By Wayne Hutchens, president of AT&T Alabama
The Alabama Legislature is considering Senate Bill 264, legislation that will make it easier for all wireless providers to enhance network capacity and coverage, speed and quality as well as prepare for next-generation 5G technology.
Since January 2007, the amount of data used on AT&T’s network alone increased by more than 470,000%. This, coupled with the rise of mobile video, means that as our customers continue to rely on wireless devices to stay connected to what matters to them most – virtually anytime, anywhere – data use will only continue to rise.
While we know how to address this demand and fortify our networks, we’ve experienced significant challenges in deploying this next generation broadband technology – technology that will improve the experiences of our customers, enhance public safety and position communities for the latest in technology advancements.
To help us continue providing the best possible experience for our customers, AT&T Alabama is supporting SB 264.
SB 264, sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr, provides a consistent framework for the deployment of small cells, providing some certainty to providers as they invest in local communities and deploy the necessary infrastructure. Small cells are critical broadband infrastructure that will help us enhance existing networks today, support 5G and prepare for the next evolution of wireless technologies, like AirGig, which is a technology that could one day deliver internet speeds well over 1 gigabit per second via millimeter waves guided by powerlines.
SB 264 encourages continued investment in Alabama’s wireless infrastructure by removing unnecessary barriers and uncertainty to deployment, helps enhance consumers’ wireless experience and prepares our state for future technologies that Alabama residents and businesses are demanding.
Through no small effort, Alabama has become one of the most attractive places to live, work, do business and visit. To maintain our stellar reputation in the economic development world, we must ensure our state is prepared for continued growth and future success. 25 states, including our neighbors in Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina and Arkansas have already enacted similar legislation, positioning themselves for increased investment and faster deployment. Similar legislation is with Georgia Governor Kemp for signature, and a bill has been filed and being considered in South Carolina. We can’t let Alabama fall behind.
AT&T, Verizon, Crown Castle and other wireless providers are encouraging our state lawmakers to support SB 264, and bring the many benefits of enhanced wireless technologies to Alabama.