Monday, October 30, 2017

AT&T moves Acumos into open source as an AI-enabling platform

AT&T, in collaboration with Tech Mahindra, is backing an open source artificial intelligence (AI) platform called Acumos that can be used to build smart applications.

Acumos, which will be hosted by The Linux Foundation, makes it easy to build, share and deploy AI applications. More specifically, it provides the capability to edit, integrate, compose, package, train and deploy AI microservices. Acumos will provide a marketplace for accessing, using and enhancing those applications.

“Our goal with open sourcing the Acumos platform is to make building and deploying AI applications as easy as creating a website,” said Mazin Gilbert, vice president of Advanced Technology at AT&T Labs. “We’re collaborating with Tech Mahindra to establish an industry standard for AI in the networking space. We invite others to join us to create a global harmonization in AI and set the stage for all future AI network applications and services.”

“We’re opening up AI. We’re focusing on the telecommunication, media and technology spaces, starting with the network. The platform will be available to anyone and the more users who adopt it, the better it will get,” added Gilbert.

AT&T said the Acumos platform is built on open source technologies and can be powered by AT&T Indigo, its next-generation platform for delivering a seamless network experience.

Earlier this year, AT&T moved its ECOMP into the open source curation of The Linux Foundation under the newly launched ONAP project. With Acumos, AT&T said it was acting to place the initial framework into open source as quickly as possible.

AT&T expands business cloud networking with AWS

AT&T announced an expansion of its alliance with Amazon Web Services (AWS) by expanding its business cloud networking solutions and focusing on security and IoT.

Highlights:

  • FlexWare: AT&T is expanding the reach of how AWS customers can access the cloud more securely. AT&T FlexWareSM is now cloud-ready, and can directly—and more securely—connect to AWS. This will help businesses be more agile with edge computing. 
  • Private Mobile Connect: With AT&T Private Mobile Connect, AWS customers can more securely access AWS from a mobile device.  Workloads are moved from the mobile device, via the public network or through NetBond for Cloud, to AWS for all customers. 
  • Cybersecurity: AT&T Threat Manager will allow AWS customers to proactively identify data patterns and threat activity that could affect their network and cloud environment. AT&T analyzes the traffic in near real-time coming in and out of a device, connection or application. AT&T can then identify abnormalities to help prevent, detect and respond to vulnerabilities. 
  • Internet of Things: Earlier this year AT&T introduced a dedicated IoT Starter kit, powered by AWS. The kit lets developers build their own solutions using AT&T IoT and AWS IoT. Developers can also use AT&T’s highly secure network and get application-level security. The companies are currently exploring options to bring AWS Greengrass to the AT&T FlexWare platform, which would enable edge computing to open up new IoT opportunities for businesses.

AT&T also offers Cloud Transformation Consulting services.

FCC approves CenturyLink + Level 3 merger

After a year-long review, the FCC voted to approve the CenturyLink + Level Communications merger. The FCC ruled that the public interest would not be harmed by the transfer of necessary licenses to secure the merger and that any potential harms to competition are mitigated by the conditions set forth in the DOJ consent decree.

  • On October 3rd, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice cleared CenturyLink's pending acquisition of Level 3 Communications with certain conditions, including the divestiture of certain Level 3 metro network assets and certain dark fiber assets.

    Specifically, the combined company is required to divest Level 3 metro network assets in Albuquerque, N.M.; Boise, Idaho; and Tucson, Arizona. In addition, the combined company is required to divest 24 strands of dark fiber connecting 30 specified city-pairs across the country in the form of an Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU). CenturyLink said that because these fibers are not currently in commercial use, this divestiture will not affect any current customers or services.


CenturyLink to Acquire Level 3 for $34 Billion

CenturyLink agreed to acquire Level 3 Communications in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $34 billion, including the assumption of debt.

The deal combines CenturyLink's larger enterprise customer base with Level 3's global network footprint. The companies said this scale will enable further investment in the reach and speeds of its broadband infrastructure for small businesses and consumers. After close, CenturyLink's Glen Post will continue to serve as Chief Executive Officer and President of the combined company.  Sunit Patel, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Level 3, will serve as Chief Financial Officer of the combined company. The combined company will be headquartered in Monroe, Louisiana and will maintain a significant presence in Colorado and the Denver metropolitan area.

Under terms of the agreement, Level 3 shareholders will receive $26.50 per share in cash and a fixed exchange ratio of 1.4286 shares of CenturyLink stock for each Level 3 share they own, which implies a purchase price of $66.50 per Level 3 share (based on a CenturyLink $28.00 per share reference price) and a premium of approximately 42 percent based on Level 3's unaffected closing share price of $46.92 on October 26, 2016. Upon the closing  CenturyLink shareholders will own approximately 51 percent and Level 3 shareholders will own approximately 49 percent of the combined company.

JUPITER transpacific cable to carry 400G wavelengths

JUPITER, a new large-capacity, low-latency subsea cable between Japan and the United States has received the backing of SoftBank, Facebook, Amazon, PLDT and PCCW Global.

The JUPITER cable system. which will have a total length of 14,000 km, will have two landing points in Japan — the Shima Landing Station in Mie Prefecture and the Maruyama Landing Station in Chiba Prefecture — as well as a U.S. landing station in Los Angeles, California, as well as a landing station at Daet in the Philippines.

JUPITER will feature a state-of-the-art submersible ROADM employing WSS (wavelength selective switch) for a gridless and flexible bandwidth configuration. The cable system will also be designed to support 400 Gbps wavelengths. The initial design capacity is 60 Tbps.

