Cisco, HP go after ISP business

In a bid for ISP dollars, the duo will detail plans to bring "telephone-class" systems and services to Internet protocol networks.

In a high-profile bid for service provider dollars, Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard will today detail technology advancements intended to bring "telephone-class" support systems and services to networks based on the Internet protocol, the dominant means to send information on the Net.

Earlier this year, the two companies announced plans to offer technologies rolled into something called the Internet Usage Platform, which aims to extend Cisco's data expertise to "zero downtime" voice services. A morning press conference featuring Cisco chief executive John Chambers and HP chief executive Lou Platt will elaborate on these plans.

A combination of Cisco networking software and HP telecommunications software now allows a service provider to obtain a wealth of data about subscribers, according to the companies. That information can then be used to offer other services to customers.

The two firms will reportedly expand on that capability to deliver hardware and services that cater to networks designed for combined voice and data use. MCI Worldcom has been among the first to test the Cisco-HP technology combination.

Cisco's relationship with HP is among a select few high-priority partnerships the company has developed in recent years, deals in an area that chief executive John Chambers sees as necessary to remain competitive. Other priorities include a directory services and multimedia pact between the networking company and Microsoft.