The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has caused service providers to pivot their resources toward better connectivity and security for the millions of employees that are now working from home. On that note, AT&T Business announced on Thursday that it's offering a new broadband service for residence locations that features symmetrical speeds of 1-Gig.
AT&T is calling the service "AT&T Home Office Connectivity" and its now available across 21 states via the telco's fiber and copper lines. The service includes an internet access line as well as the required equipment that AT&T Business will retain ownership of.
During a recent interview with FierceTelecom, World Wide Technology's Neil Anderson, senior director of network solutions, estimated that 30% to 40% of the employee workforces would continue to work from home (WFH) once the coronavirus pandemic plays out. With WFH, network broadband performance can be degraded by streaming videos and online gaming by other members of a household.
The COVID-19 crisis has changed the network paradigm for service providers, which now means home-based employees need managed access points, more robust routers and corporate provided phones as part of an increased focus on standardized home office infrastructure that can be managed by a business or service provider.
The initial work from home efforts largely included improving virtual private network capabilities and maybe an additional circuit, but now there needs to be more permanent solutions in place, which is what AT&T Business is offering with Home Office Connectivity.
According to AT&T's website, Home Office Connectivity, which includes AT&T High Speed-Enterprise internet access, features dynamic and static IP address options, on-site install and consolidated invoices for multiple locations. AT&T Business is also offering wireless options in the areas where fiber or copper connections aren't available.
It includes an automatic failover feature over AT&T's wireless network should something go awry with the fiber or copper connections. There's also an optical global security gateway option that provides end-point protection, advanced threat protection, deep packet inspection (DPI), and cloud access security broker and data loss prevention solutions. The gateway is also compatible with SD-WAN.
AT&T didn't respond to an email this morning from FierceTelecom that asked how much the Home Office Connectivity Solution costs and what vendors were being used for the hardware and security features. The service does come with a one-year contract, which includes early termination charges.
While AT&T Business is providing a more robust, secure connectivity option for WFH employees, it's also finding an additional revenue stream during the coronavirus pandemic. Currently, branch offices and large office buildings face restrictions on the number of employees that can work at those locations, or the office spaces remain closed. Expect other service providers to come up with similar offers that target home-based broadband users.
In its 2020 State of Remote Work report, Buffer Inc. surveyed 3500 remote workers, 98% of whom responded that they would like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their careers.
“Attitudes about working from home are changing, but the cultural shift is only part of the equation. Businesses need tools to succeed in the new environment,” says Mo Katibeh, CMO and EVP, AT&T Business, in a statement. “This new solution gives our customers and their employees an entirely new way of thinking about working from home. By expanding access to enterprise-grade connectivity to residential locations, we can essentially put the office anywhere.”