AT&T has teamed up with industry heavyweights Cisco, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Sun to introduce a so-called 'Ecosystem for Application Service Providers'.
The scheme will be based on AT&T's telecoms network and is intended to provide companies that rent out their applications to users with faster, easier Internet access and off-site data storage.
The company plans to set up 26 centres that will form the backbone of the service. Sun will provide capacity planning, applications testing software and its Suntone package, which estimates the effectiveness of hosting specific applications.
The partners will introduce a joint marketing program later this quarter.
Kathleen Early, AT&T's Data and Internet Services president, said: "The network is the environment for business." She added that the telecoms giant planned to invest about $250 million in developing the ASP segment of the Internet market.
The conmpany is building an intelligent content distribution capability into its networks using cacheing and traffic direction technology, which is aimed at speeding the download of Web pages and hosted applications. The firm is also building dynamic storage offerings based on EMC's technology.
Joshua Greenbaum, an analyst with Enterprise Applications Consulting, said: "It makes a lot of sense for AT&T or anyone with capacity. These guys have tremendous capacity that they can leverage this way for this model."
Although the ASP market is still in the early stages, market research firm Dataquest forecasts it will be worth nearly $23 billion by 2003.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago