AT&T expands managed services for ISPs, cable

Cable service operators and Internet service providers will have support for MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) on AT&T's Internet protocol backbone network, the company said Tuesday. The expanded support for MPLS will allow providers to more easily offer VPN (Virtual Private Network) services and other managed services.

AT&T also will provide network management and monitoring capabilities to ISPs and cable companies, permitting automated trouble reporting and trouble shooting, as well as performance reports and capacity management.

The reporting and management functions are a prerequisite for service providers to deploy VPN services, said Kate Rankin, an AT&T spokeswoman. "We're hoping this will get more cable companies and ISPs to migrate to our backbone," she said.

The new offering will potentially improve cable operators' ability to offer business services, moving beyond consumer broadband Internet access. It also is another step in its plan to counter the effect of the end of its Concert Communications Co. international joint venture with British Telecommunications PLC.

AT&T, based in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, offers its fully managed IP VPN service in 54 countries, but is only beginning to support MPLS services internationally. AT&T plans to have 102 nodes with MPLS capability deployed in 88 cities throughout the world by the end of the year.

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