New Connections on the Horizon for West Delray Beach community
By Joe York, AT&T President — Florida, Puerto Rico & US-VI
As you may know, AT&T has announced the selection of the West Delray Beach area of Florida as one of two locations nationwide for a multi-year technology trial to be overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This pilot program will shape AT&T’s efforts to develop new products and processes in the West Delray Beach community — and nationally. The announcement is in response to a request by the FCC to companies to submit proposals to conduct trials where connections and services would be rolled out and offered to customers.
In greater numbers, and with greater frequency than ever before, consumers and businesses are choosing to use newer technologies and devices that enable more choices in how they connect: video, email, text and voice. These connections not only benefit consumers, but also communities and important community institutions, including schools, hospitals, police and fire stations, and businesses. Students can access education resources on the other side of the country or world; first responders can have the best real-time information going into emergency situations; and businesses can reach out to and expand in new markets on the other side of the state and other side of the globe.
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.
Meeting with & Listening to Our Customers: An Update
During the past several weeks, we have been out in the West Delray Beach community, meeting with residents, business owners, community leaders and others to answer their questions about our proposed technology trial. On April 9, we held a town hall meeting at the South County Civic Center with more than a hundred attendees. Two weeks later, on April 22, we convened another public meeting at the Civic Center with about sixty attendees.
At both sessions and, indeed, at the majority of our meetings with West Delray Beach residents – whether they are one-on-one or in large meeting rooms with dozens of folks - our goal is to provide information but also to listen. This is our opportunity to learn from attendees about the questions that they have and the issues that they would like to see addressed. Some customers have questions about their current service and the devices and products that they use today; many others want to know about the logistics and specifics of the trial and what it will mean for them; still others are focused on what “IP” and “IP networks” are, and how these will impact – and can benefit them in - their everyday lives.
A theme that has surfaced repeatedly is the idea of seamlessness. West Delray Beach area residents – like consumers across the country – want to be able to use technology to make their lives easier, and to help them to connect to information, people and places that they care about. Customers want their parents (and grandparents) to be able to connect and communicate easily and simply; and have these connections be reliable. And, for those who have not yet adopted newer products and devices, we all want these individuals to make this transition forward safely and seamlessly.
These are all reasons why AT&T has proposed conducting FCC trials in the West Delray Beach area and in Carbon Hill, Alabama. For our customers who are already using newer products and technologies, we want to help them do more. In South Florida and across America, more of us are using newer and different products to talk, text, video conference, get a map or a restaurant review, and connect to doctors or neighbors, instantly and seamlessly, from wherever we are.
But, as importantly, we want those who haven’t yet moved forward to have the assurance that they will be able to do so safely and seamlessly.
The trials will be a multi-year process and we are at the very beginning of this process. Our guiding principle during the trial is our commitment to working with our customers in West Delray, with policymakers, and with others in the community to ensure that everyone can move forward, safely and seamlessly. We will make sure that the values of universal service, competition, public safety, reliability and consumer protection are met throughout this process.
The meetings we have held, and will continue to hold in the coming weeks and months, throughout the West Delray Beach area, will help us to understand your experiences, address your concerns and provide the information needed to assure that we can make this transition seamless. We will continue to hold public meetings where all residents are welcome, and we will soon begin to hold “Technology Trainings” where interested West Delray Beach residents can come and learn about – and try out - newer products and devices like smartphones and tablets. We want to make sure that we have the chance to talk to and hear from customers of all ages, of all interests, and at every level of “tech savvy” so that even those who consider themselves tech novices can see the benefits that IP technology can bring them.
For information about upcoming events and activities, or to learn more about the trials, please make sure to regularly visit our website at: ip4westdelraybeach.com. We post new information as it becomes available, and details about events and activities as they are confirmed.