Sunday, August 22, 2004

Germany Sets Geographic Conditions for VoIP Local Call Numbers

Germany's official Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Post (RegTP) ruled that local network call numbers for Internet telephony services may only be allocated to customers within their relevant local networks. RegTP issued orders providing locality-based local network call numbers to two VoIP service providers, Sipgate and Nikotalk.

RegTP noted that other Internet telephony providers have started offering their customers local network call numbers independently of their place of residence. However, RegTP said this procedure "distorts the geographic information of the local network call number. Furthermore, it depletes the scarce quotas of call numbers of the relevant local networks and as such endangers the overall national numbering plan. This would put those competitors at a disadvantage who adhere to legal stipulations."

RegTP is providing (0)700 numbers for use as locality-independent personal call numbers. RegTP is also examining the provision of a separate subrange for national subscriber numbers for VoIP services.
  • In April 2004, Germany's Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Post (RegTP) opened a public consultation on VoIP, seeking public input on a whole range of issues – business models, the classification of VoIP under regulatory aspects, numbering, access and interconnection, market definition and possible market entry barriers. The subjects of universal service, customer protection, telecommunications privacy, data protection, emergency services, technical safeguards, the implementation of intercepts and directory enquiry procedures, which may entail obligations for VoIP service providers, were also to be addressed on behalf of consumer protection and the public interest.

AT&T, AT&T Wireless, and Cingular Resolve Branding Issue

AT&T, AT&T Wireless, and Cingular Wireless resolved issues relating to the use of the AT&T brand in connection with Cingular's acquisition of AT&T Wireless. During a six-month transition following the merger, Cingular will have certain licensee rights to the AT&T brand for wireless services.

Cingular intends to use its own brand for the new combined company following its acquisition of AT&T Wireless, and it will cease using the AT&T brand at the end of the transition period.

Also, AT&T will provide the combined Cingular/AT&T Wireless with international long distance, private line services, and corporate telecommunications services for up to 17 months. This represents a commitment of $100 million to AT&T, the companies noted.

AT&T Moves its Consumer VoIP into Retail Channels

AT&T will begin marketing its residential VoIP service through Best Buy's 628 retail stores across the U.S. The companies will promote AT&T CallVantage Service through in-store marketing as well as print, broadcast and online advertising.

AT&T said it will announced additional retail agreements soon.

Axiowave and Path 1 Team on Video over IP SLAs

Path 1 Network Technologies and Axiowave Networks have formed a strategic partnership to enable service providers to offer ATM-Grade, point-to-point and extremely low worst-case latency and jitter guarantees to their customers under all network traffic conditions. The companies will collaborate on marketing and sales activities.

Path 1 offers a Video over IP gateways featuring the ability to seamlessly switch between transmission and reception of video using the same unit. This reduces the equipment needed to implement two-way compressed or uncompressed video movement by a factor of two, while ensuring very low latency.

Axiowave Networks supplies core/metro network routers designed for services such as Toll-Quality VoIP, ATM-Grade IP-VPNs and ATM-Grade transit. http://www.axiowave.com
  • Path 1's Cx1000 Video Gateway uses embedded processors and patent-pending algorithms to shield the video signals from severe network impairments and preserve the broadcast-quality video at standard definition, High Definition and uncompressed video at speeds up to 270 Mbps. The gateway handles issues like significant delay, jitter, packet loss, out-of-order packets and error recovery.

  • Axiowave's core/metro routing platform leverages a unique switching and queuing architecture designed for carving out bandwidth among four classes of service (ATM-CBR, VBR-rt, VBR-nRT, and best effort). The platform uses ASICs and FPGAs. The company claims it can increase the utilization of IP egress trunks to 90%, including a high percentage (90+%) in the presence of oversubscribed best-effort traffic. As with ATM, unused bandwidth from any service running on the platform can be dynamically distributed to other services with burstable options. Examples of premium IP services could include, too-grade VoIP, ATM-grade IP VPNs, wireless voice, broadcast video, etc.

Cisco Acquires P-Cube for IP Service Control Platform

Cisco Systems agreed to acquire P-Cube, a developer of IP service control platforms, for approximately $200 million in cash and options. P-Cube's Service Control Platform offers a stateful deep packet inspection capability that provides application-awareness while quality of service is maintained through real-time application control. The platform enables service providers to control and manage advanced IP services, such as interactive gaming, Video-on-Demand, and Peer-to-Peer.

