A big slice of AT&T's $1 billion tax windfall will fund the service provider's insatiable hunger for fiber, CEO John Donovan told an audience of analysts this week.
The $1 billion reaped through the massive corporate tax cut bolstered AT&T's $25 billion capex budget already allotted for investment in network quality, capacity and development, Donovan said during the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.
"The fiber footprint, we expect to get to another 3 million homes this year," he said. "When we talked about raising our capital budget $1 billion this year, a lot of that will go to our fiber footprint. And then when you get out of capacity and footprint, you get through wireless and wired, you look at things like development budgets."
In addition to serving new residential customers, AT&T's fiber investment will support the service provider's ongoing 5G initiatives, Donovan said. From leveraging its award to provide nationwide FirstNet services by adding on residential and commercial products to generating new offerings from 5G's low-latency capabilities, AT&T expects its infrastructure deployments in everything from fiber to Gfast to wireless loop to start paying off this year, he said. (See AT&T Goes Full Speed Ahead on Fiber .)
"The 5G network is a game-changer and it's a game-changer in subtle ways. The network is going to be fast and economical and is going to have low latency," he said. "Its low latency is its unique characteristic. It'll change the game... as far as what is done in a network versus what is done locally. That real-time network affords you a lot of opportunities. Personally, I think it's the most exciting technology that's unfolded in my career."
Soft spot for SDN
Part of AT&T's capex plan also focuses on further fine-tuning software-defined networks for internal and enterprise use and as another foundation for 5G. While many were initially skeptical of this initiative, Donovan showed almost paternal pride in the program's success -- especially that 60% of international wireless carriers have committed to adopt AT&T's SDN platform, he said.
"[SDN has] always been kind of my favorite thing because before this job, that's what I used to do," Donovan recalled. "The software-defined networking has been extremely effective. I know in the beginning there was a lot of skepticism, saying 'can you do for networking what iOS and Android did for mobile phones,' which is to build an operating system that allows you to be very creative on top and very low-cost on the bottom with hardware and I think a lot of folks had on the too-hard-to-do list."
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We will explore several fiber network environments, common vulnerabilities, and the business impact of failures. Fiber networks are typically a combination of owned and leased fiber. Learn how to reduce MTTR by up to 60% when an event occurs and how to detect degradation before it generates a service impact. Fiber monitoring of leased fiber helps ensure that the responsible party is dispatched for repair and SLAs can be managed. We will discuss both in service and out of service monitoring. Learn about the opportunities to improve business results in the following environments:
Hyperscale datacenters- the business need for near 100% uptime
5G small cell combined with leased fiber - ensuring the SLA for leased fiber
Long haul and Metro dark and lit fiber monitoring - reducing MTTR and preventing damage
FTTX construction and service activation in the access or MSO network - accelerating time to revenue
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.