PARIS & ITU TELECOM WORLD, December 4, 2006 - Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) today announced that Free, the leading triple-play over broadband operator in Europe, has chosen the industry-leading Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System, the core component of the Cisco IP Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) architecture, for a major network transformation to deliver IPTV, "any play" and ultra-high-speed broadband services to customers throughout France.
Michaël Boukobza, chief executive officer of Free's parent company, Iliad, said: "The success of our business comes from our ability to be a leader with each new wave of consumer services that technology makes possible. With the Cisco IP NGN, we are not only able to deliver our next wave of high-definition IPTV services, but we're also building the future foundations to support even higher traffic volumes as we push the boundaries with 'virtually limitless' bandwidth through our new fiber network."
The Cisco CRS-1 16-slot system, configured to provide 1.2 terabits per second (Tbps) of throughput capacity, has been deployed successfully at the core of Free's network to support the significant growth in Internet traffic from the recent introduction of advanced services such as HD IPTV and video-on-demand. The network transformation project is designed for future growth as Free plans to extend its reach and significantly increase bandwidth with the growth in the number of users and with the roll out of optical fiber networks using fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) technology. Free currently has today more than 2 million broadband subscribers and 1,260,000 TV-enabled users (as of June 30, 2006).
Tony Bates, senior vice president and general manager of the Service Provider Routing Technology Group at Cisco said: "Free continues to impress the industry with its financial performance and record subscriber growth. With the ability to upgrade and upscale the CRS-1 Carrier Routing System without disruption to service, Free can maintain its excellent reputation for quality of experience while continuing to bring on new customers and new services."
Free is a subsidiary of Iliad. The Iliad Group is a major player in the Internet and telecommunications markets in France through its subsidiaries Free (the leading alternative broadband operator with 2,076,000 broadband subscribers as at 30/09/2006), Onetel and Iliad Telecom (fixed telephony operators) and Kertel (prepaid phone cards), as well as IFW (WiMax). The Iliad Group was established in 1991 and currently has more than 1 500 employees. The Iliad Group is listed on the Euronext Paris Eurolist under the mnemonic code ILD.