Cisco & UNDP to offer Net education in Asia-Pacific

CISCO Systems Inc and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said on Thursday they had formed a partnership to bring Internet education to students from developing countries in the Asia-Pacific.

Under the alliance, the world’s largest networking equipment maker and the UNDP’s Asia Pacific Development Information Programme would jointly fund and set up 10 Cisco Networking Academies in nine developing countries.

The project would provide training in information technology. Students from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka would be taught to design, build, maintain and troubleshoot computer networks.

Phillips Young, resident coordinator of the UN System’s Operational Activities for Development in Malaysia, told a news conference the project would help the countries “through capacity building and through assisting them to alleviate poverty.”

He said East Asia, which had 22 per cent of the world’s population, made up only 0.4 per cent of its Internet users. Richard Freemantle, senior vice-president of Asia-Pacific Cisco Systems, said the 10-year partnership was a non-profit educational initiative. He declined to give a figure for the amount of money the company was investing in the venture but said it was a “very significant” amount in dollar terms. “It’s far more important to look at the investments that we make in terms of the focus that management keeps rather than the dollars that are attributed to it,” he added. In another development, Cisco has agreed to buy Cerent Corp and Monterey Networks Inc for a combined $7.36bn in stock, according to people familiar with the situation.

The deals represent one of Cisco’s most aggressive moves yet into the hot market for optical networking, which uses fibre-optic cables to transmit data, voice and video across both phone and data networks. They also should, analysts said, turn up the heat on competitors like telephone equipment suppliers such as Lucent Technologies Inc and Nortel Networks. Cerent’s only product, the Cerent 54, is a box the size of a microwave oven that sits between the fibre-optic cable and routers or cable systems or other devices. Using sophisticated software, it organises and compresses the data — whether voice, data or video — and vastly increases the size of the pipe through which that information is sent. It also lets Internet service providers change the effective size of the data pipe, known as bandwidth, almost on the fly. Service providers such as PSINet, a Cerent customer, could then allocate bandwidth in a matter of minutes rather than the several days now required, these people said

Source: The Economic Times. August 27, 1999.