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Michigan Business Beat | Mackinac Policy Conference 2024 - David Lewis - #MPC24

Michigan Business Beat
June 17, 2024 12:00 PM


The Detroit Regional Chamber's annual Mackinac Policy Conference.

Chris Holman speaks with David Lewis, President, AT&T Michigan, from Media Row, at the Grand Hotel, while at the 2024 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Watch David and Chris discuss his organization, recent activity and what they are experiencing in 2024, along with what he expected out of the #MPC24, - click play on the YouTube video below.

Just a few weeks into storm season and it’s already been an active start. During this time, the essential need for dependable connectivity becomes especially clear. This is what motivates us to support our Network Disaster Response (NDR) and FirstNet® Response Operations Group (ROG) teams in having the necessary training and resources to respond to any emergency.

With forecasts from our dedicated meteorologists at the AT&T Weather Operations Center predicting an above-average storm season, we're employing new assets and solutions. Our goal is to keep communities connected throughout the storms. While Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate, our new equipment and solutions will help communities recover safer and faster when she does strike.

Innovating Disaster Response

For more than three decades, AT&T has been at the forefront of disaster response innovation, with an investment of more than $1 billion in our Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) program over this time period. Past hurricane seasons serve as a reminder of the need for constant innovation. After learning from the team’s experience delivering FirstNet solutions to Sanibel and Pine Island during Hurricane Ian, we’ve introduced a game-changing, 45-foot custom-built landing craft to our maritime fleet. It can transport pickup trucks, FirstNet Compact Rapid Deployables (CRDs), and other essential solutions.

AT&T has invested more than $2.4 billion to upgrade its network across Michigan since 2019 to expand wireless connectivity, increase access to high-speed broadband, and enhance the first FirstNet responder’s network.
AT&T FirstNet
AT&T has invested $2.4 billion in its Michigan infrastructure since 2019. // Photo courtesy of AT&T

AT&T has invested more than $2.4 billion to upgrade its network across Michigan since 2019 to expand wireless connectivity, increase access to high-speed broadband, and enhance the first FirstNet responder’s network.

“AT&T Michigan is connecting first responders in 360 communities and has rolled out Band 14 on 1,700 sites across the state, providing public safety with truly dedicated network coverage vital to emergency response efforts,” says David Lewis, president of AT&T Michigan.

“As America’s public safety communication partner, we are expanding and enhancing FirstNet to give the public safety community better access to their network. Setting the stage for first responder innovation over the next 10 years, the FirstNet Authority announced a series of strategic investments totaling more than $8 billion into FirstNet.

The latest network investment should enable AT&T to deliver a standalone FirstNet 5G core, provide always-on priority and preemption across all AT&T 5G commercial spectrum bands, and build 1,000 new FirstNet sites in Michigan and across the country over the next two years.

In Michigan, AT&T is connecting public safety agencies and organizations in Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Detroit, Farmington, Grand Rapids, Holland, Iron Mountain, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Marquette, Portage, Saint Clair, and Traverse City.

The company also rolled out Band 14 on more than 1,700 sites across Michigan to provide public safety with dedicated coverage and capacity when they need it.

Cities and communities seeing the impacts of this investment include:

  • Metro Detroit, more than $1 billion.
  • Grand Rapids, more than $250 million.
  • Lansing, nearly $100 million.
  • Flint, nearly $45 million.
  • Saginaw, nearly $25 million.

“We understand how a connection can make the difference,” says Lewis. “That’s why our mission is to bring connectivity to everyone, no matter where they live or where they come from. We’re working to not only boost network reliability and capacity but also expand broadband nationwide to help bridge the digital divide.”

Other investment highlights include:

  • Expanding Access to Fiber: With nearly 3 million strand miles of fiber in Michigan, AT&T Fiber is now available to more than 700,000 customer locations across the state.
  • Increased 5G performance: We’re ramping up performance in high-traffic areas, like airports, stadiums, and venues.
  • Helping bridge the digital divide: We’re working toward our digital divide commitment by investing in local communities. Since 2021, we’ve opened two AT&T Connected Learning Centers in Detroit, along with Human I-T we donated 100 laptops to Rescue Ministries of Mid-Michigan in Saginaw, and more around the state.

To help bridge the digital divide in Detroit, AT&T has opened two AT&T Connected Learning Centers in the city inside SER-Metro Detroit and Jefferson East Inc. The centers provide students and families with access to AT&T fiber internet, Wi-Fi, computers, and free education resources.Did you like this post? Sign up and we’ll send you more awesome posts like this  every week.


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Michigan Business Beat, hosted by Chris Holman, discusses economic development, new or unusual entrepreneurial initiatives, and successful business practices from different regions and industries around Michigan with a wide range of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

8:00 AM every Monday through Friday
Replay: 8:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 8:00 PM, 2:00 AM The music for 'Michigan Business Beat' is graciously shared use of Phil Denny's "Traffic Jam" off his 2012 CD 'Crossover'

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