Wednesday, April 26, 2017

FCC Chairman Moves to Reverse Net Neutrality Rules

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai circulated a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with his fellow commissioners at the FCC aimed at reversing the Title II "Net Neutrality" rules adopted in 2015.

In a published speech, Pai described the Title II rules as a regulatory mistake that slowed down telecom infrastructure spending in the United States by 5.6% percent, or $3.6 billion, between 2014 and 2016 for just the top 12 Internet service providers. He said the rules were not needed in 2015 because the Internet "was not broken" and that these 1930s era regulations were constraining the further rollouts of new infrastructure.

Key elements of Pai's proposal include (1) return the classification of broadband service from a Title II telecommunications service to a Title I information service (2) eliminate the so-called Internet conduct standard (3) seeks comment on how the FCC approach the so-called bright-line rules adopted in 2015.

The FCC will vote on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at its meeting in May.

https://www.fcc.gov/document/chairman-pai-speech-future-internet-regulation


FCC Votes 3-2 to Adopt Open Internet Rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to adopt a new set of Open Internet rules proposed by Commissioner Wheeler and backed by the Obama Administration. All of the new rules, which are based on the FCC's authority under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, would apply to fixed and mobile broadband alike, while leaving room for reasonable network management and its specific application to mobile and unlicensed WiFi networks.

Here are the key provisions and rules of the Open Internet Order as outlined by the FCC:

Bright Line Rules:  The first three rules ban practices that are known to harm the Open Internet.

  • No Blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No Paid Prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind—in other words, no “fast lanes.”   This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates. It also prohibits practices that target specific applications or classes of applications.  
A Standard for Future Conduct:  the Order establishes that ISPs cannot “unreasonably interfere with or unreasonably disadvantage” the ability of consumers to select, access, and use the lawful content, applications, services, or devices of their choosing; or of edge providers to make lawful content, applications, services, or devices available to consumers.  The FCC will have authority to address questionable practices on a case-by-case basis, and will provide guidance in the form of factors on how the Commission will apply the standard in practice.

Greater Transparency:  the Order requires that broadband providers disclose, in a
consistent format, promotional rates, fees and surcharges and data caps. Disclosures must also include packet loss as a measure of network performance, and provide notice of network management practices that can affect service.  To further consider the concerns of small ISPs, the Order adopts a temporary exemption from the transparency enhancements for fixed and mobile providers with 100,000 or fewer subscribers, and delegates authority to the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau to determine whether to retain the exception and, if so, at what level.

Reasonable Network Management:    For the purposes of the rules, other than paid prioritization, an ISP may engage in reasonable network management. The FCC's standard takes account of the particular engineering attributes of the technology involved—whether it be fiber, DSL, cable, unlicensed Wi-Fi, mobile, or another network medium. However, the network practice must be primarily used for and tailored to achieving a legitimate network management—and not business—purpose.

Broad Protection
Some data services do not go over the public Internet, and therefore are not “broadband Internet access” services (VoIP from a cable system is an example, as is a dedicated heart-monitoring service). The Order ensures that these services do not undermine the effectiveness of the Open Internet rules. Moreover, all broadband providers’ transparency disclosures will continue to cover any offering of such non-Internet access data services—ensuring that the public and the Commission can keep a close eye on any tactics that could undermine the Open Internet rules.

Interconnection: the FCC address issue that may arise in the exchange of traffic between mass-market broadband providers and other networks and services. Under the authority provided by the Order, the Commission can hear complaints and take appropriate enforcement action if it determines the interconnection activities of ISPs are not just and reasonable.

Legal Authority: the order relies on multiple sources of authority including both Title II of the Communications Act and Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.  At the same time, the Order refrains – or forbears – from enforcing 27 provisions of Title II and over 700 associated regulations that are not relevant to modern broadband service. 

Nokia Reports Flat Q1 Revenue of EUR 5.4 Billion

Nokia reported Q1 2017 sales of EUR 5.4bn, down slightly from EUR 5.5bn in Q1 2016. Non-IFRS diluted EPS in Q1 2017 was EUR 0.03 (EUR 0.03 in Q1 2016). Reported diluted EPS in Q1 2017 of negative EUR 0.08 (negative EUR 0.11 in Q1 2016).

For Nokia's Networks business there was a 6% year-on-year net sales decrease in Q1 2017, which the company attributed primarily due to IP/Optical Networks and Fixed Networks, with approximately flat net sales in Mobile Networks and Applications & Analytics. The company noted strong Q1 2017 gross margin of 39.5% and solid operating margin of 6.6%, supported by continued focus on operational excellence, with particularly strong performance in Mobile Networks.

