Thursday, March 31, 2005

"Digital Britain" Aims to Push Broadband Further

Prime Minister Tony Blair launched a "Digital Britain" strategy aimed at driving exploitation and use of broadband-enabled ICT, content, applications and services. The government seeks to work with industry to close the digital divide where some groups have been largely excluded from benefiting from access to the Internet. It also sees the nation's future economic prosperity tied to the efficiencies of broadband and e-business. The government has published a 60-page report outlining its strategy to modernise public services based on the broadband revolution. Pro-competitive policies are credited with transforming the country into one of the most extensive and dynamic broadband markets in the world over the past four years.

"Connecting the UK: the Digital Strategy" is available online.

Crest Urges FCC to Reject VSNL Acquisition Bid for Tyco

Crest Communications issued a public appeal to the Federal Communications Commission to reject Tyco Telecommunication's application to sell its global fiber network to VSNL Telecommunications, which is owned by the Indian government and the Tata Group, India's largest civilian defense contractor.

In its petition, Crest Communications said the proposed sale would "severely compromise the Department of Defense's net-centric warfare plans and threaten the security and integrity of military, intelligence, and other sensitive communications on the cable network."

"This sale of the last remaining global undersea cable network under U.S. ownership and control represents a direct threat to our nation's security," said Brian Roussell, Vice President for Crest Communications.
  • Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL), India's leading international telecom carrier, agreed to acquire Tyco Global Network for US$130 million. The acquisition, which remains subject to government approval in the United States, India and other countries, would give VSNL control over a network that spans 60,000 kilometers (37,280 miles) and three continents. VSNL is part of the $14 billion Tata Group, which recently listed Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on the Bombay Stock Exchange. The TCS listing was the largest initial public offering by a private sector corporate in Indian history. VSNL said it intends to leverage the IT strengths of the Tata Group in providing services to large enterprises across the world.

  • In September 2004, VSNL America, a local affiliate of India's Tata managed Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited, was granted an International Common Carrier 214 License from the FCC to own and manage a U.S. network. The company plans to serve U.S. multinational corporations looking to penetrate key emerging markets such as India.

  • In October 2003, Reliance Group, India's largest business house with total revenues of US$16.8 billion, agreed to acquire FLAG Telecom Group for $207 million, representing a premium of more than 50% over the closing price of FLAG's shares on 15-Oct-03. Reliance Infocomm is one India's largest mobile service providers and operates a national, high-capacity network.

Comcast and Motorola Consummate Conditional Access Joint Ventures

Comcast and Motorola consummated their previously announced strategic relationship including two joint ventures focused on next-generation conditional access technologies and a multi-year set top commitment valued at more than US $1 billion.
  • Comcast and Motorola announced a multi-year set-top commitment valued at more than US$1 billion, the largest set-top purchase agreement in the operator's history. The deal extends a multi-year agreement for Comcast to purchase set-tops and network equipment. In addition, Motorola will provide high-definition digital video recorders and standard-definition entry-level models, among others.

  • Comcast and Motorola also announced an agreement to form two joint ventures focused on next-generation conditional access technologies. The first joint venture will focus primarily on development of a next-generation conditional access system, using MediaCipher as its foundation. Comcast and Motorola will jointly manage the development group. The second joint venture will focus on licensing conditional access and other cable technologies, including MediaCipher, to United States cable operators and third-party providers. The licensing venture will be managed by Comcast.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Qwest Raises its Bid for MCI

Qwest Communications made a new offer to acquire MCI. The new bid includes $13.50 in cash (excluding MCI's March 15 dividend payment of $0.40 per share) and 3.373 Qwest shares (subject to adjustment under a collar which fixes the value of the Qwest shares at $14.00 provided Qwest's share price is between $3.32 and $4.15) per MCI share. Qwest's previous proposal was $10.10 in cash (excluding MCI's March 15 dividend payment of $0.40 per share) and 3.735 Qwest shares (subject to adjustment under a collar which fixes the value of the Qwest shares at $15.50 provided Qwest's share price is between $3.74 and $4.57) per MCI share.

MCI's Board of Directors has agreed to review the revised proposal.

In a statement, Qwest's CEO, Richard C. Notebaert, said he remains committed to a Qwest/MCI transaction and believes it will deliver superior value to MCI shareholders as well as significant benefits to customers, employees and other stakeholders. He expressed concern that MCI's Board appears to be favoring Verizon and not allowing Qwest to present its best case.

Verilink Launches VoIP Partner Program

Verilink launched a new channel program designed to establish and develop a core group of partners with specialization in the selling and support of its VoIP products, including the 8000 Series and 3000 Series VoIP integrated access devices (IADs).

Charter partners in the authorized Telephony Partner Program include AllenCOM, Alliance Datacom, Digital Connections, Graybar, ICOMM , NetDigital, and Phillips Communications. Interlink Communication Systems and Tech Data, master distributors for Verilink products, will participate in the program supporting the new sales channel with program management, volume pricing, pre-sales technical support, and distribution services.

Infineon Introduces ADSL2+ Chip

Infineon Technologies introduced a low-power, low-cost ADSL2+ chip supporting data rates of up to 25 Mbps. The new "GEMINAX PRO" ADSL2+ chipset is designed for high-density, DSL central office applications. Infineon said power consumption is about 30% lower than conventional chips, and a correspondingly lower amount of heat is produced. This will enable higher densities -- approximately one third more ADSL2+ connections -- without requiring additional cabinet space or cooling.

