"AT&T is absolutely behind," says an executive with a rival ISP that is marketing its IPv6 offerings to AT&T's business customers to lure them away from the carrier. "This is a major, major problem for the U.S. government. If I were at the [General Services Administration] or the [Office of Management and Budget], I would turn around and say to the five Networx entities: You need to buck up and do the IPv6 work. Verizon is doing good stuff. Sprint is doing good stuff. We see that Level 3 is doing real stuff. Qwest at least has their marketing act together…I'd love to think that AT&T is doing something with IPv6 in stealth mode, but my experience has told me otherwise.''
Low profile on IPv6
AT&T is taking a lower profile regarding IPv6 than rivals such as Comcast and Verizon, both of whom have announced public trials of IPv6 and regularly update the press, standards bodies and network industry groups about the status of these trials.
AT&T was conspicuous in its absence at a National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) workshop on IPv6 that was held in Washington, D.C. in September. Representatives of Comcast and Verizon spoke on the NTIA's industry panel, along with leading content delivery network Akamai and video giant Google.
The same week, AT&T also went missing at a cable industry event in New York City focused on IPv6 deployment.
AT&T executives acknowledge they haven't been talking about IPv6 as much as rival carriers, but they insist they will be ready with robust IPv6 service when IPv4 address depletion occurs.
"We've really timed our work efforts around" IPv4 address depletion, says Brooks Fitzsimmons, assistant vice president of IPv6 transition at AT&T. "Is AT&T stirring demand for IPv6? No. Are we making sure we are prepared for the demand? Yes."
AT&T has IPv6 offerings for enterprise customers, but it won't say how many IPv6 customers it has or who they are.
AT&T offers dual stack VPN and managed Internet access services on its Multi-Protocol Label Service (MPLS) backbone that are IPv6 capable. AT&T says it plans to support IPv6 on its mobile network, too.
AT&T also offers consulting services to help enterprises upgrade network hardware, software and applications to support the new addressing scheme.