Fixed-line operator Neotel has been awarded a Cisco-powered designated metro ethernet offering, based on the Cisco Internet Protocol Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) architecture.

Neotel was the first telecommunication provider in South Africa to be awarded this offering, which would assist with the growing business need for converged services and broadband offerings.

Neotel’s Metro Ethernet service, which was launched last year, was already used by a number of the company’s enterprise clients.

Neotel said that its participation in the Cisco powered programme, helped ensure that it has the equipment, staff, and processes in place to provide high-quality IP services. Cisco powered service designations were granted on a per-service basis, and included a yearly assessment of programme members to help them maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.

The services that could be enabled with the Cisco Metro Ethernet aggregation platform, on which Neotel’s network was based, included voice and data. These services would eventually be extended to include IPTV, video on demand, gaming, digital media, broadcast capability and services which directly address the specialised needs of consumers and business customers such as e-learning and tele-health consulting.

“We strongly believe that collaborating with Neotel will maximise their ability to grow their business, improve productivity, create cost savings and support a positive return on investment,” commented Cisco South Africa MD Steve Midgley.

“This project and its service offerings will demonstrate to the world that South Africa is capable of delivering the true broadband connectivity and more importantly the relevant value added services vital for business, consumers and government,” he added.

“The telecommunications industry is investing substantially in transforming or building networks to revolutionise the power of convergence,” said Neotel CEO Ajay Pandey.

Entry into the Cisco-powered programme required thorough technical design validations, certification that the underlying network is not only designed, but also deployed according to the Cisco best practice worldwide.

Service providers were deploying Metro Ethernet Carrier Networks to provide converged services with the capability to scale to higher capacities from a single last mile. This meant that capacity could be scaled with very little effort from the service provider and in much quicker turnaround times. Ethernet also provided much higher bandwidth than that which South African companies have been limited to.

“We believe the Cisco-powered programme membership will ensure that Neotel service offerings, whether a single service or a portfolio of services, are being delivered over a network based on Cisco technology – an attribute inherently associated with security, compatibility, reliability, quality and performance,” Pandey concluded.