AT&T is donating more than $1.2 million to support seven small businesses focused on distance learning programs, as the coronavirus outbreak forces students to continue their studies at home.
"When you think about small businesses, they are the most at-risk businesses in America today," Mo Katibeh, CMO and EVP of AT&T Business, told Cheddar. "Some estimates show that up to 25 percent of small businesses, over 2 million of them, could face material cash challenges or could even go out of business."
The company has set up a larger $10 million fund to provide resources for educators, parents, and students to help continue their education while schools are shut down.
The fund has supported nonprofits and companies, such as the online tutoring service Khan Academy, to expand their free education resources.
"This isn't new with COVID, but we've doubled down on our efforts with this $10 million grant and the [$1.2 million] we're announcing today," Katibeh said.
This charitable effort was launched amid a massive shift at AT&T to accommodate a decreased demand from business customers and an increase from residential consumers.
"The network is handling this shift in traffic from work locations to home locations extremely well," Katibeh said.
The company's core network is up 25 percent. That's over 400 petabytes of traffic per day, which is equivalent of 50 million filing cabinets filled with paper, Katibeh said.
There has also been a 300 percent uptick in traffic related to collaboration tools for businesses and education facilities such as Zoom and Google Hangouts.
AT&T has made a concerted effort to appear engaged with coronavirus relief, including scrapping its plans for $4 billion stock buybacks.