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AT&T makes $1 billion ’09 network investment

AT&T will invest $1 billion this year to expand and upgrade its global network with a particular emphasis on adding business applications such as managed hosting, content delivery and telepresence.

AT&T says that the $1 billion investment will be targeted at expanding its business service offerings to both small companies and large corporations. Broadly speaking, AT&T has divided its investments into categories: IBM network integration, global network expansion, application delivery and mobility services.

AT&T's investment in integrating IBM's global network operations with its own stems from a 2007 deal that made IBM into AT&T's telecommunications and network management services provider. AT&T says that this partnership has helped it add “on-the-ground support and networking expertise in 48 different countries.” AT&T's international network upgrade investments include deploying submarine cable capacity to Alaska, Australia, India and Puerto Rico, as well as to routes from North America to Europe. AT&T will expend its VPN services to 18 new countries and it will more than double the number of countries where it offers its virtual private LAN service. AT&T also says it will start implementing a multiyear plan aimed at delivering IPv6 networking services to governments and companies around the world.

In addition to its network service expansions, AT&T will deploy a new network capability known as AT&T Wavelength Private Line, a managed service that the company says will support 10Gbps Ethernet LAN and WAN configurations. In order to improve its service quality, the company will speed up its backbone by deploying new 10GB edge equipment and adding more Cisco CRS1 routers over some of its routes.

On the application delivery side, AT&T is upgrading network applications such as its VPN, telepresence, unified communications and hosting offerings. The company will expand its network offerings into Asia by offering telepresence in China for the first time and managed IP telephony and LAN services for the first time in China, India, the Philippines and Thailand. AT&T will also increase its data center hosting capacity in three of its U.S. data centers, as well as data centers in Tokyo, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

For mobility services, AT&T will continue deploying its location-based services, mobile enterprise applications and Enterprise On Demand platform that is designed to let IT departments manage the deployment of their own wireless devices.

AT&T says that has invested more than $3 billion in business network upgrades since 2006 to help its customers transition from legacy networks to MPLS-based networks and managed services.

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