Climate change is beginning to interrupt business as usual. That’s according to Scott Mair, president of AT&T Operations, who said the growing threat of natural disasters has spurred the company to begin assessing the risks of climate change to AT&T’s business.
AT&T has partnered with the Department of Energy (DOE) to build a 30-year climate model to help it predict future disaster costs. AT&T says it’s the first such project announced in the telecom industry.
The news follows an increase in disaster-related costs for the carrier over the last two years. AT&T has spent $847 million on disasters since 2016, including $626 million in 2017 alone, according to CNBC.
The wireless carrier announced this week it is paying DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory to help it build a tool that will track flooding, hurricane and wind storms in North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. AT&T plans to extend the mapping tool to other parts of the country, and use it to track wildfires and droughts, in addition to flooding events.
The tool will help AT&T visualize local climate events that could pose threats to copper lines, fiber cable locations, cell sites and other infrastructure using Argonne National Laboratory’s regional climate modeling data. AT&T and Argonne will make the mapping tool and data public for universities, municipalities and others to use.