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AT&T's Flying COW Connects Puerto Rico

The Flying Cell on Wings (COW) is providing wireless connectivity to customers in an up to 40-square mile-area.

On Nov. 6, AT&T (No. 3 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) made the following announcement regarding Cell on Wings:


In Puerto Rico, we've deployed our helicopter Flying COW (Cell on Wings) for the first time ever.

As we work to permanently restore our network, this experimental technology is providing data, voice, and text services to customers. This is the first time an LTE cell site on a drone has been successfully deployed to connect residents after a disaster.

The Flying COW is providing wireless connectivity to customers in an up to 40-square mile-area. It flies 200 feet above the ground and can extend coverage farther than other temporary cell sites. Ideal for providing coverage in remote areas.

LTE-connected drones hold a lot of potential for FirstNet-subscribers. Exploring the capabilities of this technology in wake of Hurricane Maria's devastation will help temporarily restore connectivity and assess how first responders can use the drone in the future.

An unprecedented event such as Hurricane Maria has required we look to innovative solutions to connect customers, first responders, and disaster recovery teams. From our involvement with Vanu, to our unique use of portable cell sites at the base of clusters of cell towers, testing the Flying COW is just one way we're using technology in new ways.

Currently deployed in the San Juan area, we plan to relocate our Flying COW in the coming days to support additional areas, including the military hospital at Manati Coliseum.

Teams are working around the clock to restore our network and deploy additional assets in impacted areas in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Today, nearly 70% of the population in Puerto Rico and nearly 95% of the population in the U.S. Virgin Islands are connected again.

AbbVie: Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Community Health Center at a Time

From ensuring backup energy sources to introducing a telemedicine program, Direct Relief anchors Puerto Rico's resurgence in good health.

Originally Published by AbbVie.

For a Local Doctor, Home is Where The Heart Is

It was summer 2017, and Dr. Yania López Álvarez had just returned to Puerto Rico. A new doctor eager to bring her knowledge back to the island, the 35-year-old radiologist turned down more lucrative job offers on the mainland for the chance to practice at home close to her family.

But a few months later, Hurricane Irma slammed into Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria came just weeks after, pummeling the island, destroying homes and causing widespread power outages that lasted for months. The official death toll stands at 2,975 people.

A lack of electricity, running water and jobs prompted many to leave the island. An estimated 135,000 people left Puerto Rico in the six months following Maria, according to a report by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies.

Dr. López chose to stay.

"My heart is just here," said Dr. López, director of the Imaging Center of the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine in San Juan.

She represents a small but growing group – skilled Puerto Ricans in the health care field drawn to lead recovery efforts and overcome a shortage of workers post-hurricanes.

This fall, Dr. López will help open Puerto Rico's first breast imaging center and train Puerto Rican residents at the University. She'll be able to bring a specialty that the island's only teaching hospital hasn't seen for 45 years, the last time limited breast imaging was included in residents' training.

"As doctors, as members of this community, we need to build our training programs, and we need to encourage strong foundations for doctors to serve in both times of need and of prosperity," said Dr. López.

Focusing on the Uninsured and Underserved

Dr. López's story highlights the ongoing work in Puerto Rico of Direct Relief, a health-oriented humanitarian aid organization focused on improving the lives of people affected by poverty and emergencies.

After receiving an infusion of $50 million from AbbVie six months ago, leaders at Direct Relief focused on executing the first stage of a three-year partnership to rebuild and strengthen primary care on the island. Direct Relief is the largest source of nongovernmental support for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in the United States.

"We wanted to be part of the process to reconstruct and rebuild the town. There are still a lot of beautiful places in Puerto Rico, and not just negative news. There is good."

Yesenia Ortiz, Arroyo resident and health records clerk, Centro de Salud Familiar Clinic

In Puerto Rico, Direct Relief's work focuses on 68 community health centers that serve mostly medically uninsured patients in underserved areas. Close to 90 percent of their collective patients live below the poverty line. Additionally, Direct Relief supports hospitals and health facilities run by the government.

Direct Relief is a longtime, trusted partner of AbbVie, with the two working together since 2014 on joint humanitarian initiatives that center primarily on disaster relief and emergency work around the globe.

"Direct Relief's work is not about restoring the island's primary health care system to the way it was before Maria struck," says Melissa Walsh, vice president, AbbVie Foundation. "It's about building a stronger, more resilient health care system that can hold up against future disasters, so that the people of Puerto Rico can count on reliable, accessible care when they need it the most."

Learn more: How AbbVie's long-term efforts to move Puerto Rico from recovery to resilience.

Taking a Customized Approach for Each Health Center

Direct Relief tailors its support based on the unique needs of each health center and the people they serve. For one clinic, this means a new mobile medical unit with four-wheel drive that can travel across roads in disrepair, often in hard to reach places. For another, it means the right resources to treat chronic conditions common on the island like hypertension and diabetes. Each center is receiving a stockpile of medications and emergency medicine to equip first responders.