Nokia Technologies recorded a 25% year-on-year net sales increase in Q1 2017, primarily due to higher patent and brand licensing income and the acquisition of Withings, partially offset by the absence of licensing income related to certain expired agreements.

"Nokia's first quarter 2017 results demonstrated our improving business momentum, even if some challenges remain. We slowed the rate of topline decline and generated healthy orders in what is typically a seasonally weak quarter for us. We also continued to see expansion of cross-selling across our full portfolio, delivered excellent gross margins and improved group-level profitability," stated Rajeev Suri, Nokia's President and CEO.

"The power of our end-to-end portfolio was again evident in our first quarter results. We saw encouraging stabilization in Mobile Networks topline, our strategy to build a strong software business gained momentum in Applications & Analytics, and Nokia Technologies saw significant year-on-year improvement in sales. This progress offset relative weakness in Fixed Networks and IP/Optical Networks, and allowed us to maintain Networks' strong gross margin - which was among the strongest Networks has ever delivered for a Q1."

"Mobile Networks was clearly the highlight of the quarter. A combination of robust market interest in our advanced LTE solutions, including closing the quarter with 145 4.5G customers, and ongoing cost discipline allowed us to get closer to stabilizing our topline while delivering improved profitability."

AT&T to launch 5G Evolution in 20 Markets

AT&T announced that as part of its 5G Evolution program it plans to begin offering higher speed services for wireless customers with the latest devices in over 20 major metro areas by the end of the year.

The new wireless capability is now available in select areas of Austin, where AT&T wireless customers with a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ are able to access faster 5G Evolution Internet speeds. The new higher speed service is due to be expanded to Indianapolis in the summer, with a launch in additional markets to be announced over the coming months, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville and San Francisco.

AT&T's 5G Evolution program will enable faster wireless Internet speeds for customers, and in Austin delivers around twice the download speed, as well as lower latency, of the existing 4G LTE network. The enhanced service is available to customers on most data plans that have a Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ device. AT&T noted that by the end of 2017 it expects to offer a range of user devices able to take advantage of the 5G Evolution program.

As part of the 5G Evolution program, AT&T is investing in its wireless network to add small cells and implementing technology upgrades including carrier aggregation, 4 x 4 MIMO and 256QAM.

http://about.att.com/story/5g_evolution_to_over_20_metros_in_2017.html


  • In mid-March AT&T announced that following the decision by the 3GPP wireless standards body to accelerate certain elements of the 5G new radio (NR) development program, it expected to launch standards-based mobile 5G services to consumers by late 2018.

    At that time, AT&T stated that it was conducting in 5G trials in a number of cities and AT&T Lab locations, including the first 5G fixed wireless business customer trial in Austin launched in 2016. AT&T added that in April it planned to launch a second trial in Austin for the delivery of DIRECTV NOW and access new entertainment and enhanced broadband services for residential and SMB customers.
  • In February, AT&T noted that the forthcoming trial in Austin would utilise Ericsson's 5G RAN technology and the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform, as well as leveraging the resources and capabilities of its 2 new 5G testbeds in Austin, where it was exploring the use of 28 GHz, 39 GHz and sub-6 GHz frequency bands. It also noted that working with Nokia it had delivered DIRECTV NOW over a fixed wireless 5G connection using 39 GHz mmWave technology.

Bridge Alliance to deploy Ericsson Unified Delivery Network in APAC

Ericsson announced a partnership with the Bridge Alliance, a group of 34 mobile operators in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa serving a total of over 800 million customers, under which it will deploy its Unified Delivery Network (UDN) content delivery network solution across 12 countries in the Asia Pacific region.

The Bridge Alliance is the leading alliance of mobile operators in the Asia Pacific and MEA regions, and the agreement calls for Ericsson to deploy the UDN global content delivery network (CDN) platform, which provides content providers worldwide with connectivity to the last mile reach of network operators.

The partnership is designed to enhance collaboration between content providers and Bridge Alliance mobile carrier members and enable them to play a greater role in the content delivery value chain. Ericsson's advanced content distribution platform provides last mile network access to help enable the delivery of quality video and web content into caches located closer to end users and so improve the user experience.

Earlier this year, Bridge Alliance and SoftBank announced they had renewed their partnership to continue collaborating in the areas of enterprise mobility services, machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT). In October 2016, Saudi Telecom Company (STC) Group renewed its partnership with the Bridge Alliance for enterprise services covering Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait.