The GEMINAX PRO chipset consists of a 16-channel ADSL2+ Digital Front End (DFE) and a 4-channel Analog Front End (AFE), with integrated low-power Class D line drivers.

The GEMINAX PRO also features "switched-mode" that is already being employed widely in portable audio devices (such as MP3 players) due to its extremely low power consumption levels. The first prototypes for the new chip will be shipped in May, and volume production will begin in autumn 2005.

Texas CLEC Deploys MetaSwitch's Distributed Softswitch Architecture

1stel, a Texas-based CLEC, has adopted the MetaSwitch distributed network architecture for carrier-class VoIP. Following the deployment of an initial system in February of last year, 1stel now has three MetaSwitches serving subscribers across the state. Particularly important to 1stel's network expansion plans was Metaswitch's ability to deliver all the major next generation protocols (SIP, H.248 and MGCP) in a distributed configuration, with highly scalable, collocatable media and signaling gateways controlled by a central call agent. Financial terms were not disclosed.

OIF to Conduct Ten-Week Worldwide Interoperability Demo

AT&T, China Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, NTT Laboratories, Telecom Italia and Verizon will host the Optical Internetworking Forum's (OIF's) second Worldwide Interoperability Demonstration. The carrier hosts will provide test facilities, engineering staff and real-world network connectivity continuously from mid-April through mid-June. A public demonstration of the testing will take place at SUPERCOMM 2005, June 7-9, in Chicago.

This year's OIF Worldwide Interoperability Demonstration will highlight solutions for support of Ethernet services over multi-domain SONET/SDH transport networks by employing OIF Implementation Agreements (IAs) in a multi-carrier, multi-vendor environment.

The OIF Worldwide Interoperability Demonstration 2004 addressed signaling of SONET/SDH connections from network edge-to-network edge. The 2005 event will go farther by demonstrating complete client-to-client Ethernet-over-SONET/SDH signaling. This enables Ethernet clients to signal for dynamic connections, which the SONET/SDH network provides, without requiring the client to be aware of the underlying server layer network.

Furthermore, the global interoperability event will include testing of data plane interoperability of Next Generation transport network functions such as GFP/VCAT/LCAS. This will demonstrate to the industry that this suite of ITU-T standards will support multiple vendor network environments.

Telstra Launches Global VoIP Solution

Telstra introduced a global VoIP offering aimed at multinational corporations. Telstra's T-VoIP service runs over the company's global IP VPN platform. Companies are able to interconnect geographically dispersed PBXs over a VPN at rates ranging from 128 Kbps through 155 Mbps. In a converged scenario, voice and data traffic share the same local access loop.

AT&T Plans Network Disaster Recovery Exercise

AT&T will conduct a Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) exercise on April 5th at its headquarters in Bedminster, New Jersey. Twenty-three self-contained equipment trucks and AT&T's Global Network Operations Center will be used to test and evaluate how well the company can respond to a natural or man-made disaster.

AT&T said it has invested more than $300 million in its Network Disaster Recovery program over the past ten years.

Since 1990, the NDR team has been activated 12 times in response to disasters, including restoring service after south Florida's Hurricane Andrew in 1992; the Northridge, California earthquake in 1994; tornadoes in Oklahoma in 1999; the September 11 attacks on New York City's World Trade Center; and the wildfires in San Diego in 2003.

BellSouth Offers IP VPN Class of Service Options

BellSouth introduced Network VPN Class of Service, a feature that enables enterprise customers to assign higher levels of priority to critical data traffic traveling on BellSouth's managed IP-VPN network.
The service ensures traffic prioritization from the customer premises all the way through BellSouth's core MPLS network, ensuring hierarchical routing of data. Customers can designate traffic into four different classes: real-time, interactive, priority business and best effort.

BellSouth's Managed Network VPN offers site-to-site connectivity, links remote users to headquarters information and provides Internet access on a single, secure platform. BellSouth said the new Class of Service option paves the way for additional convergence by allowing enterprises to assign high priority to VoIP, video and imaging applications.

Nortel Names Gary Kunis as CTO

Nortel Networks named Gary Kunis as CTO.
Until 2002, Kunis was the Chief Science Officer at Cisco Systems. Earlier in his career, Kunis was involved in the design, implementation and operation of large scale data and telecommunications networks for several U.S. government agency programs, including the Department of Defense, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, NASA, as well as for civilian agencies while working for
the Boeing Company.

In addition, Nortel announced that Brian McFadden, a 26-year Nortel veteran and the current CTO, has been appointed to the role of Chief Research Officer (CRO).

SBC Outlines IP Video Architecture for Project Lightspeed

SBC awarded a $195 million, multi-year contract to Scientific-Atlanta to provide IP-based video equipment for Project Lightspeed in its 13-state service area. Scientific-Atlanta will supply IP video equipment for an IP video operations center (VOC), two national IP video super hub offices (SHO) and 41 IP video hub offices (VHO). Scientific-Atlanta will provide encoders, satellite dishes, video routers, and professional services as part of the contract. Scientific-Atlanta will also provide professional services related to the initial design and builds of the VOC, SHOs and VHOs.

The IP video operations center will serve as a command center, monitoring the availability and quality of all of the content traveling through SBC's network using Scientific-Atlanta's ROSA Element Manager system. The super hub offices (SHOs) receive, process, and encode video and TV programming from satellite feeds into IP packets. This content is then sent to the video hub offices (VHOs), typically one per major metropolitan area, via SBC's national IP-based network. In the VHOs are servers that have the electronic intelligence necessary to deliver IP video-on-demand, over-the-air TV programming, interactive applications, etc. The VHOs will also acquire and encode local video content.