P-Cube's Service Control Platform is both application and subscriber-aware. The company said its that unlike other solutions, its platform fully reconstructs flows and the Layer 7 state of each individual application flow -- instead of processing packets as individual events. By maintaining state information, P-Cube identifies applications that employ dynamically assigned port numbers, tracks applications that involve multiple inter-related or spawned flows commonly found in VoIP and multimedia streaming protocols, and applies policy rules as part of controlling the admission policies or session characteristics of a data flow.

Upon close of the acquisition, the P-Cube team will report to Pankaj Patel, vice president and general manager of Cisco's Broadband Edge and Midrange Routing Business Unit.
  • P-Cube, a start-up based in Sunnyvale , California with R&D in Israel, was founded in 1999 and has 118 employees.

  • P-Cube is led by Yuval Shahar, who previously co-founded PentaCom (acquired by Cisco Systems) and developed one of the world's first web appliances, which led to the creation of Infogear Inc. (also acquired by Cisco Systems). Its technical team is headed by Michael Ben-nun, who previously served as General Manager and Director of the Network Access Division of Rockwell Semiconductor Systems Israel (Conexant).

  • In May 2004, P-Cube announced that Plala Networks, a subsidiary of NTT East, had deployed its Service Control Platform and Engage solution throughout its nationwide backbone network to reduce network congestion that is caused by Internet user-originated traffic, such as peer-to-peer (P2P). The contract has been delivered through Mitsubishi Corporation providing channel distribution, integration and support services in strategic partnership with P-Cube. P-Cube's Service Control Engine is deployed in strategic POPs in the Plala network. The company said its customer base also includes SingTel, Telenor, @NetHome, KT, 3 Italy (Hutchison), and Interoute, among others.
  • Turk Telekom Selects Redback's SmartEdge Service Gateway

    Turk Telekom, the incumbent PTT in Turkey, has selected Redback's SmartEdge Service Gateway systems to use throughout its infrastructure for the second phase of its nationwide broadband network. Turk Telekom selected the next-generation Redback platform for the first phase of the development last year. Financial terms were not disclosed.

    The Redback SmartEdge Service Gateway platform integrates the B-RAS functionality of its SMS family of subscriber management products with the SmartEdge platform's purpose-built hardware and software to provide subscriber management with dynamic policy enforcement.

    Comcast Launches Digital Video Recorder Service

    Comcast Cable launched a new Digital Video Recorder (DVR) service in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and northern Delaware. The DVR service enables the company's Digital Cable customers to pause and rewind live standard or HDTV broadcasts, record favorite shows, and build a customized digital programming list. It can be combined with Comcast's existing ON DEMAND service. Pricing its $9.95 per month and there is no upfront equipment charge. The service uses a Digital Cable set-top box provided by Comcast. An interactive on-screen programming guide will be rolled out on a system by system basis beginning in late-September.

    Telstar 18 Satellite Enters Commercial Service Over Asia

    Telstar 18 has entered commercial service over Asia. The satellite carries a total of 54 active transponders, of which sixteen are high-power Ku-band transponders and thirty-eight are C-band transponders. The footprint stretches from Central Asia, through the Indian sub-continent, China, Korea, Japan, South East Asia, Australia and Hawaii.

    In addition to cable programming and direct-to-home broadcasting services, Telstar 18 is scheduled to begin hosting Skynet's SkyReach two-way IP-based networking solution in 2005.

    Telstar 18's users include regional video and data providers, such as Smart Digital Communications of Malaysia and PSVN, which is based at the Hawaii Pacific Teleport.

    The satellite was built by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) and is operated by Loral Skynet. APT Satellite Company of Hong Kong, will initially use 68.5% of Telstar 18's transponder capacity for APSTAR-V services. The number of transponders used by APT will be reduced over time, ultimately to 54% of the satellite's capacity.

    Avaya Supplies IP Telephony for NBC Olympics

    Avaya has supplied an IP telephony solution for the NBC Olympics staff members covering the 2004 Athens Games. The private, wide area network that links the company's headquarters in Stamford, Conn., and the International Broadcast Center and field offices in Athens. Financial terms were not disclosed.

