AT&T consolidates network service offerings

In an effort to create a cohesive global data offering, AT&T Corp. on Wednesday announced it has consolidated services from various international holdings into three new portfolios.

The three portfolios -- Enterprise VPN Services, Hosting Services, and High Availability and Security Services -- are built on the network AT&T bought from IBM Corp. in 1998, the returned assets of the Concert joint venture with British Telecommunications PLC (BT), as well as several regional investments around the world, AT&T said in a statement.

To support the services, AT&T is taking the integrated Global Enterprise Management System (iGEMS) to its newly integrated global network, the company said. AT&T has invested over US$200 million in the platform, which was developed in-house by AT&T Labs.

Two global managed VPN (Virtual Private Network) offerings are the first products to be available from the new portfolios and are being offered around the world, AT&T said. One VPN offering is for those who wish to upgrade their frame relay WAN (Wide Area Network) using MPLS (Multi Protocol Label Switching), while the other VPN product is for those who want to use the Internet or the AT&T IP (Internet Protocol) backbone to create an Intranet using IPSec (Internet Protocol Security), AT&T said.

Former Concert partner BT recently detailed its own post-Concert VPN offerings. Stressing the importance of its global presence, AT&T said that it will have invested US$300 million by the end of the year to enhance and expand its global network. The company said it is adding 80 nodes, primarily in Europe.

"Large multinational customers want global services," an AT&T executive said in a conference call.

In addition to the global VPN offerings, AT&T introduced a new product dubbed AT&T Ultravailable Wavelength Service, promising medium-size and large businesses the same network availability, security, recovery, management and monitoring services that were previously only available on a custom basis for large corporations, such as Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.

AT&T Ultravailable Wavelength Service will initially only be available in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area, with other U.S. cities following over the next year-and-a-half, AT&T said.

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