SBC Calls on Cisco to Help Build $6B Network

FRAMINGHAM (04/20/2000) - SBC Communications will use Cisco gear in its ATM backbone, and it has named Cisco as its preferred supplier of network hardware for customized services to enterprises.

The agreement announced Wednesday gives Cisco an edge in competing for contracts to supply gear for SBC's US$6 billion Project Pronto, a network overhaul that will bring digital subscriber line (DSL) services to 80% of SBC's customers. The project also calls for an ATM core network to carry voice and data traffic.

As part of the agreement, SBC will buy the Cisco 6400 access concentrator and the 6000 multiplexer for aggregating DSL lines.

The Cisco gear will be installed only in the part of SBC's territory that used to be owned by Ameritech, says Tom McGrath, president of SBC's Data Communications division. SBC already uses Alcatel DSL equipment in California and SBC's traditional territory in the Southwest. SBC has no plans to switch DSL platforms where the Alcatel gear is already in place, McGrath says.

The Cisco 6400 will enable SBC to offer switched DSL, a service that lets customers quickly switch from one ISP to another.

SBC also agreed to use Cisco's BPX and MGX ATM switches for the backbone of a new high-speed packet network that is the core of Project Pronto.

Enterprise customers can expect to see Cisco and SBC salespeople making calls together to fashion custom services. Cisco will help design and install equipment for managed services as well as help maintain those services once they are set up, McGrath says.

The companies would not release the financial terms of the agreement. The relationship also includes identifying services that customers want and jointly figuring out how to support them. In addition, SBC will join Cisco's JumpStart joint marketing program to deliver bundles of services.

The relationship also will allow Cisco resellers to package Cisco gear with SBC services.

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