AT&T's Katibeh on bridging the digital divide

BIG 5G EVENT, DENVER – Mo Katibeh, SVP of network infrastructure and build for AT&T, examines several new use cases for how the service provider is addressing the 5G customer experience for both consumers and enterprises.

"In 2020, we achieved 200 million people, or PoPs, covered with our sub-6GHz 5G, and across the last year we've been able to expand that out from 200 to 250 million people across 500 markets, so very broad availability," said Katibeh.

Katibeh also speaks to AT&T's efforts to close the digital divide and what's next for the operator's future fiber and 5G network buildouts.

"Over the last few years, we've committed over $1 billion toward closing the digital divide," said Katibeh. "Across the next three years, we're going to commit $2 billion."

Katibeh says AT&T's approach to the digital divide includes providing affordable broadband to areas with limited Internet access, through charitable contributions and also assisting students in accessing broadband to complete their homework from any location.

In addition, AT&T is working with customers to deploy new 5G use cases across a number of verticals, including agriculture – one use case Katibeh mentioned centered around deploying IoT sensors to improve wine production. AT&T also recently teamed up with an AR application that makes the "images jump off the page" in children's books, said Katibeh.

— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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9/9/2021 |
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The digital divide in North America is leaving millions without adequate broadband. Incumbents operate in “islands” of connectivity, serving densely populated areas and, at a national scale, perpetuating the digital divide in the gaps in between their service footprints. Regional ISPs have a clear role in closing that gap.

These regional ISPs operate in a highly fragmented landscape, including smaller wireless and FTTH incumbents, satellite ISPs, electric co-ops, tribal communities, and municipalities in public/private partnerships. These regional ISPs face the same cyber threats and operational challenges as their Tier 1 counterparts, but with far fewer resources and revenue-generating population density. As a result, many regional ISPs have developed highly innovated business models for access and core technology, partnerships, financing and services.

The discussion will cover:

  • Three ISPs that have taken an innovative approach to their business, as detailed in a recent STL Partners report
  • Why regional ISPs need to double down on core security basics such as DDoS protection
  • How ISPs have created new revenue by offering managed services
  • Core network capabilities required for IPv4-IPv6 management

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