Improvements at every clinic contribute to the big picture – ensuring health providers on the island won't have to close their doors or not have life-saving medication available for patients when they need it most.

"At the end of three years, every health center we're supporting will have solar and battery backup so they'll never lose critical infrastructure again," said Andrew MacCalla, director, international programs & emergency response, Direct Relief. "We've never been in a position in our 70-year history to think about these possibilities before receiving AbbVie's support."

Key to the Direct Relief and AbbVie plan is rehabbing public health facilities and services so they can serve as models for other islands in the Caribbean and beyond. A critical component is Direct Relief's strategy to introduce the island's first-ever island-wide telemedicine program.

Introducing Telemedicine to Increase Health Care Access

Hurricane Maria washed out many roads and bridges and left rural communities in isolation. Telemedicine will drastically improve access to health care, especially in these areas, said Ivonne Rodriguez-Wiewall, Senior Advisor for Puerto Rico, Direct Relief.

The organization is partnering with the Puerto Rico Department of Health and the University of Puerto Rico and Ponce Medical School to launch the program. Specialists like Dr. López can consult with patients and their providers directly and help assess how to manage their condition and whether they need to visit a health care facility.

And by equipping more facilities with specialized medical equipment, the vision is that more physicians will be drawn back to lead health centers that serve as the bedrock of communities across the island.

Emphasizing the "Community" in Community Health Clinic

One such clinic is Centro de Salud Familiar, situated on the southern coast of the island where Maria first made landfall with its strongest winds of 155 miles per hour. There, in Arroyo, this center has remained one constant in the lives of residents.

The emergency room of the Centro de Salud Familiar clinic in Arroyo, Puerto Rico, sustained water and wind damage during Hurricane Maria.

Centro de Salud Familiar clinic serves about 13,000 people annually. It is the only provider of primary and preventive health service for Arroyo, Guayama and the surrounding rural areas.

The clinic received an emergency grant from Direct Relief to help bring it back to full strength after Maria caused wind and water damage. The clinic is also a recipient of the AbbVie donation, which funded a custom-built mobile medical unit to reach community members in rural, mountainous areas.

Yesenia Ortiz, 27, works at the clinic as a health records clerk. Her family home in Arroyo was so badly damaged that it had to be demolished and rebuilt, a slow process that is not quite complete over a year later.

Direct Relief followed Yesenia Ortiz and her family after their home in Arroyo was badly damaged when Hurricane Maria swept through the mountainous community. See how they were impacted and why Yesenia's job at a local health clinic is critical to the family and her community.

Drawing Strength to Create a New Path Forward

When Ortiz and her family – including her father, mother and sister – bounced from one relative's home to another during reconstruction, she found solace in her job.

She returned to work five days after Maria, supporting patient intake. Ortiz describes these early days as chaotic, with many patients dealing with both serious physical injuries as well as the aftermath of losing their homes.

Ortiz focused on one goal during these challenging shifts: Make sure everyone got the best service possible. She funneled strength from friends and neighbors who showed resilience, including a nurse at the clinic with two young children whose home was destroyed but was creating a new path forward.

Did the Ortiz family ever consider leaving Puerto Rico? No. They've lived in Arroyo for generations, and likened the thought of leaving to letting people down in the town that means so much to them.

"We wanted to be part of the process to reconstruct and rebuild the town," Ortiz said. "There are still a lot of beautiful places in Puerto Rico, and not just negative news. There is good."

AT&T Awards $25,000 at Pitches with Purpose Event

The winner, MindRight, provides a judgement-free mobile platform that empowers youth of color to heal from systemic oppression by offering support and personalized live coaching via text message.

Originally Published by AT&T.

AT&T launched its inaugural Pitches with Purpose earlier this month in Dallas, with 8 companies from this year's AT&T Aspire Accelerator class competing for $25,000 for their cause.

Participating companies gave a 3-minute pitch to a panel of company executives and employees. In the end, MindRight took the top prize. The company provides a judgement-free mobile platform that empowers youth of color to heal from systemic oppression by offering support and personalized live coaching via text message.

The AT&T Aspire Accelerator funds entrepreneurs creating education solutions with technology. It is part of AT&T's signature philanthropic initiative, Aspire. AT&T launched Aspire in 2008 to provide access to education and training people need to get and keep good jobs.

Now celebrating Aspire's 10th anniversary, AT&T has committed $450 million to programs to help millions of students in all 50 states and around the world since 2008.

AT&T's First-Ever Untold Stories Film 'Nigerian Prince' Debuted in Theaters and On Demand Everywhere

The first film funded and distributed by ongoing Diversity & Inclusion Program from AT&T and Tribeca.

Originally Published by AT&T.

