Viewpoint

Why we’re bringing ‘ultra’ broadband to Charlotte

From Venessa Harrison, president of AT&T-North Carolina:

From its earliest days, Charlotte has been an economic hub. Whether traveling by trading path, interstate highway or international airport, entrepreneurs and opportunities connected here.

AT&T’s decision to bring our ultra high-speed broadband here will pave the way for the next round of innovation, economic growth and job creation.

Delivered by a 100-percent fiber network, U-verse with AT&T GigaPower can provide broadband benefits to consumers, small businesses, developers and tech enthusiasts at speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second. It will enable Charlotteans to connect to opportunities, resources and information faster and more efficiently than ever before.

As we’ve announced we will begin deploying the AT&T GigaPower network in Charlotte, I’ve been asked what drove the decision and what will influence our decision regarding other cities. Frankly, good decisions and strong leadership by city and state leaders are a key consideration.

Before deciding where to invest capital, any business weighs factors such as local customer base and demand, available and potential workforce, infrastructure conditions, and even geography or climate. But when the analysis suggests opportunity exists in several locations, business-friendly public policies can tip the balance.

For many years, North Carolina leaders – governors and the General Assembly – have worked diligently to continually update statutes and regulations governing the communications industry. The changes have reflected the evolving nature of technology and the industry, while encouraging competition and ongoing investment.

In Charlotte, too, leaders have continually worked to ensure this remains a city which welcomes business. Those efforts have paid handsome dividends. For example, in just the past few weeks, we have welcomed announcements by Spectra Group Inc. and Sealed Air Corp. regarding their plans to bring new jobs to town.

At AT&T, we have invested nearly $300 million in our networks in Charlotte in just the past three years. We hired about 195 Charlotte-based employees in just 2013. So when we began considering deploying the AT&T GigaPower network in Charlotte, we didn’t ask the city to complete homework assignments or questionnaires about existing infrastructure or city policies. We didn’t ask for exclusive incentives. We didn’t need to.

For more than a century, AT&T has worked closely with Charlotte, building the communications infrastructure and delivering services folks rely on every day. We know the city works to encourage investment without playing favorites. And we know the city is willing to collaborate to make deployment efficient.

Our long history with Charlotte gives me confidence about working to bring U-verse with AT&T GigaPower here. Smart leaders and good policy decisions helped put Charlotte on AT&T’s GigaPower list, and continuing to make those wise choices will help Charlotte remain an obvious choice on any investor’s list.

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