Ina Fried

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AT&T Scales Up Its Content Delivery Ambitions

AT&T has been in the content delivery business, broadly speaking, for a long time. Even when one refers to the nerdy niche business of “content delivery networks,” AT&T has still been doing that for quite a while.

But now the carrier is apparently getting serious. Ma Bell is announcing an initiative on Wednesday to greatly expand the services it offers in this area.

AT&T is hoping to take on folks like Akamai and Limelight Networks by offering what it claims will be a combination of faster speeds and lower prices.

“Our CDN (Content Delivery Network) technology not only delivers videos and other attention grabbers at lightning speed, but it delivers them efficiently and at low cost,” AT&T Assistant Vice President Sam Farraj said in a statement. AT&T said the new and improved CDN service should be available for customers by the third quarter of this year.

It’s part of a broader effort by the company to get into all those “cloud services” we hear about these days.

For now, the company is driving the service from its 38 Internet data centers around the world, though it plans to push content even closer to the customer in the coming years — potentially locating the files in smaller facilities, such as the central offices used to feed data and telephone traffic to homes.

AT&T has an incentive to do this beyond just making money from the CDN business. Bringing content closer to customers could also cut down on the amount of traffic being carried on its networks.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work