AT&T expands network globally

AT&T Corp. this week announced network expansion initiatives that include extending the reach of its Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS)network in Asia and South America, boosting IP capacity in the northwest U.S., increasing the reach of remote access services and deploying four new data centres overseas.

“We re-prioritized our network investment from a global perspective,” says Eric Shepcaro, AT&T’s vice president of business strategy and development. The re-prioritization is based on AT&T’s strategy of being focused on business customer’s needs, he says.

AT&T’s MPLS network now reaches 50 countries and includes additional nodes in China and India. “AT&T has always had a presence in China,” says Bryan Van Dussen, director of telecommunications research at The Yankee Group. “But China is vitally important when you consider the country’s population and potential for growth.” Network expansion in India is equally important for AT&T, Van Dussen says, especially when you consider how infrequently U.S.-based carriers are investing in networks overseas.

AT&T also announced recently that it’s expanding its MPLS network in Mexico through a partnership with Alestra, a telecom company that is 49 per cent owned by AT&T and 51 per cent owned by a conglomerate in Mexico.

The carrier also has beefed up its hosting presence overseas with a new data centre in London and another in Tokyo. AT&T now has two data centres in each city. And for the first time AT&T is offering hosting services in Paris and Frankfurt, Germany, with a data centre in each city. Customers in Europe will have AT&T’s mobile Network Disaster Recovery services available when disasters strike. Until now, AT&T only had its fleet of trucks and trailers ready to roll at a moment’s notice in the U.S. to hurricane or flood sites to restore network services.

AT&T also has teamed with multiple service providers to expand the reach of its metropolitan and remote access services, including Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL). The carrier has increased the number of buildings it can reach with metropolitan Ethernet services from 600 in the U.S. to 1,200 around the world through an agreement with service provider STSN. It has increased the number of Wi-Fi hot spots available to AT&T customers from 2,900 to 4,000 through its agreement with STSN.

AT&T has Ethernet and Wi-Fi roaming agreements with GoRemote (formerly Gric Communications). AT&T now supports DSL services from 8,000 central office switch sites, compared with 6,300 earlier this year. The carrier has increased its DSL reach through an agreement with New Edge Networks. It also works with Covad Communications Co. to offer DSL services.

The carrier recently deployed Siemens Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing gear to support an OC-768 fibre between San Francisco and Seattle. AT&T says the link supports up to 40Gbps on one fibre strand.

AT&T’s OC-768 deployment “validates that traffic continues to grow,” Van Dussen says. The area between San Francisco and Seattle is one of the largest for Internet growth.

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