SBC Communications Inc. announced Tuesday it will spend between $4 billion to $6 billion over the next five years to build a network capable of high-speed broadband, digital television and voice-over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, technology services to residential and small business customers.
With the announcement, SBC CEO Edward E. Whitacre said the telecom industry is poised for another period of "explosive" growth over the next several years, driven by the development of new technologies and increases in capital spending within the sector.
Whitacre, who made the comments during an appearance at the SuperComm telecommunications conference in Chicago, said SBC and Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft Corp have already started testing a new television service based on the network, which will begin field trials later this year.
Whitacre said those in the telecommunications industry have reason to be optimistic about future business given the pace of new job creation and economic expansion. These factors "will soon enough increase the demand" in the sector, he said.
Whitacre said regulatory issues were becoming less cumbersome and that, at least in the early going, the government has had more of a hands-off role when it comes to the development of new technologies.
"The stage could be set for a regulatory environment that promotes next-generation networks," he said.
The CEO of the San Antonio, Texas-based telecom said he was pleased that the Federal Communications Commission's decision not to unbundle broadband was allowed to stand.