As Kentucky emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic it’s important to recognize the lessons we learned along the way. One of which was the significance of connectivity and of public policies that promote private-sector investment – and the intersection between those two.
Despite predictions to the contrary, and the experience of some other countries, America’s broadband networks did not buckle under the weight of substantially increased broadband traffic, including in Kentucky. In fact, while U.S. internet traffic jumped 27% at the height of the crisis, download speeds stayed the same and some actually increased.
That was no accident. Decades of bipartisan government policies promoted the private-sector investment that produced this result. Policymakers weren’t planning for a pandemic when they decided to impose a light regulatory touch on broadband infrastructure, but good policy produces good results in unpredictable circumstances.
In Kentucky, state and local leaders have consistently worked to make our commonwealth one which welcomes private investment in advanced technology. As a result, from 2016-2020, we expanded coverage and improved connectivity in more communities by investing more than $1.3 billion in our wireless and wireline networks in Kentucky.
AT&T’s commitment to communities across the country continues and spans all layers of our network—from fiber to 5G to FirstNet®. These investments are essential to connecting our customers with their families, friends and colleagues by increasing the network’s speed, reliability, coverage and overall performance.
In 2021, we are increasing our fiber footprint by 3 million customer locations across more than 90 metro areas that we currently serve nationwide. AT&T has deployed over 1.6 million strand-miles of fiber in Kentucky1, and fiber is currently available to over 270,000 homes and small businesses across 5 markets in the state.
We are also working hard to expand and enhance our wireless network in Kentucky. 5G service is available in parts of 53 counties, bringing the latest technology to even more customers. And through the first half of this year, we launched 19 new wireless sites in 17 counties, from Calloway County in the west to Breathitt County in the east.
At AT&T, we are excited about building, deploying and operating secure wireless and wireline networks which communities and customers depend upon – today and in the future.
1 As of July 31, 2020