AT&T Gives Broadband a Boost

Dr. Robert Yadon, Director

Digital Policy Institute


On October 26th, the DPI hosted a webinar on broadband in America.  One panelist, former FCC chief economist Dr. Leslie Marx, now at Duke University, underscored the need for telecom policy to adapt to the realities of the communications industry, with a focus on broadband, and in particular, mobile wireless broadband.  She also noted that private investment drives broadband infrastructure deployment, both for wired and wireless services.  Here’s a perfect case in point.


AT&T’s recent commitment to invest an additional $14 billion over three years to upgrade and expand its wireless and wireline broadband networks is a powerful reminder that Internet-based communication is driving America toward a future of expanded digital opportunity.   While many other sectors continue to struggle to recover from the recession, the expansion of increasingly robust broadband networks is helping American businesses both here and abroad stay competitive and also creating jobs and hope for individual Americans across the country.


By providing an even more robust platform for Internet-based services and applications, enhancement of the company’s broadband infrastructure should foster innovation and facilitate investment by other Internet participants such as device manufacturers, applications developers, Internet content creators, and the businesses that produce the hardware and software that fuels the IP-broadband ecosystem.  This means jobs.  In the last five years, mobile innovation alone has created about 1.6 million jobs.  New investment means even more jobs in the future.


By extending IP-based wired connections to one million additional business locations, the new investment will enable enterprises of all sizes to grow their own operations through better connections to business partners and customers and by opening the door to new market opportunities.  In this way, American businesses will become even more productive and more competitive around the globe.


The new investment, which applies to both wired and wireless infrastructure, also will bring the United States closer to the national goal of universal broadband service.   The company said its high-speed wireless broadband 4G LTE service will be available to 300 million Americans within two years and will provide a high-speed Internet option for virtually every customer in its 22-state wire line service area.  The expansion of LTE service means a new range of opportunity for remote and lightly populated communities that have tended to lag behind.


The continuing expansion of broadband networks from this new infusion of investment capital also will advance the country’s critical transition to all-IP communication.   When completed, this transition will enable the rapid and seamless transmission of every form of data.   Voice, video, and text will all move with ease across IP networks that connect every person and every device.

AT&T’s investment commitment is great news for the IP-broadband industry, Internet-related businesses of every sort, and for every other business and individual that already takes advantage of the Internet or plans to in the years ahead.  It is a win-win-win for every citizen.