AT&T's Lee: IP, cloud is about providing a consistent user experience

WASHINGTON, D.C.--AT&T's (NYSE: T) ultimate goal to transition from TDM to an IP and cloud-capable company will be centered around giving customers a consistent experience regardless of the device or communications medium they use.

By 2020, the telco plans to have completed its transformation into a what it calls mobile-led, all IP, and all cloud network provider.

Lee (Image source: AT&T)

"We believe our customers won't know or care whether they are on LTE, Wi-Fi, big cells, small cells, Bluetooth or U-verse broadband, VPN, or fiber," said Lori Lee, senior executive vice president of Home Solutions for AT&T, during a keynote session at TIA 2013. "What they'll want to know is it's a fast, seamless, simple, secure AT&T connection that will follow them from home to work, to the soccer field and yes, even to the car and to the plane."

A big element of the cloud transformation will be in driving the intelligence from the device to the network.

Lee said that as its network becomes more cloud-based, "the very idea of content stored on a device will be as outdated as dial-up modems."

This network will enable a number of new applications and services, particularly in health care.

Economists estimate that remote monitoring health care capabilities, enabled via higher speed home broadband connections and wireless, could save consumers $200 billion over the next 25 years.

"Health care will become more personalized and more affordable with better access and outcomes," Lee said.

Likewise in the higher education space, AT&T has developed an online master's degree program for computer science with Georgia Tech.

"Our online master's degree program opens up opportunities," Lee said. "Students can get a master's degree for $6,000."

Already, AT&T has put the seeds of its IP and cloud migration strategy in place. Over the past six years it has invested over $100 billion in upgrading its wireless and wireline network.   

Building on top of that investment is the $14 billion Project VIP program.

Under Project VIP, AT&T is upgrading and extending services 57 million customer locations (both consumer and SMB), including U-verse expansion, U-verse IP DSLAM, upgraded speeds, and bringing fiber to 1 million additional business customer locations, located in multi-tenant office buildings.

One of the big elements of the wireline investment is to increase broadband speeds on its existing hybrid copper/fiber to the node by launching a 45 Mbps tier in 22 states. At a later date, it plans to also offer a 100 Mbps tier using a mix of copper pair bonding, VDSL2 and vectoring.

Besides upping its FTTN network speeds, the service provider recently launched its 1 Gbps-capable FTTH broadband service.

Lee reiterated comments made recently by AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson about the FTTH network that "Austin is our first city, but it won't be our last."

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