What infrastructure piece doesn’t the combined company of AT&T and Time Warner need to own? We know the answer to that question now: colocation. AT&T announced late last week that it is selling its data center assets to Brookfield Infrastructure.
Brookfield will continue to operate the assets and AT&T will be leasing and reselling from them, so not much will change immediately on the ground. The two describe it as a strategic alliance, and it covers 31 data centers, 18 of which lie within the US and 13 elsewhere around the world. AT&T will of course have its hands full integrating Time Warner and its other assets into a coherent operation, so a bit of simplification is entirely understandable.
Thus AT&T becomes the latest major US telecom operator to separate itself from the actual colo business. Verizon sold its facilities to Equinix over a year ago, and Windstream unloaded its to TierPoint, and CenturyLink spun off its to what is now Cyxtera — although now it owns the Level 3 footprint too. Carrier neutral colo and self builds by the webscale guys have long been where the action is, and network players haven’t traditionally found the sector easy to crack — except perhaps for interconnection-focused data center players like Zayo’s zColo.
Brookfield will be paying $1.1B for the assets, which AT&T will use to pay off debt. Just where Brookfield will take the assets is an open question. I don’t have a lot of information about the actual data centers, but perhaps when we learn what Brookfield rebrands AT&T’s colo business as they will tell us a bit more.
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