AT&T hosts ‘Investing in Your Community’

By Bari Auerbach….

Bob Hollander, Brown & Brown Insurance; Dr. Wilbert “Tee” Holloway, AT&T; Barry Johnson, Greater Miami Chamber; Frank Nero, The Beacon Council; Marshall M. Criser, AT&T Florida

AT&T, the world’s largest provider of telecommunication services, recently hosted an Aventura Marketing Council Chairman’s Roundtable luncheon connecting business and community leaders who agreed when it comes to “Investing in Your Community” – there are many apps for that!

Answering the call to stand in for AMC Chair Cliff Schulman of Weiss, Serota, Helfman, Bob Hollander of Brown & Brown Insurance welcomed guests gathered at The Fairmont Turnberry Isle. The event, creating broadband networking opportunities, featured Marshall M. Criser, III, President of AT&T Florida; Barry Johnson, CEO/President of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce; and Frank Nero, CEO/ President of The Beacon Council.

Highlighting AT&T’s master plan to implement a series of network upgrades this year in Miami-Dade and Broward counties that are part of initiatives to deliver the nation’s most advanced mobile broadband service, the meeting focused on “Rethink Possible” potential: Investing in our communities and their communications infrastructure is critical to continued economic growth. Continuous investment and innovation in technology creates new opportunities for millions of Floridians to reach their full potential in this increasingly competitive marketplace.

Criser said since 2008 alone, AT&T has invested more than $630 million in Miami- Fort Lauderdale wireless and wireline networks. “We’re helping our customers take advantage of the numerous capabilities on their wireless devices,” he said. “Our continued investment and efforts are resulting in a stronger, better performing mobile broadband experience.”

Getting even “better-faster-every day” AT&T’s wireless network plans in Miami and Fort Lauderdale will now offer 4G speeds plus enable customers to talk and surf at the same time. AT&T also provides access to voice service in more than 220 countries and data service in more than 200 countries; operates the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network with more than 24,000 hotspots in the U.S.; and was recently named as having the “Best Mobile Coverage in the World” by Business Traveler magazine.

In keeping with AT&T’s “keeping people connected” mission, Carlos Blanco, vice president and general manager, AT&T Mobility & Consumer Markets for South Florida, noted, “Consumers who want the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network and the best selection of wireless devices will go with AT&T. We’re working hard to provide our customers with best-in-class service, and our ongoing investment in the local wireless network is one way to accomplish this.”

Johnson, a retired AT&T leader now serving as CEO/President of the Greater Miami Chamber emphasized, “We have more small businesses in Miami-Dade than almost any other county in America so it’s the small business engines that really make connectivity happen by investing in your business directly; investing in your community through not-for-profits; and memberships in business organizations like the AMC, the Greater Miami Chamber and The Beacon Council.”

Nero’s message about the mission of The Beacon Council, Miami-Dade’s official economic development partnership dedicated to recruiting new to market businesses and helping local business expand, also rang true. “People are looking for connectivity which is why continued investment in the infrastructure of our two economic engines, the airport and seaport, are very important and will pay off for years to come,” Nero said. “The One Community One Goal initiative is making a strong comeback to identify industries best suited for optimal growth and focus on education. To be successful in recruiting, investing in education has to be ‘job one.’”

Criser noted, “AT&T has launched a program with Junior Achievement called ‘Aspire’ offering job-shadowing events for students who can still be convinced to stay in school and finish with at least a high school degree. Statistics tell us that when a child completes high school, it’s worth about $250,000 of lifetime earnings for that individual…think about how that contributes to economic power for the community. It was once said, ‘Young people are only 25 percent of the population but they’re 100 percent of your future.’”

Before it was time to turn phones back on, everyone was dialed into this text-worthy message: “There is no company that is investing more in making our place a better place to live, work and play than what AT&T is doing for all of us in South Florida.”

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