These are interesting times at AT&T. The company’s merger with SBC in November was a $16 billion deal that had “integration nightmare” written all over it, but CTO John Stankey has led the charge to combine the companion networks swiftly into a single infrastructure. “Getting rid of the duplication of two networks was a tremendous undertaking,” he says.
Another huge challenge looms: Project Lightspeed, AT&T’s $4 billion IPTV advanced fiber-optic system, which will offer IP-based home entertainment and video programming plus voice and high-speed Internet service to customers in more than a dozen states.
“Lightspeed affords us the opportunity to break into home entertainment and, in terms of disruptive technologies, do what others have done to us with IP-based technologies,” he says. In part, that means going up against Comcast.
Project Lightspeed is being closely watched by the industry and investors alike. “We’re not creating new physics,” Stankey says, “but we’re taking new technologies and combining them. You have a huge integration challenge: getting leading-edge technologies into a deliverable service.”