Citing explosive growth in IP-based data, voice and video traffic worldwide, AT&T confirmed plans Wednesday to spend $1 billion during 2008 to extend its global network reach and capacity to better serve multinational companies with operations in key international markets. The proposed investment represents a 33% surge over AT&T’s enterprise spending last year and is more than double the company’s 2006 outlay. In addition to expanding its global network infrastructure, AT&T intends to use the funds to globalize its business service portfolio and to embed state-of-the-art computing and other technologies into its network so “companies can deliver real-time applications to their customers, suppliers and partners.” Among other things, AT&T is planning for this year (1) the deployment of new submarine fiber optic cable capacity to Japan and Asia, (2) new connections to extend network reach into high-growth markets in Eastern Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, and South America, (3) the expansion of Ethernet network capabilities in the U.S., Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, and (4) the introduction of global IP-based audio conferencing services with dial-in access from more than 140 nations. Observing that “companies worldwide are responding to the exploding need to deliver voice, data, and video in real-time to their end-users,” AT&T Global Business Services President Ron Spears explained: “it is vital that we continue to invest in those geographies and services to meet this demand.”