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Cisco Announces DSL Solution

Cisco Systems Inc., is throwing its hat in the digital subscriber line ring with a product it claims cuts the provisioning process from weeks to days.

The company plans to release the Cisco Order-To-Service solution for use in the fourth quarter 2000, with pricing dependent on the specific provider's network.

The software was conceived from the industry's desperate need to automate the DSL process between telcos, service providers and consumers. Normally a manual process with many steps before the certification was complete, the time to hook up a customer could be measured in weeks and months instead of days.

Deb Milke, Trelliage analyst, said Cisco's solution is the right answer for an industry looking for a viable solution to the provisioning process.

"Provisioning is not a pretty word for service providers today," Milke said. "It's one the main reasons why the can't deploy service for new customers as quickly as possible and meet the huge and growing demand for DSL. This type of solution will be greatly welcomed in the market and will help to ease the nightmare that many service providers have to face with provisioning and reduce the current wait time from several weeks to a few days."

The Order-to-Service solution addresses the four key steps in the provisioning process; DSL order placement, turn-up of the DSL circuit, consumer PC configuration, and database updating and billing. Normally handled separately, the new software makes it more efficient for customer support representatives by providing a work-order interface to complete the process.

Cisco teamed up with four software vendors to provide specific software support for the product solution.

For the DSL loop order placement and loop qualification, Cisco incorporated Quintessent Communications Inc.'s DSLXchange and Turnstone Systems Inc.'s Copper CrossConnect CX100 and Back Office Automation software products.

Broadjump Inc., a popular company with service providers for its splitterless solution, provides the consumer PC configuration with its Virtual Truck Installer.

Wrapping up the process is Portal Software Inc.'s Infranet solution, which collects the information from the customer and puts it into the provider's database.

Steven Sommer, Portal vice president of business development and marketing, said the end result is a product that will create an immediate return on investment for providers, with faster provisioning and therefore, faster subscriber growth.

"The time-consuming process of provisioning a DSL circuit is currently the greatest factor limiting the growth of the DSL market," Sommer said. "Eliminating delays in this delivery cycle is of tremendous value to the entire DSL industry. "