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AT&T Sees Chipsets Tied to Innovation Speed

Carol Wilson

AT&T's new work with Broadcom is all about speed -- as in speeding up the process of hardware innovation to support the software innovation already underway. (See AT&T Teams with Broadcom on Hardware.)

In an email interview today, Susan Johnson, senior vice president of Global Supply Chain at AT&T, said the Broadcom collaboration is similar to an agreement announced last fall with Intel around chipsets in the data center space and is focused on improving time-to-market.

"Working with chipset providers allows us to guide innovation at the chipset level," Johnson wrote in the email. "That way, we can increase the speed of innovation while also improving cost structures. Additionally, chipset improvements in routing, switching, and high speed access will help meet the increasing capacity demands on our network and improve our overall cost structure. The focus of the relationship is to accelerate the development of features and functions and accelerate the speed to market."

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Generally speaking, hardware has not been the center of much discussion in the overall debate around how to push virtualization faster in the telecom realm. The assumption has always been that hardware would evolve on its commercial timetable, separate of software.

What AT&T is trying to do, Johnson says, is speed up the evolution and make sure it is in line with what the telecom giant needs.

"We’re not implying that COTS is insufficient," she writes. "However, we don’t want to wait for the industry to define the quality, features, and functions our customers need. It’s critical to combine our understanding of customers’ needs with the technology roadmaps of chipset suppliers to deliver the best entertainment and communication experiences."

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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