Reliable WiFi has been a COVID-19 game changer, from first responders to first graders

WiFi isn’t just a convenience of modern life. It can literally change lives.

From emailing medical records to dialing 911, most of us have the ability to transmit essential data right at our fingertips — and one of the biggest lessons learned from past crises is that first responders rely on a dependable communications system. When communications infrastructure fails or does not exist, the results can be devastating.

A new kind of network for our first responders

In March 2017, AT&T was awarded the contract to work with FirstNet, a groundbreaking public-private partnership. Together with the federal government, AT&T built and deployed this nationwide broadband network for first responders. Currently, there are subscribed to the dedicated communications platform, accounting for some 1.3 million connections in service.

Now in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, AT&T has continued to rise to the challenge of providing crucial connectivity for pop-up testing centers, medical command centers, and local police and fire departments, among other essential services in greatly accelerated time frames.

During the first three months of 2020, in one major city alone, a team of AT&T retail store managers and in-home care experts were able to activate hundreds of mobile WiFi hotspots to FirstNet customers in less than six hours . “It feels great to know that AT&T is directly working with first responders to help provide them with the necessary tools during this time,” said Juan Munoz, an AT&T store manager.

COVID-19 and the fight to stay connected

In the nation’s hardest hit city, FirstNet has , stepping in to help ensure EMS and other first responders had connectivity required for transporting patients between facilities and helping marshal the hundreds of mutual-aid ambulances entering the city. To keep track, all ambulances were equipped with FirstNet Ready™ Sonim XP8 smart devices with AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk () functionality.

For those on the frontlines, AT&T’s high-speed communications platform has taken on a critical role in the present public health emergency. Then, there is the impact on everyday learning.

“This pandemic has taught us that connectivity is both a lifeline – in literal terms for medical workers and first responders – and the underpinning pipeline of the current normal that we’re all living today,” explains AT&T Business CEO Anne Chow in a . In virtual classrooms perched at kitchen tables and bedroom desks around the country, AT&T is working to support remote learning through initiatives for parents, caregivers, and students.

Next up: Helping students and schools across the country

The company has expanded its program providing internet for $10 a month to limited-income households, while offering two months of free service for new customers. They have also increased eligibility to households participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and Head Start. 

For teachers and education-focused small businesses, AT&T has provided funding for distance-learning solutions. Among those ed-tech startups, which previously participated in the company’s Aspire Accelerator, are , , , , , , and . Parents can supplement home-schooling with Boddle’s interactive math platform designed to mix up learning and gameplay — or assist kids from preschool to third grade reach literacy milestones through LitLab’s Kidappolis app.

Looking forward, AT&T has pledged to Keep America Connected by waiving late payments and not disconnecting services through June 30, 2020, for customers dealing with economic hardships. A steady connection in these trying times can make all the difference.

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Hey, I'm Sunil Kumar professional blogger and Affiliate marketing. I like to gain every type of knowledge that's why I have done many courses in different fields like News, Business and Technology. I love thrills and travelling to new places and hills. My Favourite Tourist Place is Sikkim, India.

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