News Release

US Signal Selects Cisco Optical Networking Solutions to Light its 2,500-Mile Fiber Optic Network

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, December 11, 2001 - US Signal today
Dec 11, 2001

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, December 11, 2001 - US Signal today announced it has selected Cisco Systems, Inc. as its exclusive provider of optical networking equipment to light its established 2,500-mile dark fiber network. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based fiber optics solutions provider will utilize Cisco's market leading metro and metro edge optical transport platforms to light the Midwest's largest dark fiber network. US Signal's network is comprised of 500 route miles of metro rings around 14 high-growth tier one, two and three markets, and nearly 2,000 route miles of long-haul dark fiber connecting the metro rings.

"Cisco is the industry leader in state-of-the art optical networking equipment, making them the optimal choice to help us light our network," said Barry Raterink, president and CEO of US Signal. "By applying Cisco's proven technology to our completed network, we will be well positioned to offer highly cost-competitive, robust connectivity in the underserved tier two and tier three markets across the Midwest."

US Signal will deploy products from the Cisco Complete Optical Multiservice Edge and Transport (COMET) portfolio to light its network. The Cisco COMET product line offers maximum service velocity, density, variety, and capacity, building the foundation to accelerate IP+Optical networking. Products selected by US Signal for its metro deployments include:

  • The market leading ONS 15454 Metro Optical Transport Platform allows US Signal to maximize service density with scalable SONET transport from DS-1 to OC-192, integrated optical networking, and the industry's most extensive range of voice, video and data services.
  • The ONS 15327 Metro Edge Optical Transport Platform extends US Signal's advanced optical transport network to the metro edge and speeds deployment of new high-value services for a broader reach.
  • The ONS 15216 Metro DWDM line supercharges wavelength services, allowing US Signal to deliver more services per wavelength and more wavelengths per fiber to achieve radical economics.
  • The Cisco Transport Manager is the single integrated optical element management system of Cisco's ONS 15000 series optical networking systems. With inherent support for SONET, SDH, DWDM, IP and Ethernet, along with open interfaces to operations support systems and a proven record of reliability and scalability, CTM delivers the full power of Cisco's wide range of advanced optical systems to today's network operators.

"We are pleased US Signal has chosen our market-leading optical transport and DWDM products to extend multiservice flexibility and service capacity of their metro networks while creating operational efficiency with CTM to rapidly bring fiber optical connectivity to new markets," said Rob Koslowsky, director of marketing, optical networking, Cisco Systems. "US Signal is maximizing service density and capacity to cost-effectively bring high-value services to its customers while creating a flexible fiber optic infrastructure designed to support evolving service demands."

US Signal's fiber network covers the states of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. The Company plans to light its fiber in Michigan in January, allowing customers to be on the network as soon as February. Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin will be lit by the second quarter of 2002.

"Our advantage in the industry is a significant one given that our network is fully constructed and paid for," Raterink said. "Working with Cisco, we will now have an even greater advantage in that we are deploying the best optical networking equipment available with multiservice capabilities. These unique strengths will position US Signal as the partner of choice for regional and national telecom providers in need of end-to-end fiber optic connectivity."

US Signal is a full-service fiber optic solutions provider, providing a wide range of telecommunications solutions to wholesale customers in the Midwest. The Company has built one of the most comprehensive dark fiber optic networks in the Midwest, with 500 route miles in 10 metropolitan cities and nearly 2000 route miles of long-haul connections linking the major markets. As a full-service solutions provider, US Signal offers unlimited high-speed capacity, dark fiber and colocation services, and also works with customers to design, and build new network construction projects.

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