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Cisco Deal Boosts MDU Strategy

Cisco Systems Inc. said it agreed to buy the broadband subscriber-management software business of CAIS Internet Inc. subsidiary CAIS Soft Solutions for roughly $170 million in stock.

The deal, which supplements Cisco's line of broadband gear targeted to hotels, apartments, airports and office buildings, is expected to close in the second quarter of the company's fiscal 2001.

With CAIS, Cisco gains access to a suite of software designed to ease the provisioning and management of high-speed data services for multiple-unit buildings. Cisco plans to marry that software, dubbed the "IPORT Broadband Provisioning System," with its existing line of in-building digital subscriber line, Ethernet, cable and wireless network systems.

The addition of a provisioning system will help Cisco to more aggressively tackle the MDU market with its line of broadband-networking equipment, said director of new-market development David Schwartz.

"Subscriber management was a critical component that we wanted to bring in-house," he said. "We're taking an even harder focus [on the multiple-unit market]."

Schwartz said Cisco is adding components to its MDU solution, and provisioning is the latest piece. He said Cisco's MDU plans would ramp up quickly as it moves into next year.