Let it not be said that AT&T (NYSE:T, news, filings) is afraid to get its hands dirty. Today they announced a contract to provide VPN services to Republic Services, which specializes in the collection, transport, disposal, and recycling of waste. That's right, AT&T is going to hook up everything from the dumps (err, sorry I mean landfills) to the corporate offices. They'll be providing voice, data, and video to some 759 sites in a $13.5M three year deal. Republic Services merged with Allied Waste in December, and this contract is part of their integration process.
No, it's not huge for AT&T, but for me it emphasizes the size of the gap between the next generation telecoms and the real titans. First, 759 sites is a heck of a lot, it's an entirely different view of the 'multi-site' contract. Who else has assets that cover that kind of ground? Second, the lack of glamour serves as a reminder that so much of this business is about blocking and tackling. The high profile, cutting edge clients get all the press, but you don't get to be a titan unless you can win this kind of deal too. In this century, modern data services will be needed by companies of all types - even the ones with fleets of garbage trucks.
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