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September 15, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 7:54pm

US WEST DROPS ISDL PLANS, DROPS ASCEND, SIGNS NEW $300M DEAL

By CBR Staff Writer

US West Communications Group Inc has mysteriously abandoned plans for a 14-state high-speed ISDL ISDN Digital Subscriber Line network and has dumped Ascend Communications as a supplier. At the same time, it has signed a contract worth at least $300m with Next Level Communications, for the hardware to create a broadband multimedia Digital Subscriber Line network. The agreement is for the installation and hardware to serve a network of over 450,000 lines. US West would not reveal its plans – including the speed of the network – or any financial details. In January, wholly- owned US West subsidiary, !nterprise Networking Services announced a contract with Ascend communications Inc, PairGain Technologies Inc and Cisco Systems Inc to supply both an HDSL network, which transfers data at 1.5Mbps per second; and also an IDSL system – which Ascend has been promoting as an alternative to ISDN because telcos don’t have to modify old analog exchanges. Now the IDSL plans which would transfer data at 128Kbps, have been shelved and Ascend dropped as a supplier, because US West claims there was a lack of consumer interest in IDSL. While US West is tight-lipped about the new contract, the size of the deal has forced Next Level to reveal some of the contract details due to US Security and Exchange Commission regulations. Industry Consultant Ovum’s senior analyst for voice and data networks, John Matthews, estimates the deal to be worth between $300m and $400m dollars. The Next Level deal also includes customer equipment, central office equipment, multiplexors, and other switching equipment, as well as systems integration, engineering, and servicing of the network. Rohnert Park, California-based Next Level, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NextLevel Systems Inc.

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