This article proposes a hybrid approach based on Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) and Simulated Annealing (SA), called ACO_SA, for the design of communication networks. The design problem is to find the optimal network topology for which the total cost is a minimum and the all-terminal reliability is not less than a given level of reliability. The proposed ACO_SA has the advantages of the ability to find higher performance solutions, created by the ACO, and the ability to jump out of local minima to find better solutions, created by the SA. The effectiveness of ACO_SA is investigated by comparing its results with those obtained by individual application of SA and ACO, which are basic forms of ACO_SA, two different genetic algorithms and a probabilistic solution discovery algorithm given in the literature for the design problem. Computational results show that ACO_SA has a better performance than its basic forms and the investigated heuristic approaches.