AT&T upgrades its network in Bayview-Hunters Point

AT&T showed off a recent cell site upgrade to the network that serves the Bayview-Hunters Point area of San Francisco, and representatives said the neighborhood will benefit.

“People don’t just want to talk — they want to connect,” said AT&T spokesman John Britton.

AT&T representatives said the upgrades would enhance mobile broadband coverage to the area.

“Clearly there is a tremendous demand for smartphones, so we are adding capacity. It’s like taking the Bay Bridge and adding another lane,” Britton said.

The cell site upgrade was added to an existing site within the past two months and is located on the 3000 block of Third street.

“An installation of this type takes approximately three weeks to install,” according to AT&T technician Andy Chang.

“Stealthing” antennas is something the provider does to help equipment blend into the landscape, explained Britton. In this case, the antennas were disguised as smokestacks.

According to a recent Public Policy Institute of America statewide survey, Californians and Information Technology, the use of cellphones to go online has increased across racial and ethnic groups. Today, 57 percent of blacks (31 percent in 2008), 43 percent of whites (18 percent in 2008), 41 percent of Asians (24 percent in 2008), and 32 percent of Latinos (16 percent in 2008) say they have accessed the Internet via cellphone.

Although Latinos are the group least likely to have a computer or Internet access at home, Latinos who use their cell phones to go online are twice as likely as whites (40 percent to 21 percent) to say that they mostly access the Internet this way.

“Californians are increasingly using their cellphones and a variety of other mobile devices to gather useful information throughout the course of their daily lives,” says Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. “The growing use of cellphones for accessing the Internet is changing the way that Californians relate to work, and this trend also has promise for reducing the digital divide.”

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