Meeting Consumer Demand for advanced Internet-based services

Picture of AT&T Florida State President Joe YorkNew 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.

Read more about the National Technology Trial. 

 

 

Connecting West Delray Beach

Posted by Joe York on June 18, 2014

Last week, the FCC discussed and reviewed AT&T’s proposal to move forward with our multi-year trials in the West Delray Beach area of Florida and in Carbon Hill, Alabama. These multi-year trials will help us connect our customers and these communities to more of the products and services they are demanding using newer, Internet-based networks.

The trials – and the FCC’s review – are both an acknowledgement and confirmation that consumer demand is changing. Floridians are using tablets, laptops, cell phones and home phones (that may look, feel and act like the phones we’ve used for many years but are actually Internet-based), to talk, text, Skype and email. And AT&T and others are investing and innovating to develop and make available newer products, services and technologies to meet consumer demand, and to strengthen and expand the network that makes these devices work.

These trials will help us bring this network, and the products and services it fuels, to more people and to provide connections that are reliable and dependable. The trials will provide us with the opportunity to work with customers who have not yet transitioned to our new network to make sure they are able do so safely and seamlessly. And we are committed to moving forward in a way that will ensure that the values of universal service, competition, public safety, reliability and consumer protection are preserved.

Since March, we have been out in the West Delray Beach area meeting with residents, customers, elected officials and others about the proposed trials. Listening to your feedback and suggestions has been incredibly helpful, as has hearing your questions and concerns. We know that the trial, once it gets underway, will be a multi-year process. And we are at the very beginning of this process. We don’t have all of the answers yet, but we are committed to working with our customers, with the West Delray Beach community, with the FCC and with others to answer all questions and develop and implement the solutions that best meet your needs.

These trials also provide a forum where we can listen to and learn from our customers and others to determine what products, services and solutions are needed and how best to answer questions and address concerns. We at AT&T have made a commitment to continuing to meet the values of universal service, competition, public safety, reliability and consumer protection. And these trials will occur while the traditional telephone network is still in place.

We will continue to be out in the West Delray Beach area, meeting with customers, answering questions and providing information. Our customers are the most important part of this process – and I look forward to seeing you, and hearing your experiences and insights, in the time to come.

Meeting with & Listening to Our Customers: An Update

Posted by Joe York on May 08, 2014

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.

Updating you on the IP Trials

Posted by Joe York on March 26, 2014

Image of message boxIt’s been several weeks since AT&T submitted a filing to the FCC proposing to conduct technology trials in two communities in the U.S.: the West Delray Beach area of Florida, and Carbon Hill, Alabama. The trials will enable us to work together with the FCC, our customers and others as we study and plan the move forward – from the use of traditional, voice only networks, to Internet-based networks and everything they enable (email, text, voice, video and more).

In the days since we made this filing, we have been meeting with West Delray Beach community leaders, residents and others to provide more information about what we would like to do, and what it means for them, and answer questions that they have. And, on March 18th, we held our first public meeting at the Hagen Ranch Road public library branch. Over 35 members of the Delray community attended, including State Senator Joseph Abruzzo and Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary Lou Berger. We had a great discussion and fielded questions and took feedback from just about everyone who attended. The fact that nearly everyone who attended took the time to ask a question during the meeting, or took time after the meeting to talk with me or one of the AT&T Florida team members, is a great sign.

This trial isn’t just about technology or our network; it is about the West Delray community and our customers who live here. Throughout this process, we are committed to working with our customers – to engaging them in this process, listening to their concerns, answering their questions, and making sure that they know who to reach or where to go at any point for information. In the coming weeks and months, we will hold at least two more public events in the West Delray Beach area, in addition to meeting with individual groups and community residents. And this conversation and customer engagement is happening online as well as in person. We have responded to those who have posted on our blog and those who have contacted us and asked questions related to the trial in West Delray Beach.

The most frequent questions we have received from West Delray Beach area customers and residents are: what does this trial mean for me? What are you doing, and how will it impact me? Many are excited about the potential of getting U-Verse, and about their hopes that this trial will deliver more, and high quality, access to newer products and services.

Our Delray customers of all ages have integrated technology seamlessly into their lives to help them communicate, connect, access information and remain safe and healthy – whether this is by communicating with children and grandchildren via Skype; using DTV to “record” and watch favorite TV programs whenever they like; accessing information related to retirement savings from the comfort of their own homes (and after bankers hours); or fill out grocery shopping lists online and set up home delivery.

The questions and concerns that have been raised center on the need to make sure that these connections and products work as well, and are as safe and reliable and dependable, as the older products that customers have relied on for decades. Alarm and medical device compatibility; the ability to reach 911; battery back up in the case of natural disaster – these are all questions have been raised and all are areas of paramount importance and concern. We are working hard to develop and put solutions in place that address each and every one of these. That is what the trial is for: to help us work with our customers and others in the community, and with the FCC and local and state government, to hear what questions and concerns exist, to develop solutions, and to put these in place. And all of this will be done while the traditional telephone network is in place.

So, the answer to the question “what do you want from me?” is simply: your voice, your thoughts and your input. We are at the very beginning of this process. Our customers are a critical part of it. So keep the questions coming, continue to share your thoughts, stay involved in the conversation, and know that we look forward to hearing from – and working with – you.

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