Is AT&T’s Akamai-Killing Content Delivery Business Vaporware?


Five months ago, AT&T (T) told Wall Street that one of their big growth pushes for 2008 would be their content delivery business: Competing with companies like Akamai Technologies (AKAM) and Limelight Networks (LLNW) to push media companies’ video streams, large files, and photo libraries across the Web.

So… where is AT&T’s content delivery network (CDN) business?

Update: Industry analyst Dan Rayburn answers some of our questions in the comments below and in a post on his blog, which we’ve summarized.

From Light Reading’s “AT&T Prepares CDN Push,” dated Dec. 12, 2007:

During the company’s analyst day [Dec. 11, 2007], Ron Spears, AT&T’s group president of global business services, said the carrier would increase its focus on businesses adjacent to its core networking capabilities, including content distribution. AT&T already offers streaming and caching services, Spears said. But he added that AT&T is “now focused on rapidly expanding capacity” so it can better snare customers in the content delivery network (CDN) space… “In very short order, we will have the ability and all of the asset capacity necessary to optimally deliver and host content in the needed formats with the superior quality of service that our customers demand,” Spears said.

Rollouts like those take time. But we figured that five months in, AT&T should have something to show for it. So we looked around for press releases in which AT&T boasted that it had signed a large media company away from “the industry-leading CDN” … or something along those lines. We weren’t able to find anything like that.

So we asked some CDN industry insiders if they’d heard anyone choosing AT&T over another CDN, or if they were having to compete with AT&T in the market. “Never,” they told us. (One “client” we know of: Our former employer,, which has sported a “Powered by AT&T Intelligent Content Distribution System” badge on its homepage footer for years. But that’s the only place we’ve ever seen it.)

So is AT&T serious about getting into the CDN business? Are they just taking their time? Is this thing vaporware? If you’re in the streaming industry, and you’ve got some ideas, let us know in the comments below, by email to [email protected], or via our anonymous tip box.

See Also:
Limelight Networks Feeling Pricing Pressure, Q1 Misses
Revelation: Akamai “Not Completely Immune” To Crappy Economy

Disclosure: Panther Express, a content delivery network, is one of SAI’s sister companies.