Meeting Consumer Demand
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New Connections on the Horizon for West Delray Beach community
By Joe York, AT&T President — Florida, Puerto Rico & US-VI

This trial presents an important opportunity for Floridians to gain access to new technologies and products, while ensuring that the essential values of universal service, competition, public safety, reliability and consumer protection are preserved. Our goal is to get our customers the most powerful new technologies while maintaining the reliability they have come to expect from us.

You can read Joe's entire introductory note here, or 
more about the National Technology Trial 

Improving Communications for the Hard of Hearing through HD Voice

Posted by Susan Diegelman on April 25, 2016

Note: this blog post originally appeared on the AT&T Connect to Good blog (

For people with disabilities, it is rare that there is a single solution that meets everyone’s accessibility needs. Different circumstances and environments often require different solutions and this is certainly true for people who are hard of hearing or experiencing hearing loss. Hearing aids have become smaller, more comfortable and more powerful in recent years. They can make it possible to undertake activities that were previously more challenging – but they also have their limitations. The development of Hearing Aid Compatibility technologies that improve the ability of hearing aids to amplify mobile devices has greatly enhanced the experience for people with hearing loss, but it isn’t always the best solution for everyone.

For customers with hearing issues, both young and old, this technology provides a new accessibility tool that can boost independence and enhance opportunities.That is why we are excited about High Definition (HD) Voice, which is now available on the AT&T network and will eventually be available nationwide, across carriers. HD Voice uses noise cancelling technology and wide-band audio (the ability to broadcast in a broader range of frequencies then traditional phone service) to make conversations sound more natural, even in noisy environments.

Earlier this month I had a chance to meet with the Delray Beach, FL chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) to discuss HD Voice and get feedback on how the technology may improve the experiences of people with hearing loss. After the meeting, many attendees brought their hearing aids to me and asked if HD Voice would work with their particular hearing aid. The beauty of HD Voice is that it lives on the network so it delivers better quality mobile conversations for everyone, independent of the type of device they may have.

In addition to conversations with customers, like those I had in Florida, we’re also conducting research to understand how wideband audio impacts the customer experience. A recent study by AT&T and Gallaudet University in collaboration with HLAA confirmed that while wideband audio isn’t a silver bullet, it does offer significant benefits, such as:

  • Improving speech understanding among individuals with hearing loss
  • Decreasing expenditure of mental effort among individuals with hearing loss (making it “easier” to chat on the phone)
  • Helping to overcome some of the challenges presented by minor packet loss (call quality degradation)

Since wide-band audio broadcasts in a broader range of frequencies, packet loss in one or two of the frequencies are compensated by others, which results in significantly less “break up” during your phone calls.

For customers with hearing issues, both young and old, this technology provides a new accessibility tool that can boost independence and enhance opportunities.

New to HD Voice? Here are the basics:

What is HD Voice and how does it work?

HD Voice employs wide-band audio technology and noise cancellation that allows users to hear a wider range of frequencies. This broad range helps compensate for frequencies that a user’s ear may be unable to hear, making conversations sound crystal clear compared to standard voice calls.

What do you need to enable HD Voice?

The key to HD Voice is compatibility.

To use AT&T HD Voice, both the caller and receiver need HD Voice-capable phones, with the feature enabled, and they must be located in an AT&T HD Voice coverage area. There are a range of HD-enabled handsets that are available today at all price points and eventually HD Voice will be native to all handsets. AT&T is an early adopter of HD Voice capability and is currently the only network fully ready to fully support it. We look forward to the full national roll-out of HD Voice, across carriers, so that people with hearing difficulties and speech impairments will have a seamless, and much more productive, mobile phone experience.