SBC described the contract as another major step forward for Project Lightspeed, which is slated to begin delivering services under the U-verse brand in late 2005 or early 2006.http:/
  • In November 2004, SBC announced a $400 million, 10-year agreement with Microsoft to provide next-generation television services using the new Microsoft IPTV Edition software platform.

  • In October 2004, SBC announced a five-year, approximately $1.7 billion primary supplier agreement with Alcatel to provide network equipment and video system integration services for Project Lightspeed. Alcatel's network equipment includes core network access, aggregation and switching equipment platforms that will provide the Internet Protocol, packet-based network technologies that connect the customers to the video hub offices. Additionally, Alcatel will work with SBC – and now Scientific-Atlanta – to ensure seamless video systems integration.

China's State Council Selects Alcatel NGN

China's State Council Information Office (SCIO) selected Alcatel's Next Generation Network (NGN) solution to upgrade and optimize its communication network.

Alcatel Shanghai Bell will provide the Alcatel 5020 Softswitch to build a nation-wide next-generation network for SCIO, covering more than 50 branches in major cities and provinces including Beijing, Shanghai, Xinjiang and Tibet. The new network will be deployed in conjunction with the Alcatel OmniPCX Enterprise, an integrated communications platform that enables traditional voice telephone systems and IP telephony, as well as user-centric unified communications applications. Upon completion of the project in June 2005, SCIO staff will be able to access new services, including video conferencing, and voice virtual private network (VPN), any time, any place via any terminal, such as the PC, softphone, desk phone, mobile handset and PDAs. Financial terms were not disclosed.

European Commission Recommends Leased Line Price Ceilings

In a bid to boost competition, the European Commission is recommending that its Member States adopt price ceilings for wholesale leased lines that reflect the real cost of supplying them. A report from the Commission recommends "best current practices" in wholesale leased line pricing and provides competitive market benchmark prices for the entire EU.

The report finds that the EU single market is distorted by substantial variations in leased line prices. For a 2 Mbps line, 5 km long, the price in the most expensive Member State is seven times higher than in the cheapest.

"Leased lines are fundamental building blocks for the development of a world class high-speed communications infrastructure in Europe. Competitive pricing of leased lines will expand the range and cut the costs of electronic communications services that are made available to business users and end-users across the EU, and in particular to small and medium-sized enterprises, which have much to gain from lower prices for business services offered by operators making use of these inputs," said Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding.

The new price recommendations cover wholesale leased lines at 64 kbps, 2 Mbps, 34 Mbps and 155 Mbps and for line lengths of up to 2 km, up to 5 km, up to 15 km and up to 50 km.
  • In January 2005, the European Commission recommended that binding delivery deadlines should be introduced for the wholesale leased lines needed by suppliers of high-speed electronic communications services. Leased line delivery times vary substantially across the EU: for 2 Mbps lines, the delivery time in the slowest Member State is five times longer than in the fastest.

NetCentrex Reports 2004 Revenue of EUR 26M, up 30%

NetCentrex, a supplier of softswitching solutions, revenue growth of more than 30% for 2004, with consolidated results totaling over EUR26 Million (US$34 Million). In addition, orders grew more than 80% between 2003 and 2004.

The company said the growth came from new markets such as Eastern and Central Europe, as well as an acceleration of triple play deployments in Western Europe, where its customers are activating more than 4,000 VoIP lines per day. A list of new customers includes Eircom (the incumbent in Ireland), Tiscali, Telefonica Deutschland, HomeNet Communications (a U.S. provider of integrated triple play voice, video and data services), Al-Pi (a Spanish service provider), and Iceland Telecom.

Taiwan's Chunghwa Reaches 3.1 Million DSL Subscribers

Chunghwa Telecom, the incumbent operator in Taiwan, had 3.1 million ADSL users as of 31-Dec 31, 2004, a 26.6% YoY increase. Including dial-up, the total number of Internet subscribers was about 3.8 million. The company is expecting another 650,000 of net new ADSL subscribers in 2005.

Overall, Chunghwa Telecom reported total revenues for year 2004 was NT$185.2 billion (US$, a 1.5% YoY increase. Of this, 38.9% was from fixed-line services, 38.2% from wireless services and 21.2% from Internet and data services. Internet and data revenue for year 2004 increased by 10.5% YoY to approximately NT$39.3 billion.

The total number of mobile subscribers was 8.2 million, a 0.9% YoY decrease that was due to an effort to limit the number of inactive users by lowering the percentage of prepaid subscribers.

Total fixed line revenues for year 2004 declined by 7.0% to NT$72.1 billion, mainly due to fixed-line competition, mobile substitution and a continuous migration of dial-up internet subscribers to ADSL. Chunghwa's total fixed line subscriber base stood at approximately 13.2 million as year end 2004, a 0.8% YoY increase.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

EarthLink Comments on Supreme Court Case

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the cases of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association vs. Brand X Internet Services and FCC vs. Brand X Internet Services. At issue is whether cable operators must open their networks to other ISPs.

