AT&T Arkansas President Says 20,000 Percent Network Traffic Spurs Investment

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 83 views 

AT&T Arkansas President Ed Drilling said his company has invested more than $700 million in Arkansas in the last four years to keep up with an explosion of data-driven traffic.

“Since 2007, the amount of wireless data that travels on our network has gone up by 20,000 percent,” Drilling said on Talk Business Arkansas. “It’s hard to get your head around a number like that when you think about travel on an interstate or an airport, but it’s a huge number driven by the number of smart phones and the increase in applications and devices that we’re seeing now. That continues to grow exponentially.”

Drilling said that roughly 40% of Arkansans have only a wireless device now. The network pressure from that increase isn’t relegated to just Angry Birds or game applications. He cited a number of industry advances – in education, health care, agriculture, and transportation – that have been transformative in terms of technology and efficiency.

“What we’re now seeing and what’s for sure going to be the future is the number of devices and applications that are going to be game-changers for just about any industry or any kind of entity you can describe,” Drilling said.

The $700 million investment is the equivalent of a superproject, Drilling adds. He says the infrastructure upgrades have led to a workforce expansion that now tops 2,200 Arkansas employees.

AT&T has been rolling out its 4G LTE network in communities around the state, but Drilling said it’s not too early to talk about 5G.

“It’s not very many years down the road,” he said.