AT&T Invests Nearly $825M Over 3-Year Period to Boost Local Networks in South Carolina

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

At AT&T, we've invested nearly $825 million in our South Carolina wireless and wired networks during 2016-2018. These investments boost reliability, coverage, speed and overall performance for residents and businesses. We've also improved critical services that support Public Safety and first responders using the FirstNet communications platform. And, we've helped meet the needs of customers in largely rural areas through our participation in the FCC's Connect America Fund.

AT&T's wireless network covers more than 99% of all Americans and has become the fastest wireless network in the nation, according to the first quarter 2019 results from tests taken with Speedtest and analyzed by Ookla.

During 2016-2018, AT&T made the following investments in its South Carolina wireless and wired networks:

·         Nearly $140 million in the Charleston region,

·         More than $175 million in the Columbia region,

·         Nearly $140 million in the Upstate region, and

·         Nearly $370 million across other areas of the state.

In 2018, AT&T made over 1,100 wireless network upgrades in South Carolina. These include 3 new macro tower sites, 5 new in-building systems, 15 Fixed Wireless Internet locations and more than 1,000 projects to increase network capacity and speed.

"Robust communication networks are vital to the continued economic success and growth of South Carolina," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. "Advanced broadband technology drives the innovation and entrepreneurship that preserve existing jobs and create new ones in today's global marketplace. This type of investment keeps our state and citizens connected today, while positioning us for success tomorrow."

"The opportunity to make and sustain investment like this speaks to the importance of the work done by South Carolinalocal and state leaders to build a public policy climate that encourages private investment in advanced technology," said Jane Sosebee, president of AT&T South Carolina.

By building out our 4G LTE network, we're boosting network speeds and capacity, as we continue to expand the availability of our network and upgrade our technology.

Additionally, for the 5th consecutive year we've landed on Fortune magazine's list of the "World's Most Admired" companies. It's also the 6th year in a row we've appeared on the Global Top 50 list – no other telecom company made the Top 50.

Transforming Public Safety Communications

FirstNet is Public Safety's dedicated, nationwide communications platform. It is for all first responders – career and volunteer, urban or rural. It's bringing public safety communications into the 21st century with new, innovative capabilities, helping first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency.

Building upon our current and planned investments in South Carolina, we continue to extend the reach and increase the capacity of the FirstNet communications platform:

·         Deployed Band 14 spectrum in more than 600 markets nationwide, including Anderson, Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Georgetown and Greenville. Band 14 is high-quality spectrum provided by the First Responder Network Authority. Its signal covers larger geographic areas with less infrastructure to better support rural communities, and it can better reach in-building in more urban areas as compared to higher-MHz spectrum.

·         South Carolina first responders enjoy the fastest overall experience on FirstNet, compared to any commercial network in the nation, thanks to the specialized capabilities enabled by the physically separate and dedicated FirstNet network core, like always-on priority and preemption.

·         Public safety agencies subscribed to FirstNet have 24/7 access to a nationwide fleet of 75 deployable network assets. These assets can either be deployed for planned events or called upon in emergencies to help first responders stay connected and operate faster, safer and more effectively when lives are on the line.

FirstNet is built with AT&T in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority – an independent agency within the federal government. This helps ensure that the FirstNet communications platform and service offerings meet the short- and long-term needs of the public safety community.

Commitment to rural America

Through our participation in the FCC's Connect America Fund universal service program, AT&T has been helping to meet the connectivity needs of customers in largely rural areas and to expand the opportunities enabled by internet access. By the end of 2020, AT&T will have used funds from this FCC program to help deploy, maintain and offer internet access and voice services to more than 1.1 million mostly rural homes and small business locations in FCC-identified areas. By the end of 2018, we offered high-speed internet access to over 18,200 locations across South Carolina in mostly rural areas through technologies like Fixed Wireless Internet.

Internet offerings

We now market a 1 gigabit connection on our 100% fiber network to more than 12 million locations across 85 major metro areas nationwide. In the South Carolina area, we market our internet service powered by AT&T Fiber SM to more than 200,000 customer locations.

We plan to reach about 14 million locations across at least 85 metro areas by mid-2019 for consumers.

We are the largest U.S.-based provider of fiber for business services. There are over 500,000 U.S. business buildings lit with AT&T Fiber SM, and we're adding thousands more each month.

Within those buildings, AT&T now enables high-speed fiber connections to over 2.2 million U.S. business customer locations. And if you count businesses near our fiber network, that number quadruples. Nationwide, more than 8 million business customer locations are on or within 1,000 feet of our fiber.