AT&T Presents: Untold Stories is proud to bring the program's first-ever film – NIGERIAN PRINCE – to audiences nationwide on Friday, October, 19. Untold Stories is a film initiative created by AT&T and Tribeca to ensure diverse voices in storytelling are heard and seen in theaters and living rooms across the country. Written and directed by newcomer Faraday Okoro, and filmed in Lagos, Nigeria, the film is a heist thriller about a Nigerian-American teenager sent to visit relatives in Nigeria against his will, later to join forces with his internet scammer cousin in an attempt to return to the United States on his own.

Kicking off the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, Okoro was one of five aspiring directors who participated in a live pitch to a panel of celebrity and industry judges that included AT&T's chief brand officer Fiona Carter to win $1 million to make their film utilizing the Untold Stories program grant, mentorship and distribution commitments. Okoro's film, NIGERIAN PRINCE, had its world premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews and packed theaters in New York City. Now, delivering on the program's promise to ensure that underserved artists' work is not only created but seen, NIGERIAN PRINCE will be available to millions of movie enthusiasts in select theaters across the country as well as on DIRECTV, U-Verse and a range of on-demand platforms.

"Programs like Untold Stories have the incredible power to introduce audiences to new storytellers and new ways of seeing the world," said Jane Rosenthal, ceo and co-founder of Tribeca Enterprises/Tribeca Film Festival. "We're proud to support Faraday Okoro's globe-trotting, culture-crossing film NIGERIAN PRINCE as the first recipient of the Untold Stories grant, and we are eager to champion other emerging filmmakers as we continue to get untold stories heard with our friends at AT&T."

NIGERIAN PRINCE follows two characters: Eze, a stubborn, first generation Nigerian-American teenager and his cousin, Pius, who is a desperate Nigerian Prince scammer. After Eze's mother sends him to Nigeria against his will, Eze retaliates by teaming up with Pius to scam unsuspecting foreigners in order to earn money for a return ticket back to America. Executive produced by Spike Lee, the film stars Chinaza Uche and Antonio Bell.

AT&T Presents: Untold Stories. An Inclusive Film Program in Collaboration with Tribeca was launched in 2017 to ensure that diverse storytellers always have a screen on which to shine. AT&T will provide funding up to $1 million for one talented filmmaker to create his or her film each year, and Tribeca will provide mentorship from seasoned industry professionals. AT&T will distribute the winning film across its video platforms. This film initiative is an alliance between AT&T and Tribeca along with Tribeca Film Institute and debuted at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.

NIGERIAN PRINCE is the first film produced under the program. In April of 2018, AT&T awarded its second $1 million to Untold Stories winners Sasie Sealy and Angela Cheng for their film, LUCKY GRANDMA. Like NIGERIAN PRINCE, it will also have its world premiere screening during the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival next April. Submissions are now open for Year 3 – and aspiring filmmakers are encouraged to submit scripts between now and Nov. 24, 2018, for their chance to compete for a $1 million grant to make their film as part of AT&T Presents: Untold Stories.

For additional information about UNTOLD STORIES, please visit: http://about.att.com/sites/entertainment/untold_stories

AT&T Foundry Launches Innovation Space for Vertical Industries

Enterprise Customers Get Venue to Co-Create Innovative Technologies to Solve Industry-Specific Challenges.

Originally Published by AT&T.

Revolutionary technology breakthroughs in business don't happen by accident. That's why AT&T* is launching a vertical industry-focused space at the AT&T Foundry in Plano to showcase our edge-to-edge network capabilities and develop transformative technologies.

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AT&T Announces Largest Deployment of Free Aira Service

AT&T, Aira Use Groundbreaking Technology to Bring Retail Experience to Blind & Low- Vision Shoppers at Over 5,300 AT&T Retail Locations.

Originally Published by AT&T.

AT&T* and Aira continue to expand their relationship to bring new experiences to the blind and those with low vision. This time, it's the customer experience. All AT&T company-owned retail and authorized retail stores are now Aira Access Locations. That means that any member of the blind and low-vision community with a smartphone can become an Aira Guest and can get free use of Aira's service at over 5,300 AT&T retail locations across the U.S.

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An astounding 20,000 pallets of unopened bottled water was discovered on a runway in Ceiba, Puerto Rico.

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Trump Says of Aid to Puerto Rico: 'Incredibly Successful' Storm Response

"If he thinks the death of 3,000 people is a success, God help us all," said Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan.

REUTERS

President Trump actually boasted on Tuesday about the shortcomings that killed 3,000 Puerto Ricans during, and after, Hurricane Maria last September.

He said that while the response to hurricanes in Texas and Florida got excellent grades, "I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success."

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AT&T: FirstNet Momentum: More Than 2,500 Public Safety Agencies Subscribed

The FirstNet Network Platform Has Been Reliably Supporting First Responders Battling Wildfires and Other Emergencies Nationwide.

Originally Published by AT&T.

More than 2,500 public safety agencies across the country have joined FirstNet. This is nearly double the number of agencies since the last update in July.

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