Dave Baker, vice president for law and public policy, EarthLink, said "We believe the Supreme Court will affirm the Ninth Circuit's decision. To do otherwise would dismantle the very framework that has allowed the Internet to develop and would limit the promise of new technologies such as voice over IP, video over IP, mobile broadband and advanced communications services and applications. Cable companies built their networks using government-granted monopoly franchises, access to public rights of way and discounted rates for pole attachments. Nonetheless, they now dictate what services, devices and applications companies can offer and consumers can use on those networks. We expect that the Supreme Court will affirm that consumers, and not cable companies, should make those choices."

Union Criticizes Verizon's Reluctance to Integrate Wireless / Wireline Operations

The Communications Workers of America issued a public statement criticizing Verizon Communications for a "failure to fully provide the bundled services that customers want."

In a letter to Carlos Slim Helu, MCI's largest shareholder, CWA President Morton Bahr said that providing fully bundled services is the winning strategy for the communications industry. Noting that Verizon does not bundle wireless with its wireline service for residential customers, Bahr urged MCI shareholders to carefully consider the company's competitive position versus cable providers.

"Being able to offer wireless service, along with DSL, local and long distance telephone and other services, would offer a tremendous advantage over cable competitors, a position Verizon is unable to take advantage of because of its insistence on maintaining "a firewall between its wireless and wireline operations," Bahr said.

Jason Chudnofsky to Head Pulver Events Group

Jason Chudnofsky has joined's Events Group as CEO.

Chudnofsky is known for his role in growing the Comdex tradeshows in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1988 he became President of the Trade Show Division of The Interface Group. In April 1995, when The Softbank Corporation of Japan acquired Comdex, he became President and CEO of Softbank Comdex. His responsibilities continued when ZD Events and Key3Media Events acquired the assets of Comdex. From 1990 - 1995, Mr. Chudnofsky also served as President and CEO of the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. plans to expand its tradeshow, conference and events franchise into new US and global markets. Through the balance of 2005, upcoming events include: VON Canada, VoIP Policy Summit, VON Europe, SIP Summit Summer 2005, VoIP Mission to Israel, VON Australia, Fall VON, and IP-4-IT.

Verilink Enhances Orion 4000 Multiplexer

Verilink has added an E1 to T1 transport card to its Orion 4000 Modular Multiplexer, which used by service providers and large enterprises. The new T2E conversion card offers additional capabilities to extend the reach of E1 services by allowing for data and voice transport over T1 lines.

E1 supports 30 channels of voice or data, whereas T1 supports 24 channels of voice or data. Numerous PBX systems installed in Europe support only the E1 format, limiting their ability to connect to overseas offices established on T1 services. Verilink's new T2E E1 to T1 transport card, designed for integration within the Orion 4000 Modular Multiplexer & Inverse Multiplexer, allows users to convert calls from the originating E1 PBX to either E1 or T1 PBXs depending on the customer's communication topology.

The modular Orion 4000 is available with rack-mountable 12-slot and 5-slot shelves. A variety of modules can be used to deliver T3 or E3 access multiplexing (or inverse multiplexing T1s and E1s), transition between circuit- and cell-based services, or transport data, voice and video over a single DS3 circuit.

Orange Trials UMTS TDD in France with IPWireless

Orange has launched technical and marketing trials of UMTS TDD (TD-CDMA) targeting the enterprise market in Lille, France with equipment supplied by IPWireless. UMTS frequency allocation traditionally comprises a paired band (FDD) and an unpaired band (TDD). Like nearly all UMTS operators, Orange has been allocated, depending on the country, a number of FDD frequencies and a block of TDD frequencies. To date, most UMTS deployments have focused on WCDMA utilizing the paired frequency bands.

Orange's large-scale WCDMA deployment will support delivery of a variety of services including voice, SMS, supplementary services, videophone, and packet data transmission at data rates of 64/128Kbps and 64/384Kbps, higher with the planned FDD band evolution to HSDPA.

BigBand Offer GigE Networked Video Decoding

BigBand Networks introduced a chassis platform for networked Gigabit Ethernet decoding. The BigBand Broadband Real-Time Decoder (BRD210) was developed in collaboration with KTech Telecommunications, a provider of professional digital broadcast and digital headend technologies. The compact chassis receives a gigabit-per-second of MPEG content over IP via an SFP module, and performs decoding for up to 40 analog video outputs with single audio, 20 with dual audio or combinations in between. Modularity allows operators to deploy only the precisely required output capacity. Each module is hot-swappable. The BRD is catered towards leveraging existing network investments by interfacing to already installed analog modulators.

BigBand is also introducing a new card for its company's versatile BMR(Broadband Multimedia-Service Router) that offers integrated decoding, modulation, and up conversion. The card occupies one modular slot in the carrier-class BMR chassis. Each card can receive a gigabit-per-second of content by SFP, and perform decoding of up to six analog channels with modulation and two-to-one up conversion onto three RF ports of two channels each, for a total of up to 48 channels in a single BMR1200 chassis.

Telekom Austria Teams with Alcatel on Triple Play

Telekom Austria has started a pilot project offering fiber-based Triple Play services in the township of Arnoldstein. Alcatel, which is serving as project integrator, has provided its Open Media Suite, NGN portfolio and Fiber to the User (FTTU) solution.

Telekom Austria and the local and provincial governments are pursuing a Public Private Partnership model. Fiber is being deployed to each home alongside new pipes, which will be used for environmentally-friendly heating.

Alcatel's Open Media Suite will be used for video delivery, as well as interactive applications such as Video on Demand or Electronic Program Guides (EPG).

VoIP will be delivered using the Alcatel 5020 Softswitch Call and Session Controller, and the Alcatel 7510 Media Gateway. The solution is designed to extend the current offering by providing new advanced services such as multimedia telephony or conferencing, to be deployed later this year.

