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Cisco Unveils Universal Broadband Product

Networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. Friday unveiled a new broadband access product that will support integrated data, voice and video.

The product caters to the desire of many cable companies wanting to expand into the telephone market as well as offering high-speed Internet access and television.

The uBR924 Universal Broadband Router, which was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show Friday in Las Vegas, is the first standards-based cable broadband product that will support voice-over-IP and data. It is designed for the small office/home office, telecommuters and educational institutions.

The product is also compatible with the new ITU-J.112 standard that ensures cable modems will function properly on all cable systems.

Cisco said the uBR924 integrates the functionality of a traditional cable modem and a router in a cost-effective device. The product is designed to maximize bandwidth efficiency which should allow cable companies to offer advanced services without burdening their networks.

Paul Bosco, general manager of Cisco's cable products and solutions group, said the product represents a major breakthrough in functionality, security and service quality for broadband access products.

"As part of Cisco's end-to-end data, voice and video strategy, the uBR924 could change the way communications services are delivered to consumers. Consumers using the uBR924 will now be able to get phone service from their cable company, in addition to high-speed Internet access, television and other services."

Testing of the product will start before the end of the first quarter of the year. The router will begin shipping by the middle of the year.

Separately, Cisco announced it would work with a coalition of 33 telephone, cable and Internet providers that have committed to work with Cisco on developing home networks.

It will also work with General Instrument and AT&T Corp. to help the telco offer data, voice and video services over a new hybrid network now being deployed by AT&T and Tele-Communications Inc.

AT&T is currently working to close its $48 billion purchase of TCI.



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