safety community here.
AT&T’s plans are outlined in four main areas: purpose-built network enhancements, public safety-specific advanced capabilities, unparalleled emergency support, and free smartphones for Life for public safety agencies.
For starters, AT&T has boosted the FirstNet network with Band 14 spectrum—a national high-quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet—across Dallas. Agencies in Dallas that are on FirstNet also have 24/7 access to a fleet of 76 deployable network assets at no additional charge.
FirstNet also gives public safety officials in Dallas access to a communication ecosystem full of mission-centric devices, certified applications, and more.
“We have a responsibility to public safety unlike any other wireless carrier,” AT&T said in its blog. “That’s why Dallas agencies spanning law enforcement, fire, EMS, healthcare, hospital emergency departments, emergency management and 911 operations on FirstNet can stay up-to-date with smartphones for life at no additional cost.”
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