News Release

Rhythms and Cisco Target Next-Generation Network Development for Remote Workers

Rhythms NetConnections Website ENGLEWOOD, Co. -- October 20,
Oct 20, 1998

ENGLEWOOD, Co. -- October 20, 1998 -- Rhythms NetConnections and Cisco Systems, Inc. today announced a new co-development relationship to rapidly and effectively deliver next-generation network performance for remote workers. Rhythms will implement these performance enhancements over an end-to-end, Cisco powered, DSL-based nationwide network. Rhythms and Cisco have committed engineering teams to complete Rhythms' network integration and implementation of the Cisco 6100 and 6400 devices. These key DSL and ATM/IP architectures will deliver dynamic multi-service selection over DSL.

"Cisco's vision is well-matched to our own," said Catherine Hapka, president and CEO of Rhythms. "There is both opportunity and ability to serve millions of highly distributed workers who need LAN-like connectivity but have only three choices: unsecure dial-up access, expensive and unmanaged frame relay, or unreliable ISDN. Rhythms offers innovative features, fully managed networks, and breakthrough pricing for its DSL-based solutions. By coupling our strengths with Cisco's current and future innovation, we will now ensure feature-rich and rapid delivery of advanced, customer-centric solutions to our markets."

Rhythms' Cisco Powered Network implementation delivers improved functionality and end-to-end security features throughout Rhythms' IP and ATM core network architectures. Rhythms will now more broadly deploy Cisco technology throughout its customer premises and core network architectures. The relationship extends Rhythms' use of Cisco core technology to include Cisco's 675, 6100, 6400, 6510, BPX 8600 and 7000 series carrier-grade routers, multiplexers, access concentrators, switches and terminating units, respectively in Rhythms' fully managed end-user DSL services. In line with Rhythms' and Cisco's commitments to deliver network-embedded applications, new feature sets will occur in the areas of Cisco Directory-Enabled Networking (DEN), integration of voice over IP and dynamic service selection.

"We believe a fundamentally new communications infrastructure is being built today, based on new high-speed local access technology and creative public network features. Rhythms is at the forefront in this area with demonstrated expertise in network engineering and now, through their deployment of the Cisco powered fully managed DSL network. Their strengths will appeal to information-intensive enterprises nationwide. We have high praise for the end-user solutions they are offering, and for Rhythms' unique focus on the support needs of IT managers implementing their networks," said Kevin Kennedy, senior vice president of Cisco's Service Provider Line of Business.

"Rhythms' selection criteria for best-in-class platform partners include both rigorous performance hurdles and high demands for continuous feature enhancement," stated Jim Greenberg, Rhythms' Chief Network Officer. "Factors like maximum scalability, speed, robust customer premises equipment, and the ability to integrate value-added features have set the bar high for any provider under evaluation in our labs. We must also deliver flexible reach to serve 100 percent of business and remote worker sites within the boundaries of our Rhythms-served Central Offices. We are pleased to deliver industry-leading functionality and maximum reach connectivity for customers."

"Rhythms is aggressively building networks for large enterprises with thousands of teleworkers and sizeable embedded Cisco technology infrastructure. It makes good business sense for them to offer these enterprises value-add solutions that leverage this initial equipment investment, " said Amy Sachrison, Senior Analyst at Aberdeen Group.

About Rhythms

Rhythms NetConnections is an Englewood, Colorado-based business rapidly building a nationwide high performance network and currently has sales offices in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and New York. The company provides data networking solutions for business customers by combining high-speed local access with managed local and wide area networks. Rhythms sells directly to enterprise customers and distributes its services through market leading network integrators and Internet Service Providers. Telecommunications services for Rhythms are provided by ACI, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rhythms.

Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) is theworldwide leader in networking for the Internet.

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