AT&T: 40, 100G demand ramps, sees 400G on the horizon

DALLAS -- AT&T's (NYSE: T) Ethernet footprint expansion is being complemented with a group of higher speed 40G and 100G speeds that are starting to be adopted by more of the carrier's customer base, whose bandwidth needs are exceeding initial expectations.

Dan Blemings, director of Ethernet product management for AT&T mobile and business solutions, told FierceTelecom in an interview at the telco's Dallas headquarters that it expects demand for these speeds to ramp.

"Initially, we saw 40 and 100G demand a lot in finance, a lot in health care, a lot in schools, but as you would expect with the bandwidth growth curve over time we're starting to see large enterprises want it and that's going to continue," Blemings said. "We're going to continue to see that bandwidth grow over time."

While 40G and 100G are the hot flavors today for speed, AT&T is keeping its eye on what the future holds with the emergence of 400G.

Despite some early trials conducted by AT&T and fellow telcos like Verizon (NYSE: VZ), 400G is largely a conceptual idea because a formal standard around the technology has not yet been developed.

"One of the things we know on the speed horizon out there is 400G," Blemings said. "The standards aren't in place yet so no one can claim 400G, but we're all looking at it and someday we'll all be talking about 400G."

But speed is just one element of AT&T's Ethernet plans. The service provider plans to increase its Ethernet reach by building fiber to more buildings within its own 21-state wireline region and with partners in other territories.

"We more than double our Ethernet footprint in 2015 and we're going to continue to expand where we do Ethernet," Blemings said. "That's going to be both within our 21 states and laying our own fiber and enabling more services on Ethernet."

Blemings said that it will also increase the amount of Ethernet partners it currently has to satisfy multi-site business customers that have facilities outside of AT&T's wireline footprint.

"We're also going to continue to grow our partnerships with Ethernet service providers that are outside of our 21-state footprint, and that's going to enable end-to-end Ethernet services globally," Blemings said. "Going into 2015, we had about 50 small, medium and large companies that gave us a lot of coverage and we're up to 80 now and soon we'll eclipse that number."

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