MILAN, ITALY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 19, 2007 -- Cisco® (NASDAQ: CSCO) today announced that the Italian Province of Brescia will use an outdoor wireless solution based on mesh technology to deliver wireless broadband connectivity and Internet Protocol (IP) services to its rural communities. The goal is to help stimulate economic growth and bridge the growing digital divide throughout the region. The solution will help the province deliver broadband Internet to local government organisations, citizens and businesses.

The Province of Brescia will use a Cisco Outdoor Wireless solution to deliver a variety of online services to the municipalities of the region, ranging from simple Internet access for citizens to electronic procurement and online applications for businesses. The Cisco Outdoor Wireless solutions, which include a broad range of wireless devices and centralized management and security components, will help the province achieve its vision of being able to deliver a wide variety of IP services over a single converged network. The new network will help Brescia grow the services sector of its economy and help improve the quality of life for citizens by providing them with access to online services and mobile applications.

"The province of Brescia has a rich manufacturing and agricultural tradition, but recently there has been a move towards a more service-orientated business model," said Raffaele Gareri, chief information officer, Province of Brescia. "Attempts by companies to grow their service offerings have been restricted by the fact that more than half of the province does not have broadband access. Cisco's mesh technology has provided us with a reliable, scalable and easy-to-deploy solution."

Brescia consists of a large number of disparate communities in a predominantly mountainous region, making it expensive for traditional carriers to wire the region for broadband. Cisco's wireless mesh technology helps Brescia overcome the problem by using Cisco Aironet® 1500 Series mesh access points, which build a flexible wireless infrastructure and helps reduce dependency on a wired network. The mesh deployment is expected to deliver broadband services to 120 towns, with plans to extend the service to 210 towns during phase two of the project.

The need to deliver broadband Internet access to these rural towns at the same time as providing connectivity for businesses spurred the province to develop a public-private partnership. The network is managed by a private telecommunications company, but owned by the local public administration.

"We are increasingly seeing rural and suburban governments invest in wireless technology to deliver online services to local businesses," said Richard Roberts, director of wireless business development at Cisco. "In addition to the positive impact on the local economy, regions such as Brescia, Singapore and Silicon Valley are harnessing the power of wireless technology to achieve a variety of goals, from improving public safety to delivering online portals to tourists."

"If we look at the bigger picture and the impact of this technology on the region, it is intrinsically linked to the growth of the economy and the social inclusion of people who live in the province. We also believe that through the public and private partnership we will see significant economic gains. We estimate that our initial investment of EUR 2 million could deliver a positive financial return of EUR 139 million within six years," Gareri said.

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