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AT&T to Invest $1B Worldwide For Expansion

Top U.S. phone company AT&T (NYSE:T) will invest $1 billion worldwide this year to build four undersea cables and to expand its network services, senior officials said on Wednesday.

The bulk of this investment will be outside the United States, where AT&T in 2007 spent $750 million of its total investment of about $18 billion, Greg Brutus, a spokesman for AT&T in the Asia Pacific region, said.

The undersea cables will be to Japan and the rest of Asia, AT&T India Chairman V.S. Gopi Gopinath said at a media roundtable.

AT&T would also build nodes or switches to route network traffic in Europe, Asia and the United States.

The company will initially offer virtual private local area networks over Ethernet in 14 cities in Europe and Asia and will have a presence in 29 countries by the end of the year, AT&T said in a statement.

Ethernet is a family of frame-based computer networking technologies used for local area networks.

AT&T will also build a datacenter in the Indian software hub of Bangalore by December, Gopinath said.

He declined to give a forecast about revenue from India or the Asia Pacific operations for 2008.

In 2007, Asia Pacific revenue that included India grew 22 percent from a year earlier, making it the fastest-growing region for AT&T, Gopinath said.

Revenue from India, which is now a separate region, grew by 85 percent in 2007, he said.