In February of last year, Ericsson, the Global M2M Association (GMA), the Bridge Alliance and Samsung demonstrated multi-domestic capabilities designed to enable new business models for IoT. The solution targeted global enterprises seeking to securely deploy connected devices and services with adherence to local terms and conditions. The collaboration specifically involved Ericsson's Device Connection Platform (DCP) and the Samsung KNOX enterprise billing solution.

The Bridge Alliance has 34 members with an overall 800 million-plus customers that aims to facilitate roaming services and support multi-market enterprise and IoT solutions.

Bridge Alliance members include: Airtel (India, Sri Lanka and subsidiaries in Africa), AIS (Thailand), CSL Mobile (Hong Kong), CTM (Macau), Globe Telecom (Philippines), Maxis (Malaysia), MobiFone (Vietnam), Optus (Australia), Singtel (Singapore), SK Telecom (S Korea), STC (Saudi Arabia), SoftBank (Japan), Taiwan Mobile, Telkomcel (Timor-Leste and Indonesia), Turk Telekom and Viva (Bahrain and Kuwait). Alliance partners include China Unicom, Freemove and Global M2M Association

Orange Teams with Facebook on Start-up Accelerator

Global telco Orange announced that, as a member of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and together with Facebook, it is launching the Orange Fab France Telecom Track accelerator, designed to support start-ups focused on network infrastructure development.

Through the initiative, selected start-ups will be mentored by Orange and provided with access to its global resources, as well as support from TIP Ecosystem Accelerator Centres (TEAC) and Facebook.

As part of the initiative, Orange is working with TIP and Facebook to identify and support start-ups focused on network infrastructure technology with the launch of the new Telecom Track as part of its Orange Fab accelerator program in France. The partnership will aim to identify the best innovations and talent within the sector and provide start-ups with support and guidance from experts at Orange, TIP and Facebook, as well as facilitate collaboration and investment opportunities.

The project will be managed through Orange Fab France, Orange's established accelerator program for start-ups located at the Orange Gardens campus in Paris that is dedicated to R&D. The program also has the support of Orange Digital Ventures. By engaging with experts from Orange and its partners, start-ups will be provided with support in tackling network-related issues such as network management and access technologies.

Start-ups selected for the program will receive the benefits offered as part of the existing Orange Fab program, including the opportunity to participate in dedicated workshops, mentoring sessions with specialists and an optional Euro 15,000 in funding. They will also be provided with work space at the Orange Gardens, where the company's R&D teams are based. Start-ups will also have access to experts from the TIP community, TEAC and Facebook.

Orange has launched a call for projects to French start-ups that runs until May 14th; following evaluation of submissions, start-ups will be selected to join the acceleration program and can present at a launch event planned for June that will attended by Orange, TIP and Facebook executives, as well as partners and venture capitalists.

Coriant Backs ONAP Project

Coriant announced its support for the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) Project to help accelerate industry adoption of standards-based Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) capabilities that orchestrate and automate service delivery in cloud-centric, SDN-controlled networks.

ONAP, which was recently formed through the merger of open source ECOMP and Open Orchestrator Project (OPEN-O) is focused on creating a harmonized and comprehensive framework for real-time, policy-driven software automation of virtual network functions that will enable software, network, IT, and cloud providers and developers to rapidly create new services. The ONAP Project includes participation by prominent networking suppliers and industry-leading service providers from around the world.

“As a pioneer in SDN-enabled solutions for multi-layer transport networks, we look forward to collaborating closely with other ONAP members to help our customers leverage SDN automation and NFV control for faster, more efficient, and more flexible service delivery,” said Uwe Fischer, Executive Vice President, R&D and PLM, and CTO, Coriant. “Open networks and SDN/NFV-enabled automation are key pillars of the Coriant Hyperscale Carrier Architecture, and contributions by the ONAP Project will strengthen the value proposition of this innovative approach while enhancing Coriant’s comprehensive suite of open, multi-layer SDN solutions.”

Coriant noted that its Hyperscale Carrier Architecture (HCA) brings together the best of telecom and the best of data center technologies and open network design principles in a unified go-forward architecture optimized for 5G, IoT, and the unabated surge of Internet video traffic. Powered by the Coriant Transcend Software Suite, which includes standards-based multi-layer SDN control and NMS solutions, the HCA is an open, holistic architecture that encompasses transport, packet, and routing end-to-end from subscriber access all the way to the peering point.

http://www.onap.org
http://www.coriant.com

Enea unveils NFV platform for Virtualisation of Network Edge

Stockholm-based Enea, a supplier of network software platforms, announced the introduction of Enea NFV Core, a high performance, deployment-ready NFV software platform designed to enable central office virtualisation at the network edge.