Tiscali Italy migrates to Alcatel Open Service Platform

Tiscali has migrated its intelligent network (IN) to the Alcatel 8690 Open Service Platform (OSP). The platform supports a quick time to market of value added services, such as toll-free numbers, prepaid phone card, call screening and prepaid residential telephony. Alcatel will also support Tiscali in the operation of the new service delivery platform from its premises in Vimercate (north of Milan) and in daily assistance and maintenance. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Charter Adds Video Mail for Cable Modem Users

Charter Communications began offering a video mail application at no additional charge to its cable modem customers. Charter Video Mail, which uses Vibe Solutions' Group platform, provides for up to 45 seconds of recording time, with VCR-like (stop/record/preview) functionality. For customers with speeds of 3 Mbps and higher, the service also comes with Greeting Card and Story Teller applications. Greeting Card includes more than 40 different video greeting cards that can be customized with a special message. Story Teller enables a user to assemble and record pictures in a video slideshow to share with friends and family.

For the receiver of video mail, retrieval simply requires clicking on a link. Rather than being stored in the recipient's inbox and taking up capacity, the video mail is stored on a server for a full 30 days.

Telenor to Launch Broadband Telephony

Telenor rolled out a consumer VoIP service for its DSL subscribers priced at NOK 49 (US$7.74) per month, plus NOK 0.15 (US$0.02) for calls to fixed lines in Norway. Calls to mobile numbers and international numbers have the same rates as from traditional fixed lines. Calls to other broadband users are free.

Enterasys and Lucent Partner on Enterprise Security Consulting

Enterasys Networks and Lucent Technologies began offering a joint professional services for delivering secure convergence solutions to enterprise customers. The companies also announced that they have completed Secure Networks certification for Lucent's enterprise VoIP solution. This solution provides the same features and applications found in IP Centrex and IP PBX solutions, as well as applications such as unified communications, collaborative conferencing and location-based services.

Under this agreement, Enterasys will resell Lucent's suite of Bell Labs-developed security consulting and assessment solutions and VoIP readiness assessment to provide a secure environment for enterprise networks migrating or adding VoIP services.

BT Supplies 200-Site Global Network to Volkswagen

BT Infonet was awarded a three-year contract to provide managed network services for Volkswagen AG. Volkswagen is continuing its nearly eight-year partnership with BT Infonet, and has expanded the scope of its contract with nearly all of BT Infonet's services, including Internet, Mobility and MultiMedia Services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Laurel and Telindus Supply VPN Solution for ntl

Laurel Networks and Telindus have delivered a solution that will enable ntl to provide new Ethernet and IP VPN services to its UK business customers. The solution -- a combination of Laurel Networks ST200 and ST50 broadband services routing products and the Laurel Provisioning System -- was delivered and implemented by Telindus, a global network services and solutions provider.

Telindus provided ntl with independent laboratory facilities to test a variety of technology vendor solutions, before selecting Laurel Networks. Telindus then provided a fully-managed service including the installation and commissioning of the Laurel Networks solution as well as providing the on-going support services.

Separately, Laurel Networks announced an expansion of its sales activity in Europe, with offices now in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and the UK. The company has appointed Thomas Schmitt to the position of vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa operations. Schmitt most recently served as the director of business development for Juniper Networks. While at Juniper, he was instrumental in setting up and managing the sales operations for Central and Eastern Europe. Prior to Juniper, Schmitt held various sales roles at Cisco Systems and StrataCom (acquired by Cisco Systems in 1996). Other additions to Laurel Networks' EMEA sales team include: Marco Berkheij, sales director for Northern Europe; and Uwe Wagner, sales engineer. Mr. Berkheij's 20 years of sales experience includes stints at Alcatel and RedBack Networks. Mr. Wagner has over 16 years of experience with firms like Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems.

FCC Seeks Input on Spectrum for Emergency Responders

The FCC is conducting a study to assess the short-term and long-term spectrum needs of emergency response providers. Specifically, the Commission is considering whether to allocate additional portions of the electromagnetic spectrum for Federal, State, and local emergency response providers, including whether or not an additional allocation of spectrum in the 700 megahertz band should be granted by Congress to such emergency response providers.

The FCC is seeking public input regarding the need for, operation, and administration of a potential nationwide interoperable broadband mobile communications network. Comments are due by 28-April-2005.

Microsoft Launches Video Download Site for Mobile Devices

Microsoft launched a subscription-based video download service for Windows Mobile devices such as Portable Media Centers and select Smartphones and Pocket PCs.

Digital videos are downloaded daily to a Windows Media Player 10 library, and then synchronized with Portable Media Centers and other devices. A one-year membership costs $19.95. Some content is offered for free.

Microsoft has some 20 content partners, including CinemaNow, Food Network, FOX Sports and IFILM,,, MSN Music, MTV, Napster, SnapStream Media and TiVo, who have agreed to make video available online specifically formatted for Windows Mobile-based multimedia devices.

Caspian Releases Flow-State Edge Router

Caspian Networks introduced a smaller version of its flow-state router designed for broadband aggregation and peering applications. The new 50 Gbps A50 flow-state router uses the same ASICs, software and line cards as the existing Caspian router, but in a single 6-RU shelf capable of aggregating up to 40 Gigabit Ethernet connections, four 10 Gbps trunks or other combination of interfaces.

