Georgia outsources management of its network to AT&T

Georgia has signed a US$346 million contract to become the first state to outsource the entire management of its IP and voice network to .

Under the terms of the agreement, Georgia will let AT&T manage its WAN, and voice services over the next five years across all of its government agencies. Jeannie Gustafson, a regional vice president of sales for AT&T, says that this agreement with Georgia is the first time an entire state has signed on with the carrier's full package of comprehensive network management services. AT&T has in the past signed similar contracts with major corporations such as and , however.

"This is not new territory for us because we've also provided a lot of services for Georgia in the past," she says. "The state has traditionally tried to manage a lot of this technology on its own and they decided to outsource it to us when they found they had a lot of duplicative efforts to what AT&T was already doing."

Jeff Collins, a technology sales manager at AT&T, says that the carrier will be responsible for helping Georgia transition away from its legacy technology and toward more IP-based technology.

"The state has legacy PBX voice platforms that at some point in the future will move to platforms," he says. "Our goal will be the have consistent platforms in the entire state, so that service will be ubiquitous and delivered in the same manner around the state."

Collins says that the biggest challenge in managing a statewide government network versus a private company network will be taking stock of all the state's legacy technology and determining which technology is still useful and which is obsolete. The eventual goal of the contract, AT&T says, is to upgrade all of Georgia's voice and Internet systems and to give the state "a sustainable network model that stays current over time."