DALLAS, April 28, 2011 – One Economy CEO, Kelley Dunne, and representatives from AT&T delivered a joint keynote address at the Broadband Properties Summit on Tuesday, touting the power of broadband to facilitate the innovation economy and empower minority populations.
“I believe [broadband] is changing the way we live, work, and play,” said Bob Bickerstaff, vice president of consumer data products at AT&T.
Bickerstaff noted the growth of broadband adoption to its current rate of approximately 70 percent by those with access to it. He projected an adoption rate of 80 percent in ten years, driven by its integration into everyday life.
The new generation of connected devices, he said, currently numbers approximately 7 million, including smartphones, tablets and e-readers.
Dunne’s portion of the address emphasized the need to make broadband available to low-income and minority populations, calling it “the fourth utility.” He began his speech with an anecdote about the pervasiveness of broadband by pointing out that Wi-Fi was available on his flight to Dallas.
“I Thought, ‘if we can get passengers on a plane online, we can certainly get low-income Americans online,'” Dunne told the crowd of several hundred.
Dunne also showed the audience a video highlighting One Economy’s “We Are Connected” campaign. That campaign provides training in constructive uses of broadband technologies to individuals, who then train others in their communities. The campaign include five mobile broadband stations that move around the U.S. providing training.
The campaign is made possible through a partnership between One Economy and AT&T, which provides significant funding for the organization’s efforts.
“I believe the industry has the obligation and opportunity to establish a new model,” said Dunne. “It will be found in a collaborative – not a competitive – model.”
Rick Hubbard, vice president of AT&T Connected Communities, echoed Dunne’s sentiment about the need to spread broadband to the underserved, but left most of the credit to One Economy’s efforts.
“Supplying the BB is the easy part,” said Hubbard. “One Economy deserves the credit because it’s about the use.”
AT&T Connected Communities has donated more than $37 million to One Economy since the organization’s beginnings in 2000, including $5,000 presented to Dunne at the conclusion of Tuesday’s keynote. According to Hubbard, the giving program fits in with AT&T’s goal of supporting public-private partnerships such as One Economy and the Project to Get Older Adults onLine (GOAL).
“This is about how we support public-private partnerships like One Economy,” said Hubbard. “It’s really about getting broadband to the people to improve communities one life at a time.”