Unlike traditional routers, the A50 is able to recognize and route traffic as flows of related packets, not just as individual packets.
Caspian's technology examines each packet entering the router, identifies flows, and then stores to memory the flow's relevant routing information as well as its QoS, loss, delay and jitter characteristics. Flows are identified by the combination of source address, destination address, source port, destination port, and protocol. Subsequent packets in the flow are switched based on the "flow state" data already in memory. By tracking potentially tens of millions of microflows per 10 Gbps interface per second in hardware, Caspian said its Apeiro platform provides deterministic QoS for premium IP traffic that is equivalent to ATM. The ASIC-driven platform is capable of handling flow set-ups significantly faster than the circuit set-up rates typical of ATM and MPLS.

Caspian said its new A50 flow-state router "gives service providers the ability to optimize peering interfaces, implement P2P traffic control, improve the performance of broadband access networks and create an effective and efficient infrastructure for voice and video over IP as well as other real-time services."

The smaller A-50 chassis offers optional dual 120-V AC power supplies and standard dual 48-V DC power. It also features dual redundant application processor cards and a redundant, hot standby management system. Like the existing A120, the A50 supports a variety of optical interfaces, including 1/10 Gigabit Ethernet, OC-192c/STM-64c, OC-48c/STM-16c, and OC-12c/STM-4c. The A50 supports BGP4, IS-IS, and OSPF routing and signaling protocols, with optional support for MPLS, RSVP-TE, LDP, PIM-SM, MBGP and IPv6.

The device is currently in testing by cable operators as a means of aggregating CMTS and by telcos as a means of aggregating DSLAMs. The A50 is generally available and is shipping now. A base system configuration starts at $50,000.
  • In February 2005, Caspian announced that it had been selected by South Korea's Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) to co-develop advanced IP flow state solutions for the nation's Broadband convergence Network (BcN). The project will combine Caspian's flow state technology with ETRI's technical expertise in network control and simplified multi-protocol labeling switching (sMPLS).

  • In January 2005, Northrop Grumman awarded a multi-year contract to Caspian Networks for joint development of a critical element of the space communications system payload for the Air Force's Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT) Space Segment.

Monday, March 28, 2005

U.S. Army Upgrades DNS Infrastructure with Lucent

Lucent Technologies has upgraded the global IP management and Domain Name Service (DNS) infrastructure of the U.S. Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) based in Fort Huachuca, Arizona. NETCOM provides network operations for the Army supporting more than 1.25-million civilian and military users worldwide and provides the underpinning for all of the Army's data, voice and video services.

The Lucent-designed infrastructure is being used to manage more than 1.75 million internet protocol (IP) records and is distributed to more than 300 global servers. The Lucent solution includes software that enables the efficient administration of IP services and is specifically designed for large-scale enterprise customers.

The contract was a part of the DNS-2 project that replaces the entire internal name services solution throughout the Army's infrastructure. Lucent's software has been used to protect their external namespace since the U.S. Army's C2 Protected (C2P) DNS-1 Program in 1998.

MetaSolv Provides Mediation Solution for Bell Canada

Bell Canada has selected MetaSolv as their preferred billing mediation solution for VoIP business services after a rigorous lab trial. The MetaSolv mediation product is a next-generation, convergent mediation solution that collects, aggregates, enhances and distributes data for multiple purposes, including billing, discovery and performance applications. The solution enables operators to quickly implement flexible service pricing plans based on duration, usage, content, events, and services accessed. MetaSolv said its mediation solution supports a carrier's evolution from a circuit to packet-based network, including sheltering the billing system as networks move from legacy per-call CDRs to event-based IPDRs.
  • In March 2004, MetaSolv announced that Bell Canada deployed MetaSolv's multi-service activation solution for next-generation voice and data services.

Terayon Introduces New Wi-Fi-Enabled TJ 855 Cable Modem Gateway

Terayon Communication Systems introduced a cable modem gateway with integrated 802.11g Wi-Fi wireless networking. The device integrates a DOCSIS 2.0 cable modem, 4-port Ethernet router and integrated 802.11g Wi-Fi wireless router. The gateway and its security features can be configured and managed remotely via Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), configuration file or web interface.

WebEx Opens MediaTone Platform to Third Party Developers

WebEx Communications, a provider of on-demand web meeting applications, launched the MediaTone developer program aimed at accelerating the integration of real-time collaboration capabilities into third party applications. The program provides the tools, resources and support developers need to integrate web meeting capabilities into enterprise applications, VoIP platforms and telephony offerings or develop new, customized applications to meet specific industry needs. MediaTone is an open, on-demand web communications platform designed to support collaboration across multiple platforms, devices and computing architectures.

The MediaTone developer program leverages the enhancements made in the third generation of the WebEx MediaTone platform, the patented web communications technology that powers WebEx meeting applications. These enhancements include standards-based platform APIs to connect WebEx applications to enterprise solutions including CRM, business process automation, supply chain management, learning management and audio conferencing.

New Global Telecom, Intrado and Broadsoft Collaborate on Mobile VoIP 911

New Global Telecom (NGT) is working with Intrado and Broadsoft on an end-to-end mobile VoIP 9-1-1 solution that enables end-user managed location updates in near real-time. As part of this agreement, NGT, Intrado and BroadSoft, are collaborating to integrate Intrado's V9-1-1 Mobility Service into BroadSoft's BroadWorks platform. This architecture will enable NGT's customers' end-users to easily self-manage updates to E9-1-1 information in near real-time. The companies said this would enable the correct routing of VoIP 9-1-1 calls from mobile workers to the appropriate public safety answering point on dedicated 9-1-1 trunks.