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Latest on Events in the West Delray Beach Area

Posted by Joe York, AT&T President — Florida, Puerto Rico & US-VI on November 19, 2015

Over the course of the trial, we at AT&T have worked together with local groups and organizations to hold meetings, events and information sessions to talk to West Delray Beach residents and community members about the trial. What it is, what it means and the types of technologies, products and services it will enable. We have partnered with a number of local homeowners associations, held meetings at the local library and convened larger events at the community civic center – to help get the word out and make our presence known in many different parts of the local West Delray Beach area, working with the local institutions and organizations that are frequented by members of the community.

Over the past month, we have worked together with Consumer Action, a national, nonprofit consumer education and advocacy organization, to hold a series of highly successful education and training sessions. We’ve held fourteen trainings so far, and they’ve been attended by about 250 local West Delray Beach area residents. These trainings were planned, organized and convened by Consumer Action and their staff members, working together with a number of different West Delray Beach area organizations, including local homeowners associations, the local literacy coalition, faith-based organizations, and the university cooperative extension. Of the 14 trainings conducted so far, 2 were conducted in Spanish and we intend to conduct 3 more in Spanish in the coming months, in addition to translating materials into Spanish, Haitian and Creole.

The recent trainings focused on topics including the IP Transition and the trials – answering participants’ questions, and providing information about what’s happening here on the ground in Florida and more broadly across the nation in terms of the products and services that consumers are increasingly choosing that are driving the transition. And the trainings focused on Internet and online safety and privacy – providing information about how to be safe online, how to protect personal information and data and advice on how to keep kids and grandkids safe online. Participants were eager for this information and had lots of questions about what they could do to help protect themselves while online. The best part was hearing from folks about how useful and important that they found these training and the information shared. Many said that, now that they have this information, they will not only use it themselves but also share it with friends and family members.

More trainings and information sessions are planned with Consumer Action and local organizations for early December.

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Keeping West Delray Beach Customers Connected and Informed

Posted by Joe York, AT&T President — Florida, Puerto Rico & US-VI on September 08, 2015

As the technology trial progresses here in the West Delray Beach area, we are as committed as ever to reaching out to our customers in the community, to holding events and meetings to share information and answer questions, and to communicating information about the IP Transition and the benefits of newer technologies. We have been working with a number of local organizations, including homeowners associations, groups that represent community members with disabilities and Consumer Action to answer questions and get the word out about what we are doing here in the West Delray Beach area. We have also been sharing information about what we are hearing from folks, by posting regular blogs on our website (all available here), sharing information on Twitter (you can follow us at: @IPWDelrayBeach) and by encouraging folks to sign up for our West Delray Beach e-newsletters and contact us to ask any questions or get more information at any point here.

The questions that we get and are working to address – and the information that we share – ranges from very specific to much more general. Over the past year and a half, whether our meetings have been at venues like the Hagen Ranch Road Library or the Civic Center, in collaboration with local organizations like the Delray Alliance, homeowners associations and with national organizations like the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), customers are most interested in how the transition and the technology trial will affect them. Will the phones and devices that they have today continue to work as the trial moves forward? Will they be able to have access to newer – or more – products and services as a result of the trial? How will we communicate with them on an ongoing basis to share the latest news and information? Will their alarm systems continue to work if they switch to an IP-enabled home phone? Can they keep the same phone number?

Residents also want to know how to get the most out of newer technologies, so over the past year we’ve held a number of “tech trainings” to help them understand how they can use their smartphones and tablets to send photos or videos to their grandchildren; join and post messages on social media sites; set up and use time and calendar apps to help them schedule their days; or use the “maps” app to get directions or see different parts of the world. These training sessions have helped West Delray residents to understand how to use technology to make lives easier.

In the coming months, we will be working with the group Consumer Action and with a number of local organizations to host meetings and trainings on the technology trials as well as a variety of other topics, including using the internet safely and securely, choosing appropriate internet and mobile device plans.

Since the trials were announced, it has been our goal to share information with our customers and with community residents not only about what is happening with the trial, but specifically how it will affect them and what types of benefits the products and services it makes more available can make possible and these events are how we bring that to commitment to life.

As we move forward, we encourage you to continue to reach out to us with your thoughts, questions and feedback.

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