News Release

AcNet and Cisco Work Together to Bring Advanced Networking Services to Texas and Mexico

With a Cisco Powered Network, AcNet and ESCONET Empower Texas Schools with Internet Connectivity
Jan 09, 1998

MC ALLEN, Texas - January 9, 1998 - Ashton Communications Corporation, provider of the AcNet network, and Cisco Systems, Inc., the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, today announced that they are combining efforts to offer advanced end-to-end networking solutions.

With a Cisco Powered Network, AcNet will provide reliable, secure and high-performance Internet and data services to its customers in Texas and Mexico. AcNet is the largest Internet bandwidth provider in Mexico, and some of the largest companies in the country use its services, including PEMEX (National Oil Company), Banco Santander Mexicano and KPMG. The relationship highlights AcNet's and Cisco's focus on using intelligent broadband IP, Frame Relay and Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) networking to deliver the industry's leading network-based applications.

AcNet and Cisco also have teamed as the key suppliers to ESCONET, the Region One Education Service Center wide-area network initiative that supplies Texas K-12 schools with advanced networking capabilities. ESCONET currently offers services to 30 percent of Texas schoolchildren through six of 20 educational service centers that are members of ESCONET. With an infrastructure the covers the majority of the state, the network provides Internet dialup access capabilities from school and home; videoconferencing capabilities for distance learning; and high-speed networking services for communication among schools. Today, President Clinton is visiting Mission High School in Mission, Texas, where the CISD technology department will demonstrate the benefits this network brings to the educational environment.

"Cisco shares our vision that the IP network is the foundation for delivering intelligent business solutions, providing our customers with strategic competitive advantages," said Cesar Nava, senior vice president of Ashton Communications Corporation. "By working with Cisco, we can reassure our customers that the data services we offer lead the industry in reliability, performance and innovation."

As a carrier, AcNet uses Cisco equipment and software to provide its customers with ATM-based services for private networking, as well as high-bandwidth Internet, dialup and dedicated access services. Its flagship product, AcOne, provides turnkey multiservice private network services including customer premise equipment (CPE) datalinks, Internet access and secure firewall functionality. AcOne customers typically use it to link multiple branch offices and to receive high-end networking capabilities including voice, data and video.

The AcNet network employs over 70 Cisco routers, including the Cisco 7500; Cisco dial-up servers including the AS5300 and AS5200; and the Cisco 3600 series in over 47 cities; and StrataView Plus® and CiscoWorks software to manage the network. AcNet deploys the Cisco BPX® switch and the Cisco AXIS access concentrator throughout its ATM infrastructure.

"Enterprise customers worldwide have selected quality networking and Internet solutions from Cisco," said Don Listwin, senior vice president of Cisco's Service Provider Line of Business. "AcNet's relationships with Cisco will enable customers to feel confident that their service provider will deliver a high level of network interoperability and performance, as well as new, advanced and differentiated services."

In the Cisco Powered Network Program, AcNet will provide services based predominantly on Cisco equipment and software. AcNet's participation in the program - including use of the Cisco Powered Network logo to brand its services and marketing support materials - demonstrates AcNet's ability to provide innovative services and industry-leading technology solutions. Nearly 40 service providers in 10 countries have qualified for Cisco Powered Network status.

About AcNet/Ashton Communications Corporation

Established in 1994, Ashton Communications Corporation is the premiere supplier of networking services to Texas and Mexico via its network, AcNet. AcNet offers high-end networking services, including ATM-based services for private networking, as well as high-bandwidth Internet, dialup and dedicated access services. Ashton Communications Corporation is a member of The Ashton Group, a systems integration and telecommunications service provider since 1981.

Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) is theworldwide leader in networking for the Internet. News and information areavailable at

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