Verizon Acquires AT&T's Old Headquarters in New Jersey

Verizon Communications will locate operations of its major business units and subsidiaries in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. The operations center will house some 2,800 employees from New Jersey and around the country when fully occupied in about 18 months.

The facility, to be called Verizon Center, is a 1.3 million-square-foot complex of seven interconnected buildings on a 135-acre campus originally built and occupied by AT&T. The facility, which is being acquired from current owner Pfizer, will be home to the leadership teams of Verizon's Domestic Telecom and International units and selected corporate staff and support personnel.

Verizon Wireless, a subsidiary of Verizon Communications, will also be located at the center.

Separately, in a decision announced on Jan. 25, 2005, Verizon will move its corporate headquarters from 1095 Avenue of the Americas to 140 West St. in lower Manhattan. This location will also house the leadership team of Verizon-New York, which serves New York state customers.
  • In July 2002, AT&T sold its headquarters in Basking Ridge, New Jersey to Pharmacia for $200 million.

  • In January 2005, SBC Communications agreed to acquire AT&T in an historic deal valued at approximately $16 billion

Cisco Addresses Federal Continuity of Operations (COOP) Requirements

Cisco Systems introduced an integrated network architecture designed to help U.S. federal-government agencies comply with federal mandates for Continuity of Operations (COOP), which requires agencies to operate fully during and following natural or intentional disasters.

Cisco's VirtualCOOP Solution and MeetingPlace Crisis Management Application uses VPN tunnels across broadband networks to enable offsite agency personnel to remain connected to data centers and their key business applications. These key personnel, thus, are assisted in retaining access to voice, e-mail and video communications and business applications, while management retains secure, centralized control. Cisco's Crisis Management Application allows dispersed disaster-response teams to plan through emergencies and threats. A "dial blast" goes out (up to three numbers each are dialed for predetermined individuals), immediately engaging response teams in an integrated voice, data and video conference with participation limited to invitees.

Cisco said it began development of its COOP architecture specifically in response to the government mandate detailed in Federal Preparedness Circular 65 (FPC 65). Cisco's COOP architecture provides resilience at four interdependent layers:

  • Network -- through component-, device-, solution- and system-level redundancy, as well as high-availability networking technologies and best practices in network design and operations;

  • Application -- through business-ready data center solutions, application- and content-delivery services, storage networking and data replication;

  • Communications -- through distributed, central office-based gateways and distributed call centers for IP Communications with integrated messaging, Intermediate Session Routing (ISR) services and crisis management; and

  • Workforce -- through wired and wireless integration, "office-in-a-box" capabilities and telework solutions.

Brix Networks Secures $5 Million in Latest Round of Funding

Brix Networks raised $5 million in fifth round of venture capital funding for its VoIP performance management and service assurance solutions. The latest series of financing was led by new Brix investor Castile Ventures, and also included long-time company backers Charles River Ventures, ComVentures, Fidelity Ventures, Partech International, and STAR Ventures. Brix has now raised approximately $60 million since its inception in July 1999.

China Unicom Deploys Acme Packet Session Border Controllers

China Unicom, one of the largest service providers in China, is deploying Acme Packet's Net-Net session border controllers in its national, multiservice converged network that connects residential and business customers. Deployment of Acme Packet's session border controllers is underway, with a target of nearly 50 cities to be installed over the next couple of months. Security features like access control and network topology hiding help protect China Unicom's own network from attack while ensuring the highest quality services to the end user. Hosted NAT traversal and multiprotocol support with interworking functionality will be key features in the second phase of the project. These features will allow China Unicom to maximize its service reach and deliver hosted IP services to both business and residential subscribers without the need for additional equipment on the customer premise.

Acme Packet's Net-Net products are being integrated with China Unicom's existing IP network and the next generation softswitch platform from Alcatel Shanghai Bell to offer more enhanced services. Alcatel Shanghai Bell is a strategic partner of Acme Packet.

NTT Com Deploys Sycamore Networks' Universal Service Card

NTT Communications (NTT Com) has deployed Sycamore Networks' Universal Service Card (USC) in its nationwide optically switched network in support of Ethernet services.

NTT Com's intelligent optically switched network is built on Sycamore's SN 3000 and SN 16000 optical switches. The USC is a modular service interface card for the SN 16000 intelligent optical switch that enables a variety of interface types, port speeds, and transport options in a single line card. The USC's modular architecture can support SONET/SDH, Gigabit Ethernet, and 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces.

Nortel Supplies Voice Security to U.S. Military

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has chosen a Nortel solution to enhance its Defense Switched Network (DSN). Nortel and DoD's Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) -- with help from systems integrators General Dynamics and CSC -- will leverage existing communications equipment, upgrade hardware and add new software to transform the entire DoD managed voice network into a private network under complete DoD control. The new hardware and software will create a multifunction switch with full tandem and end office capability. It will support a full range of military-specific requirements including Multi-level Precedence and Preemption (MLPP) service, which ensures that calls are put through in order of priority in times of crisis. In addition to enhancing security, the network is expected to reduce operational costs. This has been achieved through a collaborative effort between DISA and the U.S. Air Force Communications Agency (AFCA). Financial terms were not disclosed.

