The telecommunications sector plays a pivotal role in reducing or even eliminating the digital divide. At a time when an unprecedented amount of federal funding is being made available to states, counties and communities to build out infrastructure, carriers such as AT&T are hard at work to forge partnerships with these communities to deploy networks and connect those most in need.
AT&T has had some early success in helping communities access these funds and quickly deploy fiber networks. As recently as this October, AT&T launched Fiber Broadband in Vandeburgh County, Indiana, an effort that Jeff Luong, president of Broadband Access & Adoption Initiatives at AT&T, describes as challenging given the distances and cost involved, but of vital importance to the local community. This deployment, according to AT&T, represents its first deployment in a $39 million investment.
However, this is just the start of a long road, not only for AT&T but for the industry and communities alike, in bridging the digital divide. While the federal money pot is large, it sits in different funds and allocations, resulting in complex application processes and different allocation criteria. Collaboration between public and private entities will be crucial to navigate the bureaucracy to help deliver broadband networks across the United States.
In this interview, Jeff Luong focuses on the work carried out by AT&T, and the opportunities ahead for both the carrier and the communities they are partnering with. Whether it is about connecting the unconnected or making broadband affordable to those in greatest need, we all have a role to play in bridging the digital divide.
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