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AT&T adding jobs, improving cell services in Ky.

Gov. Steve Beshear mentioned in an election ad that his father and grandfather were preachers. He has said that his campaign will not participate in any discussion of candidates' religion.
Gov. Steve Beshear mentioned in an election ad that his father and grandfather were preachers. He has said that his campaign will not participate in any discussion of candidates' religion. AP

FRANKFORT — AT&T announced Wednesday it will add 200 new jobs to a call center in Carter County and also addressed concerns about its wireless network in the state by announcing new investment in cell sites.

The call center, which first opened in 2001, currently has about 1,000 employees. AT&T will not ask for any state tax incentives for the call center expansion. The average pay for the new jobs will be between $10 and $14 hourly.

Meanwhile, the company is aiming to improve its wireless network in the state to improve voice and data service. AT&T's cellphone service in some parts of Kentucky — particularly Eastern Kentucky — is spotty at best with 3G data service lacking in many areas.

At a news conference Wednesday at the state Capitol, AT&T Kentucky President Mary Pat Regan said AT&T has already spent more than $525 million over the past three years on a host of network improvements, including adding 35 new cellphone sites and upgrading 150 existing sites.

Mobile 3G data service was expanded in several rural communities including London, Bardstown, Corbin, Mount Sterling and Murray over the past two years.

AT&T is also planning more upgrades as part of a $19 billion nationwide investment in its wireless network, which has often been criticized as inferior to competitors including Verizon Wireless. AT&T did not divulge how much money it will spend in Kentucky but said its plans include activating hundreds of new cell sites.

Regan said AT&T is focused on "more coverage, higher capacity and higher speeds" in Kentucky.

Faster internet connections and more cellphone coverage is key to economic development, said Gov. Steve Beshear at Wednesday's press conference. "Bringing faster speeds and better coverage to our commonwealth and especially our rural areas will make Kentucky a more attractive place to live, work and raise a family," he said.

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