PDT Staff Writer
AT&T Ohio President Adam Grzybicki told employees, guests and dignitaries Friday morning that AT&T has invested more than $1.3 billion in Ohio over the last several years.
“We still have another $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion to go to build up this network,” Grzybicki said. “So it’s almost $1 million a day we are putting into Ohio. So what we have here in Portsmouth is the exact same network we have in Manhattan; the exact same network we have in San Francisco, California.”
The occasion was the announcement that AT&T is rolling out their 4G LTE service in the Portsmouth area.
“We have made an investment to upgrade the network in the Portsmouth area,” Mark Romito, Director of External Affairs for AT&T said. “4G LTE stands for ‘Fourth Generation Long Term Evolution.’ It’s the latest and greatest in mobile technology. It’s 10 times faster than 3G. It’s more efficient. It will allow for larger apps, more applications, more date, faster, better.”
Romito said the technology is being rolled out in more places across the country.
“We’ve got an initiative called ‘Project VIP,’ Velocity Internet Protocol, that is expanding the 4G LTE network throughout the country,” Romito said. “So we have put it in some of the major cities, but we’re also filling the gaps with the other smaller cities and towns as well. Just as the sign says, we’re trying to establish nationwide coverage so we have the largest 4G network there is.”
Romito said the addition of 4G LTE will have an immediate effect on current AT&T customers.
“They need to have a 4G LTE compatible device,” Romito said. “By having that device they’ll have access to the quicker speeds, the faster download times.”
Romito said another advantage to the 4G LTE technology is the latency that happens with a a download.
“When you see the little dial spinning, it will be significantly reduced,” Romito said.
Grzybicki said the speeds will compare with the internet pace customers are familiar with in their homes.
“Now you’re talking about what you have in your hand is comparable to your cable modem product,” Grzybicki said. “You’re talking 10-15 megs now in your hand, and that is not just for consumers and folks we’re selling to in some of these stores. It’s for business. So many businesses are now cutting the cord. And they’re getting rid of their PCs because they’re on tablets now or their smart phones, so it’s a huge lift for the economy. It’s a huge lift for business.”
State Senator Joe Uecker told those in attendance - “Most of the things we do in Columbus revolve around job creation. Almost every law we pass, we’ve got to ask ourselves, is this in the way of business or does it get out of the way of business? That’s our commitment.”
Portsmouth Mayor David Malone welcomed the AT&T officials and pledged support for the store from the city.
Store manager Barbara Howard was all smiles as she talked to the Daily Times about what the addition of 4G LTE means to her store and her customers.
“It’s huge for our area,” Howard said. “We’re such a small area. It’s going to allow internet speeds to be so much faster. Voice coverage is going to be improved. It’s huge.”
Romito also talked about the success of AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign which urges people not to text and drive.
“Over 100,000 accidents happen every year due to texting and driving,” Romito said. “And our goal is to get that number way down. You’re 23 times more likely to be in an accident when you text and drive. It’s against the law. There’s no good reason for doing it, yet we know people do it all the time. And we are working really hard to change that mindset.”
Romito said AT&T just held their second “Drive 4 Pledges Day.”
“On that day, across the country, there were over 2,000 different activities to support the campaign and to get people to take the pledge not to text and drive,” Romito said. “Right here in Portsmouth the mayor issued a proclamation supporting the campaign. On that day, all across the country there were more than 200,000 pledges made to the ‘It Can Wait’ program.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.