AT&T Tech Support 360SM an affordable IT virtual helpdesk that provides live, permission-based remote technical service for businesses, is expected to support Intel vProTM technology starting in the first half of 2010.

“We expect that our new preferred relationship with Intel will enable better, real-time technical support for small businesses," said Ebrahim Keshavarz, vice president of Business Development for AT&T.

More than 100,000 small businesses have purchased Tech Support 360 service since its launch last fall in the United States. AT&T will be the first U.S. service provider in the telecom industry to offer remote access support services built on Intel vProTM technology.

Tech Support 360 provides remote 24/7 support by U.S.-based technicians and includes setup, configuration, troubleshooting and performance optimization for PCs, laptops, Wi-Fi networks and peripheral network devices, as well as smartphone setup and configuration.

Technicians troubleshoot computer hardware and software problems by remotely connecting to and accessing customer computers, diagnosing the problem and taking corrective action. Customers can get service by booking appointments by phone or online.

When compared to smaller businesses paying for outside IT experts to come on-site or dropping off a PC for off-site service, remote online tech support services, such as AT&T's, offer a more economical and convenient way for them to troubleshoot their desktop and laptop PCs.

Under this collaboration, Intel Remote PC Assist Technology a feature of vProTM technology announced last year, would enable small businesses experiencing PC problems to enter a keystroke sequence on a failed computer – even if its operating system is down – to directly connect the failed PC with technicians over the Internet via an encrypted connection.

The tech support 360 technicians can then address the PC remotely, even when it has become inoperable due to problems such as hardware or operating system failure, or corruption by a virus or malware.

"As a result of the current economic conditions, small businesses are even more focused on controlling costs," said David Tuhy, general manager of Intel Business Client Group.