Comcast, Cisco, Nortel Ink Transport Pact

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Comcast Corp. signed a series of deals with Cisco Systems Inc. and Nortel Networks Corp. for Internet-protocol/optical-backbone equipment to handle next-generation services from cable’s largest MSO.

Nortel will supply its dense-wave-division-multiplexing solution that includes its common photonic layer and optical-multiservice edge “6500” platforms. That equipment will be integrated with Cisco’s “CRS-1” carrier routing system, part of Cisco’s next-generation IP platform.

The two companies also signed an open-transport initiative with Comcast, pledging support to improve interoperability between the optical and IP-network layers.

“This collaboration is a natural and much-needed step in the evolution of network technology and the interoperability of multivendor networks,” Comcast chief technology officer Dave Fellows said in a prepared statement.

Separately, Comcast announced that it has launched phone service in large parts of its Maryland and Virginia systems.

The markets include Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, Howard and Montgomery counties in Maryland; and Alexandria, Arlington, Reston and western Prince William County in Virginia.