    Cranite Systems Names John Vigouroux CEO, Secures $10 Million

    Cranite Systems, a supplier of security solutions for wireless local area networks (LANs), named John Vigouroux as its chairman and CEO. Vigouroux most recently served as president and COO of Tumbleweed Communications, a secure Internet messaging leader. Vigouroux joined Tumbleweed from Valicert, where he engineered the merger of the two companies as Valicert's president and CEO.

    Separately, Cranite announced that it has raised $10 million in a private financing from existing investors. The funding round was led by Diamondhead Ventures and includes JK&B Capital, BV Capital, Industry Ventures, Pacifica Fund and Selby Ventures. The company expects to use the $10 million to fund new products and expanding market initiatives.

    Cranite's WirelessWall software allows organizations to secure their wireless networks while meeting the U.S. Government's FIPS 140-2 security certification standards. Unlike virtual private network (VPN)-based systems, WirelessWall encrypts all transmitted information-network addresses, applications and ports-as well as the data itself.

    Figure 8 Wireless Raises $3.6 Million for ZigBee

    Figure 8 Wireless, a start-up based in San Diego, secured $3.6 million in new funding for its firmware and software for wireless device networking based on the ZigBee standard and the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless standard. Figure 8 Wireless said it has the first commercially available ZigBee network stack product and development tools for the ZigBee standard. The product is currently ported to Freescale's processor radio products based on the 802.15.4 protocol. Figure 8 recently released its ZigBee version 0.80 compliant solution to customers, and products are expected on store shelves in early 2005.

    The venture funding was led by Avalon Ventures and included The Viterbi Group, Cardinal Ventures and Freescale Semiconductor. Cardinal and Freescale are new investors in Figure 8.

    Lucent Closes Telica Acquisition

    Lucent Technologies completed its acquisition of Telica. Under the deal, which was first announced on 24-May-2004, Lucent agreed to exchange 92.7 million shares of common stock and options for all of Telica's equity.

    RCN Files Consensual Plan for Chapter 11 Reorganization

    RCN Corporation, which provides overbuild cable services in the Boston, New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles metropolitan markets, filed reorganization plans with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The plan would reduce RCN's total debt by $1.2 billion through a debt for equity swap. The plan has the support of the company's Official Creditors' Committee. RCN expects to emerge from its restructuring process during the fourth quarter of 2004. RCN does not anticipate any disruption of service to its customers.

    iPass Partners with Connexion by Boeing for In-Flight Wi-Fi

    iPass, which operates a Wi-Fi roaming network with over 11,000 active hotspots in 33 countries, announced an agreement with Connexion by Boeing that will provide iPass enterprise customers with secure in-flight Wi-Fi Internet connectivity. Through the agreement, iPass users will have access to the Connexion by Boeing mobile Internet service through the iPass Global Broadband Roaming network.

    Connexion by Boeing has agreements with major air carriers. In addition, iPass offers broadband access at 121 airports in 21 countries -- including 49 of the world's busiest as measured by passenger volume.

    Spotwave Wireless Closes CDN$12 Million in New Financing

    Spotwave Wireless, a start-up based in Ottawa, Canada, raised CDN$7 million in venture funding for its in-building wireless coverage solution. The company also secured a CDN$5 million committed credit facility for working capital purposes from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), bringing total funding received to date to over CDN$35 million.

    Spotwave has deployed more than two thousand SpotCell systems for the top wireless carriers in North America, including Verizon Wireless, Sprint, Cingular, Rogers Wireless and Telus Mobility. Locations range from retail kiosks and shopping malls, to manufacturing plants and utilities, to hospitals and fire stations - even private residences.

    Newbury Ventures and VenGrowth Capital Partners led the new capital infusion along with existing investors: Primaxis Technology Ventures, Venture Coaches (now merged with Skypoint Capital), The VentureLink Fund, GrowthWorks WV Funds, and a new investor, RBQ Limited.

    July Systems Raises US$10 Million in Series B Funding

    July Systems, a start-up based in Santa Clara, California, has secured US$ 10 million in Series B funding for its turnkey managed mobile data solutions and service delivery software for service providers and wireless telecom operators. The funding will be used to expand the company's develop team in Bangalore, India. The round was led by the top-tier US venture capital firm Charles River Ventures (CRV), with additional funding from all of the existing investors WestBridge Capital Partners, NeoCarta Ventures, Jumpstartup and Acer Technology Ventures. Silicon Valley Bancshares also joined as a new investor.

    See also