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Our Purpose in 2024: Connectivity and Bridging the Digital Divide in California

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We know how important it is to stay connected. With high-speed internet at your fingertips, there’s a whole world of possibilities. And, as we saw through our work last year, the need to connect Californians to bandwidth-rich activities like online learning, remote work, telehealth, and entertainment remains significant.

While progress is being made, an estimated 3.5 million Californians remain disconnected.1

Recognizing this critical need, we’re excited to continue our efforts and make a significant impact in California this year. We’re planning a series of initiatives in 2024 that aim to help bridge the digital divide across the Golden State and bolster connectivity, especially in underserved communities.

On a broader scale, AT&T announced today it is committing an additional $3 billion by 2030 to help close the digital divide, bringing the company’s total commitment to $5 billion since 2021. This cumulative commitment includes an ambitious goal to help 25 million people get and stay connected to affordable, high-speed internet access throughout this decade. The company’s additional $3 billion commitment will address the main barriers to connectivity – affordability and adoption – for those who need it most.

And, we’ll keep the momentum going throughout the year as California has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help bridge the digital divide with the influx of federal and state funding for high-speed broadband.
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Laptop Giveaways: Empowering Digital Access

This year, we’ll once again collaborate with community-based organizations to donate thousands more devices to California students, older adults and families, providing the tools they need to participate fully in today’s digital world. This builds on the 22,000 devices and laptops that we’ve donated to students and families since 2021, which has empowered Californians to stay connected, pursue education, access telehealth services, employment opportunities, and access vital services.
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More Connected Learning Centers: Expanding Opportunities

Our 7 AT&T Connected Learning Centers in California, including 2 on Tribal lands, currently serve thousands of students, families and older adults. We are excited to open more centers in communities that need them most in 2024 – including in both rural and urban areas. We will again collaborate with community-based organizations adept at providing for the needs of the communities they serve, including Boys & Girls Clubs and California Tribal Nations.
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Access to High-Speed Internet with AT&T Fiber: Boosting Connectivity

We’ve invested nearly $8.6 billion in our California networks from 2020-2022. Building on the more than 3.1 million customer locations in California that currently have access to AT&T Fiber, we’re working to expand fiber to more residents and small businesses in 2024. By expanding our fiber network, we’re not only increasing connectivity but also supporting the growth and success of small businesses across California.

We are committed to expanding to several hundred thousand additional California locations per year for the foreseeable future.

We continue investing in our landline fiber and wireless networks to help keep our customers, first responders, and communities in California even better connected. In rural Mendocino County for example, we recently announced that we expanded our superfast fiber network to more than 75 customer locations in Comptche.
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Digital Literacy Workshops: Enhancing Knowledge and Skills

We’re eager to provide more digital literacy learning opportunities, including our in in-person community workshops that teach basic digital literacy skills. Our digital literacy workshops cover a range of topics, from basic computer skills to online safety, and aim to equip Californians with the knowledge and skills they need to navigate the digital world confidently, safely and effectively.

As part of AT&T’s support for improving digital literacy nationwide in 2023, the company helped Public Library Association (PLA) bring free bilingual, in-person digital literacy workshops to more than 200 libraries across 45 states. We’re excited for our new 2024 collaboration with the PLA to be announced soon to bring more digital literacy workshops to Californians in the months ahead.

Similarly, our philanthropic funding areas support digital inclusion, literacy, learning and employment solutions that help connect today’s learners with skills, resources and opportunities for success in school and in life. From 2021-2023, we contributed $6.7 million to digital divide causes in California.

  • In San Francisco, we collaborate with Dev/Mission, an organization focused on connecting with diverse youth in the Bay Area and exposing them to careers in the tech industry.  
  • We also support two programs: Reburbathon, which brings together a diverse community for a free 3-hour computer class, and the Community Technology Associate Program that provides individuals living in affordable housing communities in San Francisco with free tech support and digital literacy workshops. 

The Achievery: Enhancing Education across California

In a bid to support K-12 students, we’ve launched two programs that will bring The Achievery, our free and safe online educational resource, to more K-12 students in California. This platform offers a wealth of educational materials, helping students to supplement their schoolwork and enhance their learning journey.

  • With City Year, we launched The Achievery in California and 9 other states across the U.S.  
  • And with Think Together, a California-based organization providing out-of-school programs to underserved students, we launched The Achievery at 175 schools throughout the state.

Our purpose for 2024 is clear: to increase digital access, enhance digital literacy, and ensure that every Californian has the tools and resources they need to thrive in our digital world. Together, we can help bridge the digital divide and create a more connected California.

By bringing together solutions that help protect, serve and connect, AT&T Public Sector is delivering a faster, smarter, safer future.