News Release

Cincinnati Bell Teams with Cisco to Launch ZoomTownSM Interactive, Online Community Enabled by DSL

Service Provider is First to Offer On-Demand, Easy Access to
Nov 05, 1998

Service Provider is First to Offer On-Demand, Easy Access to High-Bandwidth Content from Multiple Vendors

CINCINNATI, OH -- November 5, 1998 -- Just two weeks after the mass-market launch of its high-bandwidth Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) services, Cincinnati Bell today introduced ZoomTown, an online "community" that provides customers, via a PC interface, access to a suite of new services enabled by the technology. Using end-to-end DSL equipment from Cisco Systems, Cincinnati Bell is the first service provider to commercially launch an interface that offers on-demand, point-and-click accessibility, to multiple services.

Until now, DSL service deployments have limited consumers and telecommuters to a single point-to-point connection. Consumers have had to choose between connections to either an ISP or virtual private networks. ZoomTown subscribers can connect to more than one service at the same time, so there is no need to log off of one service before connecting to another.

"ZoomTown will personalize the online experience in a way that has never been done before," said Richard G. Ellenberger, president and CEO, Cincinnati Bell Telephone. "Until now, experiences with the Internet have been time-consuming. ZoomTown subscribers will save time, money and energy by performing daily tasks - such as shopping, banking, and contacting their doctor - online, at speeds never thought possible. Even more exciting are the possibilities and applications that haven't even been invented yet."

The ZoomTown Experience

Many current online applications are often frustrating for consumers due to bandwidth constraints according to Denis Beausejour, vice president - advertising, worldwide at The Procter & Gamble Company who recently hosted FAST Summit, a forum bringing together some of the nation's largest advertisers as well as leading interactive applications developers.

"At FAST Summit, we discussed how limitations, such as narrow bandwidth, can constrain the richness and depth of communications," said Beausejour. "I believe Cincinnati Bell's ZoomTown helps to solve the bandwidth issue and provides new and exciting ways to bring interactive initiatives to life. We see the tremendous potential ZoomTown has for improving consumer satisfaction and creating new value."

With today's ZoomTown launch, Cincinnati Bell is offering subscribers access to multiple service connections such as the Internet, online gaming sites and fast online data back-ups for protection in case of hard disk failure. Soon, ZoomTown residents will be able to telecommute via their corporate network, connect to multiple private networks and personalize news, sports and financial information.

"Cincinnati steps into the Telecosmic future and the homes of the city burst into blossoms of multimedia," said George Gilder, president, Gilder Technology Group.

Dozens of organizations doing business in Cincinnati have committed to building "store fronts" on ZoomTown, including: banks, medical institutions, colleges, insurance agencies, homebuilding businesses, media outlets, entertainment and sports organizations. Businesses located on ZoomTown will incorporate applications such as interactive, real-time video, person-to-person customer service, eCommerce, Internet telephony, and digital identification for secure transfers and more.

"The new ZoomTown technology will give us the capability of enhancing the connectivity that we have with our fans," said Douglas Kirchhofer, president and CEO, Cincinnati Cyclones and The Crown. "We hope to be able to explore new Internet possibilities and share portions of our games on our site. We hope to take the whole 'chat room' concept to a new level by introducing video into the interaction between fans and players."

The Teaming of Cincinnati Bell and Cisco

Cincinnati Bell is using a cutting-edge combination of end-to-end DSL networking equipment manufactured by Cisco to deploy ZoomTown services. The carrier installed central office equipment that includes the Cisco 6100 series advanced DSL access multiplexer, the Cisco 6510 Service Selection Gateway (SSG), and Cisco 7000 series terminating units. The Cisco 675 SOHO/telecommuter router is being used to connect Cincinnati Bell customers to the service.

The Cisco 6510 SSG is the product that enables the ZoomTown interface. The menu of services is created by accessing an HTML web-server application called the Cisco 6510 Dashboard. Cincinnati Bell and Cisco worked together to create the customized ZoomTown version of the dashboard that Cincinnati Bell is deploying.

"Cincinnati Bell has embraced the vision of how data, voice and video willconvert into a single data-based network. As a result of their implementation of this vision, customers will benefit from a broad choice of leading Internet services," said John Chambers, President and CEO of Cisco Systems. "Cincinnati Bell's use of end-to-end Cisco DSL solutions positions them as a leading New World service provider."

Pricing and Installation of Cincinnati Bell's ZoomTown Services

ZoomTown is available immediately to approximately one-third of the residents and businesses in Cincinnati Bell's operating area, including parts of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, where DSL-compatible technology is already in place. Cincinnati Bell will continue to add DSL technology, with a goal of making ZoomTown available to 85 percent of Cincinnati Bell customers by the end of next year. Customers can determine if ZoomTown is available at their home or office by calling 513-566-9666 or visiting Cincinnati Bell's Web site at

In addition, Cincinnati Bell is offering what it believes is the lowest introductory price in the nation for a DSL service at $29.95 per month, plus free installation and modem (a $500 value) for customers who act quickly and subscribe for one year.

DSL service is available at three speeds (compared with a 28.8 Kbps modem):

  • ZoomSpeed - 13x speed for $29.95 per month. (Downstream is 384 Kbps; upstream is 90 Kbps.)
  • TurboZoom - 26x speed for $59.95 per month. (Downstream is 768 Kbps; upstream is 384 Kbps.)
  • HyperZoom - 50x speed for $159.95 per month. (Downstream is 1.5 Mbps; upstream is 768 Kbps.)
There are no additional costs for customers to have access to ZoomTown.

About Cincinnati Bell

Cincinnati Bell is a full-service, integrated communications company that provides competitive local communications as well as data, Internet, entertainment, and directory services to communications customers in the Cincinnati, Ohio, metropolitan area.

Cisco Systems

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

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