NTT Com said its Asia Submarine-cable Express (ASE), Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) and Pacific Crossing-1 (PC-1) cables will connect with JUPITER to provide a redundant three-route structure linking major cities in Asia, Japan and United States. NTT Com is also planning direct connections from the cable landing stations in Japan to data centers in Tokyo and Osaka.

JUPITER is expected to come online in early 2020.

CyrusOne sees strong demand in Q3 for data center services

CyrusOne reported strong demand in Q3 for its collocation data centers. Revenue in Q3 was $175 million, up 22% over a year earlier. There was a net loss of $55 million, primarily due to $54 million impairment charge for a facility in Connecticut.

Some highlights for the quarter:

  • Leased 15 megawatts (MW) and 151,000 colocation square feet (CSF) in the third quarter, totaling $27 million in annualized GAAP revenue
  • Backlog of $37 million in annualized GAAP revenue as of the end of the third quarter, representing more than $290 million in total contract value
  • Added five Fortune 1000 companies as new customers in the third quarter, increasing the total number of Fortune 1000 customers to 195 as of the end of the quarter
  • Company record construction with completion of eight projects totaling 555,000 CSF and 76 MW to add inventory across key markets, including Phoenix, Northern Virginia, Chicago, Dallas and San Antonio
  • Closed the previously announced acquisition of 66 acres of land in Allen, Texas, with an option to acquire an additional 24 acres of adjacent land, to support growth in the Dallas market
  • Subsequent to the end of the quarter, signed a commercial agreement with and made $100 million investment in GDS Holdings Limited (“GDS”), a leading data center provider in China, creating cross-selling opportunities and expanding our global presence.

“We had an outstanding quarter in virtually all aspects of our business, including high growth rates across our key financial metrics, continued strong bookings, and a record level of capacity brought online, which positions us well to meet the demand in our late-stage sales funnel across our top markets,” said Gary Wojtaszek, president and chief executive officer of CyrusOne.

PacketFabric extends Network-as-a-Service with AEConnect transatlantic cable

PacketFabric, which offers a highly scalable, SDN-powered network-as-a-service platform, will use the America-Europe Connect (“AEConnect”) subsea cable system to provision secure, low-latency transatlantic capacity and extend its reach to Europe.

PacketFabric enables dynamic, real-time connectivity services between major carrier-neutral colocation facilities at terabit-scale.

Aqua Comms’ AEConnect submarine cable system links New York to Ireland with diverse backhaul fibre to additional Points of Presence (PoPs) in the U.S., Ireland and U.K.

As part of the strategic partnership, Aqua Comms also utilizes the PacketFabric platform to extend the reach of its service footprint across the U.S.  PacketFabric’s scalable network facilitates coast-to-coast connectivity between more than 150 premier colocation facilities across 17 U.S. markets.


Orange sees another quarter of growth in France

Citing its second consecutive quarter of growth in France, Orange reported Q3 revenue of 10.274 billion euros, up 0.9% on a comparable basis compared to last year and in line with the first half (+1.1%). Adjusted EBITDA for the Group grew 2.1% in the third quarter of 2017 on a comparable basis, in line with the first half (+2.2%).

St├ęphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of the Orange Group, commented: “This quarter demonstrates very good momentum at Orange, supported more than ever by investment in customer experience and our networks. We attracted nearly half a million mobile contract customers and 321,000 fibre customers in France and the Europe segment in the past three months. Despite new roaming regulation in Europe, we delivered revenue growth for the ninth consecutive quarter and adjusted EBITDA growth of 2.1%. Excluding regulatory changes, adjusted EBITDA rose 4.4%. "

Highlights for Q3 2017:

  • Orange France had a particularly strong third quarter in mobile, with 320,000 net additions – its best performance since 2008. 
  • Orange France is continuing to grow in fibre broadband and now reaches more than 1.8 million customers. 
  • Interconnection revenue with operators in other European countries (visitor roaming) grew but was offset by the end of roaming charges for customers traveling in Europe. 
  • Orange Europe continued to record sustained growth, driven by Spain and Central European countries. 
  • Revenue in the Africa & Middle East segment confirmed a return to solid growth, 
  • Revenue in the Enterprise segment fell 0.5% on a comparable basis. In the first nine months of 2017, revenues were 30.550 billion euros, up 1.0% (+317 million euros) on a comparable basis.
  • The Group’s capital expenditure for the first nine months of the year was 4.873 billion euros, in line with the 2017 forecast of 7.2 billion euros. 
  • CAPEX increased by 2.8% compared to the first nine months of 2016 on a comparable basis. 
  • CAPEX from telecom activities (4.836 billion euros) rose 2.0% and the ratio of CAPEX from telecom activities to revenues was 15.8%. 
  • Investments in fibre and in very high-speed mobile (4G and 4G+) rose 14.2% compared with the first nine months of 2016.

T-Mobile connects with Project Loon in Puerto Rico

T-Mobile has recovered more than 80% of its original pre-storm outdoor signal in Puerto Rico. In a blog post, Neville Ray, T-Mobile's CTO, said the carrier has done everything possible to restore service following Hurricane Maria. Damage was extensive to the backhaul network, the cell sites and of course to the electrical grid, which still remains out for much of the island.

T-Mobile in Puerto Rico is now serving a live signal via the experimental Project Loon balloon, which enables LTE access with limited data and texting to customers in hard to reach areas.


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