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AT&T to invest $14bn in networks

US telco AT&T has revealed plans to invest US$14bn in its fixed and wireless networks over the next three years to support growing demand for high-speed Internet access and new mobile, app and cloud services.

The investment plan – dubbed Project Velocity IP (VIP) – will see its U-verse triple-play network expanded by more than a third (or about 8.5mn additional customer locations), for a total potential U-verse market of 33mn locations by the end of 2015.

AT&T also plans to increase U-verse speeds to up to 75Mbps, and its U-verse IPDSLAM service (high-speed IP Internet access and VoIP) to up to 45Mbps.

The latter will also be expanded to reach 24mn customer locations in its wireline service area by the end of next year.

The telco plans to accelerate its fibre deployment to reach an additional 1mn business customer locations or 50 percent of the multi-tenant business buildings in its wireline service area.

As a result of the above, its wired IP broadband network will reach 75% of customer locations in AT&T’s 22-state wireline service area by year-end 2015.

Also included in the plan to a commitment to invest US$8bn in wireless initiatives, including expansion of its 4G LTE network to cover 300mn people in the US by year-end 2014, up from its current plans to deploy 4G LTE to about 250mn people by year-end 2013.

“This is a major commitment to invest in 21st Century communications infrastructure for the United States and bring high-speed Internet connectivity — 4G LTE mobile and wireline IP broadband — to millions more Americans,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and chief executive officer.

“Revenues in our key growth areas — wireless data, U-verse and strategic business services — are all growing at a strong double-digit rate. Project VIP expands our potential in these key platforms and makes them available to many more customers,” Stephenson said. ”

New growth initiatives will follow these rollouts, including the launch of an all IP-based home security and automation service in 2013 called ‘AT&T Digital Life’, which will let consumers manage their home from virtually any device — smartphone, tablet or PC.

Also planned is a Connected Car project, with AT&T preparing to offer services ranging from vehicle diagnostics and real time traffic updates to consumer-facing applications that tie into retail wireless subscriber data plans. AT&T already has deals with leading manufacturers such as Ford, Nissan and BMW.

Editor’s view: This is big money AT&T is investing (as is inevitable given the size of its market), and confirms that the company is serious about developing new growth initiatives by investing in its networks and infrastructure.

It will be interesting to see which US telcos and cablecos follow suit and announce their own national investment plans, now that AT&T has put its cards on the table and committed itself in this way.

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