Ramon Flores presented some remarkable statistics Tuesday morning before the Rotary Club of St. Thomas Sunrise. As AT&T Inc.’s regional vice president for Puerto Rico, South Florida and the Virgin Island, Flores has his hands on the pulse of the wireless world. He knows whereof he speaks.
For instance, during the last 15 years, the Internet has enabled as much economic growth as the Industrial Revolution generated in its first 50 years. Now, that’s a lot. Perhaps this growth might stand to reason, but it’s the sort of thing most of us likely wouldn’t stop to think about, something we would take for granted.
Flores made the continuing growth of technology even more compelling when he spoke about what AT&T is now bringing to the territory.
St. Thomas and St. Croix are included in the company’s expansion of its 4G LTE network (4G LTE stands for long-term evolution, fourth generation, a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data.) As part of the expansion, the company recently announced a three-year multi-billion dollar investment plan, Project Velocity IP 9VIP.
The investment is expected to expand the service to more than 300 million people across the U.S. by the end of 2014. In other words, the territory is getting in on the ground floor.
What this means for the territory is, of course, faster speeds and faster response times, but also more efficient use of spectrum, which is a finite resource. LTE uses spectrum more efficiently than other technologies, creating more space to carry data traffic and services and to deliver a better network experience.
Flores said AT&T has invested more than $20 million from 2010 through 2012 in expanding its wireless networks.
On the nontechnological level, Flores said that although he has held his present post for only two years, he takes pride in his company’s involvement in the territory.
AT&T is the major sponsor of the Rotary Sunrise Golf Scramble, which is coming Sept. 15. Last year the event provided full scholarships for four students at the University of the Virgin Islands and the international baccalaureate program at The International Academy of the Virgin Islands.
Flores stressed that the company stands ready to help in the event of any emergency. He said he has spoken with community leaders about the company’s availability. Stressing community involvement, Flores said preliminary discussions are under way with the Virgin Islands Next Generation Network for a public/private partnership.
Flores said he will be meeting with UVI officials on Wednesday to discuss programs to help with dropout prevention through the AT&T Foundation.
And in the interest of safety – and common sense – Flores said that AT&T has an app designed to improve driving safety. If the driver enables the app and the vehicle is moving 25 mph or faster, the app automatically sends a customizable auto-reply message to incoming texts, letting friends know the driver is behind the wheel and will reply when it’s safe.
Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected and updated with a fuller description of AT&T’s texting/driving app and to remove an incorrect description of the company’s service. The Source regrets the error.