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Cisco, C&W Do The IP Boogie

Two tech heavyweights got down to business Wednesday as Cable & Wireless signed a four-year deal with Cisco Systems . Financial terms of the deal were not discussed, but early estimates put the partnership in the range of several billions.

As part of the technical and marketing agreement, Cisco will help Cable & Wireless build its Internet Protocol (IP) network, while London-based C&W will have a hand in a build out of a global Cisco Powered Network (CPN) combined with joint marketing and sales initiatives.

Through its relationship with San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco, Cable & Wireless said it plans to be the first company to provide both fully-managed local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN) components for a single IP platform on a global basis.

The result is expected to be top-level support for the latest advancements in desktop-to-desktop data, video and voice communications.

"With this agreement, Cable & Wireless is taking a leadership position in delivering new and advanced desktop-to-desktop IP solutions that allows businesses to converge data and voice networks in their pursuit of cost savings and increased productivity," said Cable & Wireless Global CEO Don Reed. "By expanding our relationship with Cisco, we are better positioned to utilize Cisco's technology leadership and distribution channels to deliver new IP solutions to the market quickly."

The two companies say they plan to offer services including network-based IP-VPN, IP-LAN and IP-private branch exchange (IP-PBX) targeted towards multinational corporations as well as medium to large-sized businesses.

The solutions would be delivered over a privately managed Cable & Wireless Cisco Powered Network (CPN) with Quality of Service (QoS) guarantees, based on the current model in the UK. The services should be ready in the US during the second quarter of 2002 and in Europe and Japan later in 2002.

To support the new initiative, Cable & Wireless said it would install a multi-protocol label switching (MPLS)-based IP-VPN using Cisco equipment and technology, including Cisco 12000 and 10000 Series Internet Routers, Cisco 7500, 7200 and 3600 Series Routers and Catalyst 6500 Routers in addition to a bag load of other Cisco products.

"This agreement allows Cisco to deliver customized, differentiated solutions for Cable & Wireless' end-user customers. The goal is to provide them with complete network technology and support, saving them time and resources while freeing them to focus on their core business and operations," said Cisco senior vice president of Worldwide Service Provider Operations Bill Nuti. "Focusing on IP data and voice convergence solutions helps customers using these services become more competitive. Additionally, because this is a private, dedicated MPLS network, C&W can offer customers specific guarantees for individual applications, such as data, voice and video."