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Cisco part of $28.2 milion expansion of NC's educational broadband network

MCNC, the Raleigh nonprofit that provides high-speed Internet access for educational use, has announced the companies that will be paid in federal stimulus money to build 500 miles of fiber-optic cable in rural areas.

The $28.2 million project will add (or save) about 230 jobs, the nonprofit organization estimates.

Cisco Systems, one of the companies selected, has assembled a strategic unit dedicated to bidding on federal stimulus contracts. The Silicon Valley computer networking giant employs 4,700 workers and contractors in Research Triangle Park.

The other companies selected are Fiber Technologies, Globe Communications, CommScope and Comtech Technical Services. Fiber Tech is based in Houston, Tex., Comtech in Hildebran, CommScope in Hickory and Globe in Durham. The contactors announced today will be paid about $20 million.

The contractors have beens selected to work on Phase I of the project. Phase II, a further broadband expansion, will be paid for with $75.7 million in federal stimulus money.

The current MCNC communications network, which contains about 400 miles of fiber-optic cable, will measure about 3,400 miles when completed in 2013.

MCNC was formed in 1980 by the N.C. General Assembly and provides communications services for public schools, community colleges and universities.

Raleigh judge sentences trio that bilked Cisco Systems out of millions of dollars

A Raleigh judge sentenced three people to prison for masterminding a scheme that defrauded Cisco Systems out of $23 million.

The three were indicted last year and had pled guilty earlier this year to submitting false claims to Cisco to obtain replacement parts for Cisco networking equipment, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

Cisco, the world's biggest maker of Internet and communications networking equipment, employs 4,700 employees and contractors in Research Triangle Park.

Cisco to help link Charlotte office towers to smart grid

Cisco Systems will work with Charlotte corporations including Duke Energy, Bank of America and Wells Fargo to link downtown office towers in the Queen City to a smart grid and cut energy use.

Former president Bill Clinton announced the $5.3 million project in a statement from the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, the Charlotte Observer reported.

The goal is to cut energy use in the buildings by 20 percent in 5 years. Cisco's equipment will monitor real-time energy use and help building managers fine-tune consumption.

Owners of 60 buildings with more than 12 million square feet may take part in the “Envision: Charlotte” initiative.

Cisco plans to pay first dividend

Cisco Systems, one of the Triangle's larger tech employers, plans to start paying a dividend to shareholders before the end of the year, according to Bloomberg News.

The news service said CEO John Chambers made the announcement today at the company's annual analyst conference in San Jose, Calif.

Chambers said the company was considering a dividend yield of 1 percent to 2 percent.

Cisco stock jumped as much as 4.3 percent today. It was trading at $21.70, up 44 cents at 3:30 p.m.

Cisco has about 4,700 employees and contract workers in RTP.

Cisco stock tumbles amid anemic economic forecast

Cisco Systems' stock was headed south in mid-morning trading after the technology company missed analyst expectations for fourth-quarter earnings and financial forecasts.

The Silicon Valley company, with major operations in Research Triangle Park, is considered a measure of the nation's economic health because of its size and market dominance. Cisco is the world's largest maker of routers, switches and other computer networking equipment that channels Internet traffic.

The company's stock was down $2.30 this morning, hovering at $21.43 per share, more than 10 percent off its opening price.

Cisco's fourth-quarter sales actually increased 27 percent to $10.8 billion, but analysts had expected a better showing. The company also lowered its expectations for the current quarter amid broader concerns about economic recovery and job growth.

The company employs more than 4,600 employees and contractors at its 12-building campus in RTP.

Duke Energy teams with Cisco Systems on Smart Grid

Duke Energy is testing a "smart grid" application designed by Cisco Systems for household use.

Cisco's Home Energy Management Solution features a countertop display that gives consumers real-time data, past energy readouts and usage levels of individual appliances.

About 100 Duke Energy customers are testing the system, but Duke wants to extend the tests for another year.

Duke, based in Charlotte, is the state's biggest electric utility. Cisco, the computer networking giant based in California, employs 4,500 at its office complex in Research Triangle Park. The company is making a major push into Smart Grid technology, much of which would run over Cisco's networks.

Our sister paper, The Charlotte Observer, has more here on Duke's program.

Cisco's Cius born in RTP

The development of Cisco System's new iPad-like multimedia device, the gnomically named Cius, was coordinated out of the networking giant's RTP campus over the past 18 months.

Cisco unveiled the 1.15-pound Cius (pronounced "See Us") today as the company, known for its switches and routers, continues its vaunted move into consumer products.

The Cius runs on the Android operating system, allows high-def video streaming and docks with Cisco TelePresence technology for video-conferencing. It has a front- and rear-facing camera and functions as a virtual desktop with standard features like Wi-Fi and text editing.

Cisco describes the device as a "business tablet." The target retail price is projected to be less than $1,000. At the risk of pushing analogies too far, one could say the Cius combines elements of the iPad and Kindle and Blackberry.

Nortel taking bids for tech patents

Bankrupt Nortel Networks could raise as much as $1.1 billion selling its technology patents to rivals such as Research in Motion, Cisco Systems and others.

The Canadian telecom-equipment maker has started taking bids for about 4,500 patents granted and 1,000 that are pending. MDB Capital Group analyst Peter Conley estimates the value at $750 million to $1.1 billion, Bloomberg News reported.

Nortel was once one of the largest private employers in the Triangle, and many of its patents involve at least some work done at its Research Triangle Park campus. Many projects involved workers at multiple Nortel locations worldwide.

“Patent estates of this size don’t come along that often,” Conley told Bloomberg. “This is the equivalent of acquiring the IP of a large technology company. If you could buy that for a billion dollars, it would be a bargain.”

Cisco results top analyst estimates

Cisco Systems, the world's largest maker of networking equipment, reported stronger quarterly results this afternoon.

The Silicon Valley company is considered a bellwether for the broader technology sector. Cisco also is an important piece of the Triangle's economy, with 4,404 workers at its campus in Research Triangle Park.

Cisco reported that net sales rose to $10.4 billion, up 27 percent from the same quarter last year. Net income was 42 cents a share, beating Wall Street analysts' expectations.

"It is clear that our game plan for how to handle economic downturns is hitting on all cylinders," said CEO John Chambers, in a prepared statement. Chambers' outlook is widely seen as an important viewpoint on the health of the tech industry and the economy.

Cisco unveils super router

Cisco Systems, the world's biggest maker of computer networking equipment, this morning unveiled a super-router that is powerful enough to download the entire Library of Congress in 1 second.

Cisco CEO John Chambers said during a conference call that the CRS-3 router is three times faster than its predecessor and will revolutionize entertainment, education, health care and business productivity. The router handles data-intensive video traffic with the ease of sending a simple e-mail.

"Video is the killer app," Chambers said. "Video brings the Internet to life."

The CRS3 router is currently being field-tested by AT&T in Florida and Louisiana. If the tests go as planned, Cisco would begin selling the router in the third quarter of this year. The router can handle up to 322 Terabits per second and will its price will start at $90,000 in this country.

Cisco employs 67,000 worldwide, including 4,300 full-timers and contractors in Research Triangle Park. The company is planning to hire 2,000 to 3,000 people globally this year.

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