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Cisco, Qwest Stump For Convergence

Cisco Systems Inc. and Qwest Communications International Inc. want more of the nation's voice and data traffic to move from legacy circuit-switched networks to Internet Protocol networks.

The two on Thursday extended an existing alliance to develop applications and market Internet services for Qwest's high-speed, IP-based network now under construction. Both companies will develop data, voice and image services that will be marketed to consumers and businesses.

Qwest said its recently-announced deals to acquire US West and Frontier Communications will enhance its ability to move traffic off traditional networks to Qwest's backbone.

"We believe the Internet is the future of all communications and will be a competitive advantage for companies who understand this shift and are prepared to move fast," said John Chambers, Cisco's president and chief executive officer.

The partnership will focus on Internet applications such as virtual private networks and unified messaging and optical Internet technologies, Internet voice services.