Enea's new NFV Core software is designed to allow network operators, service providers and telecom and network equipment vendors to develop solutions enabling a virtualised network edge that can deliver lower costs and increased flexibility in creating new services.

Enea noted that while the data centre/cloud side of NFV software is maturing and becoming commoditised, in the base station and customer premise equipment segment there are currently few independent software vendors with viable offerings. In addition, there is significant potential for differentiation as the use cases differ for each deployment scenario.

Enea aims to address typical distributed NFV use cases such as virtual CPE (vCPE), and the new Enea NFV Core platform targets central office applications. The solution provides multi-architecture support that enables virtualised network functions (VNF) to execute on both Intel x86 and ARM commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware.

Enea NFV Core is based on the open technology standards OPNFV and OpenStack, and so can benefit from the speed of innovation provided by the open source community. However, Enea noted that unlike open source offerings NFV Core is hardened and deployment-ready, which speeds development time.

The Enea NFV Core software has been configured, enhanced and optimised to deliver the performance and availability required for edge use cases, and has been integrated, tested and validated.

At MWC 2017, Enea partnered with Lanner Electronics to demonstrate a proof-of-concept of a commercial NFV solution for vCPE built on OPNFV and able to run on x86 and ARM-based COTS hardware. The PoC involved Enea running its network virtualisation software on a central office server that sets up and initiates a video call between two tablets, one connected to an x86-based Lanner device, and one connected to an ARM-based device.

ECI Apollo Selected for Lepida Regional Network in Italy

ECI, a global provider of Elastic Network solutions, announced that it has been selected to upgrade Lepida SpA's regional broadband network in northern Italy.

Lepida, based in Bologna, is a communications provider that was established in 2007 by the Emilia-Romagna regional government to design, implement and manage broadband infrastructures for the public administrations and public entities in the region.

ECI has been selected to provide a turnkey, end-to-end, 10/100/200 Gbit/s regional WDM network featuring 96 channel, tunable flex grid and high-capacity OTN cross-connect functionality in the main network PoPs, based on its Apollo packet-optical solution.

ECI noted that its solution met the technical requirements of Lepida's tailored approach, while the service provider will also be able to select from a range of pay-as-you grow options to expand network capacity and capabilities in the future.

ECI's Apollo platform provides transparent and flexible DWDM transport for a range of customer requirements. The platform combines low latency with software configurable, colourless, directionless and gridless optical routing, OTN switching and grooming and is designed to enable efficient and fully programmable networking.

In addition, ECI's planning tools and management platforms can provide Lepida with independence when planning and provisioning its network in the future. ECI also offer an evolution path across its platforms enabling customers to prepare for the transition to SDN technology.


Lepida operates a network linking local administrations in Emilia-Romagna that includes 2.700 km of infrastructure and 64,000 km of fibre with more than 720 points of access. The NGN network supports minimum 2 Gbit/s bandwidth at fibre points with backbone connectivity to MIX Milan, AmsIX Amsterdam, DECIX in  Frankfurt, LINX in London, FRANCEIX in Paris, LUCIX in Luxemburg, VSIX in Padoa, TOPIX in Turin and SIX in the U.S.

NTT Com Acquires International LD License in India

NTT Communications (NTT Com) announced that it recently acquired a Virtual Network Operator - International Long Distance (VNO-ILD) license in India through its local affiliate NTT Communications India Network Services (NTTCINS).

The new license for India will enable NTT Com to add Arcstar Universal One International Network Services to its existing portfolio of services in India. At present, in India NTT Com provides national long distance (NLD) network services through affiliate NTTCINS, as well as colocation, managed hosting, cloud and ICT management services via affiliate company Netmagic.

Following the award of the virtual network operator license, from July of this year NTT Com plans to leverage its portfolio of ICT solutions to help enterprise customers build ICT environments to support their business operations in India. NTT Com will specifically offer ICT solutions including WAN, LAN, data centre and associated value added services to Indian businesses and multinational corporations.

In addition, NTT Com plans to enhance its network services via the addition of Internet access options and to improve service quality through expanded relationships with local carriers.

NTTCINS launched operations in India in 2003 and has established nodes in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and New Delhi in cooperation with local carrier Tata Communications. The operator operates a backbone network with diverse routes and has offices in major cities across India.

Netmagic, based in Mumbai, is a major managed hosting and cloud service provider in India, with 9 carrier-neutral data centres. The company claims more than 2,000 enterprises customers worldwide. Netmagic also delivers remote infrastructure management (RIM) services to enterprise customers globally, including NTT Com customers in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific.

See also