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Cisco to power Indian Ethernet

VSNL, one of the largest ISPs in India, will use Cisco products to build its metropolitan Ethernet network.

One of India's leading telecommunications providers will use Cisco Systems' equipment to build its new Ethernet-based broadband network.

Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (VSNL) announced on Tuesday that Cisco will supply one of its divisions, Tata Indicom Broadband Services, with equipment to build a metropolitan area Ethernet network. The multiyear contract is worth $110 million (5 billion rupees).

The new network will provide Tata Indicom's business and residential customers with broadband services that range in speed from 10 megabits per second to 100 megabits per second.

Cisco's 12000, 7600 and 7300 series routers and Cisco's Catalyst 3750 and 2950 series switches will be used to build the network. Tata Indicom plans to use Cisco's technology to deliver a "triple play" of bundled services over the Ethernet infrastructure. Specifically, it plans to offer residential customers services such as Internet Protocol telephony, broadcast TV and video-on-demand. It also plans to use the network to deliver business services such as video conferencing and IP virtual private network.

The first phase of Tata Indicom's plan will cover eight cities in India and will be capable of connecting more than a million customers.

Cisco has already made significant inroads with Indian carriers in providing IP equipment to build their long-distance Internet networks. In 2001, VSNL announced it was using Cisco's IP core and edge routers to build its international long-distance network. In April 2004, Cisco announced a deal with Bharti Infotel, a subsidiary of Bharti Tele-Ventures--one of four major telecom providers in India--to be the main equipment supplier for its IP-based multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network.

Now, Cisco is getting into deals to build out local and regional networks.

Ethernet, the predominant technology used in corporate networks, is becoming more popular in service provider networks in India and elsewhere to deliver broadband services. Carriers see Ethernet as the perfect convergence technology, allowing them to easily offer a mix of voice and data traffic over a single network using Internet Protocol.

Metro Ethernet is also expected to save carriers money. Some groups estimate that telephone companies could cut their operating costs by 23 percent annually by using Ethernet services in their metro networks rather than traditional telecommunications services.

Other Indian service providers are also building metro Ethernet networks. Reliance Infocomm, which has built a national Internet backbone using mostly Nortel Networks products, has also laid thousands of miles of fiber in India's major cities and built out metro Ethernet networks.