AT&T Business boots up six command centers to combat COVID-19 demand

AT&T and Verizon see an increase in their voice traffic due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Pixabay)

AT&T Business has booted up six command centers to meet the increased networking and customer demands that are a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Among other tasks, the new command centers are enabling the faster delivery of increased bandwidth, new circuits and unified communications services.

With more employees working from home, along with home-bound students using more online gaming services, service providers are keeping their collective fingers on the bandwidth pulses of their networks due to the coronavirus pandemic. AT&T Business said it was supporting its customer base by using its own unified communications collaboration tools. 

AT&T Business highlighted three of its six new command centers, including its delivery command center, on its website. The delivery command center for AT&T's core network was built to handle the higher demands across the telco's infrastructure. "As demands on the network continually evolve, AT&T is confident this structure will keep our network strong as needs evolve," according to AT&T Business.

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AT&T Business' delivery command center was designed to organize delivery functions across AT&T to help expedite customer orders that have high-priority work volumes. "Within one week, our teams have already completed hundreds of COVID-19-related customer orders across multiple industry segments," AT&T Business said. "This effort is proving vital to not only our customers, but to the functioning of our society in these critical times."

Lastly, AT&T Business has launched an incident command center to help deal with the impact of the coronavirus on its customers and businesses. This command center will work to restore vital customer service after incidents at a faster rate of speed. AT&T Business said this command center would prioritize incidents with the Federal Communications Commission's Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) indicators. TSP is an FCC program that directs telecommunications service providers to give preferential treatment to users enrolled in the program when they need to add new lines or have their lines restored following a disruption of service, regardless of the cause, according to the FCC's website.

AT&T Business is also employing collaboration tools to provide real-time updates, and to protect its own employees. AT&T has deployed a full automation framework using bots and other automation to speed up order intake, triage and delivery activity based on priority requests. The bots launch a virtual command and control room, and invite the stakeholders to collaborate in real time.

"We recognize that no business will be left untouched by this pandemic," according to AT&T Business. "No matter if you’re expanding bandwidth, redeploying employees or needing additional products and services, we’ve established the mechanisms to help you meet your business objectives. These command centers are a true reflection of people, process, technology and culture coming together."

AT&T and Verizon's voice services spike

On Saturday, AT&T said voice calls had jumped 25.5% over the past week, but data usage has been essentially flat as people head home and connect their devices to their personal Wi-Fi. Due to employees working from home, AT&T said data usage has spread out from traditional concentrations in urban areas to the suburbs.

AT&T has asked more of its own employees to work from home, which drove conference calls up by 19%, while instant messaging was 15 times higher.

RELATED: Verizon sees almost 20% increase in web traffic in one week due to COVID-19

Verizon also noted that it has seen an increase in voice traffic with wireless voice usage notching a 10% increase, and calls lasting 15% longer during the March 12-19 time frame. Verizon's network report showed the primary driver of increased voice usage was due to using conference calling numbers. Verizon said voice usage, long declining in the age of texting, chat and social media, was up 25% in the last week.

“For years we’ve seen a steady decline in the amount of time people spend talking to one another, especially on wireless devices,” said Verizon CTO Kyle Malady, in a statement. “The move to staying at home has reignited people’s hunger to stay connected, voice-to-voice."

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