Cedar Point and LongBoard Demonstrate Cable Voice Interoperability

LongBoard, a supplier of open mobile convergence software for wireline carriers, and Cedar Point Communications, which offers packet-based voice switching technologies for the cable industry, demonstrated VoIP interoperability over Hybrid-Fiber Coax (HFC) networks. The companies said their joint solution will allow cable operators to provide truly converged voice offerings -- including a unified set of call features.

By integrating Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) with cable telephony solutions, cable operators could offer customers a wireless service that seamlessly hands off calls across both local WiFi and public cellular networks, using one dual-mode phone and one phone number, as part of a quadruple play of mobile voice, fixed voice, data, and video. Cedar Point's SAFARI C(Cubed)-LMAP solution enables cable operators offering mobility services to maintain control of their customers' calls. LMAP is a SIP-based server-to-handset software solution that delivers a seamless set of voice services over all networks. In addition, the solution capitalizes on SAFARI C(Cubed)'s existing integration with cable system operators' back office systems, accelerating time to market for converged services.

Ericsson SuppliesEthernet/ ADSL2+ in Colombia

Ericsson will deliver its ADSL2+ Public Ethernet Broadband Access solution to Telebucaramanga, a regional operator in Colombia. Ericsson will assist Telebucaramanga to build an advanced broadband access network for triple play services. The contract includes an end-to-end broadband access solution, comprising HomeGateways, IP-DSLAMs, Metro Network and associated management systems and services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

MCI Accepts Sweeten Bid from Verizon

MCI's Board of Directors accepted a revised $7.6 billion acquisition offer from Verizon. The new bid from Verizon was nearly $1 billion greater than its previous offer but still under the $8.45 billion offer from Qwest Communications.

Under the revised proposal, MCI may be required to pay Verizon a termination fee in the event the agreement is terminated. Under specified circumstances, this termination fee has been increased to $240 million from $200 million and reimbursement to Verizon for its expenses up to $10 million.

In making its determination, MCI said its Board considered the following factors, among others: the changing competitive nature of the telecommunications industry; increasing need for scale and comprehensive wireless capabilities; access economics; the level and achievability of synergies; strength of capital structure; the ongoing ability to sustain network service quality and invest in new capabilities; and ensuring ongoing customer confidence among MCI's large enterprise and government customers.

In a statement, Qwest said "We respect the right of Verizon to change the composition and value of their bid, but we still believe our proposal creates superior value for shareowners. We are going to assess the situation and determine what is in the best interests of shareowners, customers and employees."
  • MCI traces its lineage to Microwave Communications of America Inc., which was founded by Jack Goeken in 1963. In 1968, the company was joined by Bill McGowan, who led the regulatory fight to challenge AT&T in long distance communications.

Juniper to Acquire Kagoor Networks for Session Controllers

Juniper Networks agreed to acquire Kagoor Networks, a supplier of session border controllers (SBCs), for $67.5 million in cash, plus options and certain other incentives and equity compensation.

Kagoor, which is based in San Mateo, California, with R&D in Herzelia, Israel, has supplied its VoiceFlow SBC products to over 100 carriers worldwide. The company has strategic partnerships with Lucent, Siemens and NEC.

Juniper said the acquisition extends its strategy to bring secure and assured networking to customers worldwide through rich traffic processing. In particular, the session border controllers are being used by network operators to deploy quality VoIP and other rich media services by solving NAT traversal problems and providing interoperability between various protocols. Kagoor's VoiceFlow supports all major VoIP protocols (SIP, H.323, MGCP). Juniper sees SBCs as one of the key building blocks required for infranets. Also, Juniper will leverage the acquisition to establish an Israeli R&D center.

Jim Greenway

Kagoor Networks


The Evolution of Session Border Controllers

border controllers have matured to play an essential role in delivering
secure and seamless VoIP service. Most VoIP has been deployed in
"islands", either within enterprises deploying VoIP on a LAN or by a
carrier using it for its internal network transport. In both cases, the
VoIP traffic terminates at a gateway and is converted to PSTN as it leaves
the enterprise or the carrier's network. Session border controllers (SBCs)
were designed to connect these islands and create an end-to-end VoIP

Sunday, March 27, 2005

ARRIS Gains Euro-DOCSIS 2.0 Qualification

ARRIS was awarded EUR-DOCSIS 2.0 qualification for its Cadant C4 CMTS in tComLabs' European Certification Wave 18.

Force10 Debuts Fixed Configuration Data Center Switches

Force10 Networks ntroduced its fixed configuration S50 Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet data center switch. The Force10 S50 delivers line-rate high density Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet to the server edge of high performance data centers. The one rack unit S50 supports 48 line-rate 10/100/1000 ports and two optional 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplinks.

The S50 features 192 Gbps of switching capacity. Network operators can stack up to eight Force10 S50s to create a single virtual switch, simplifying network management. To increase resiliency in high performance environments, the Force10 S50 supports a full complement of Layer 3 features, enabling multiple redundant paths through the network. Additionally, the S50 leverages a suite of resiliency features, including pre-provisioning, hot insertion and removal of stacked switches, protection against stack splits in the event of a single switch failure, advanced link aggregation and 10 Gbps of dedicated bandwidth for stacking.

The Force10 S50 data center switch has a list price of $8,000 and will be available in April 2005. An optional 2-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet XFP Module carries a list price of $6,500. A Layer 3 Software Upgrade is priced at $2,000.


Pure Networks Enhances its Home Networking OS

Pure Networks, a start-up based in Seattle, released a new version of its Network Magic all-in-one home networking software. Network Magic is software for consumers that resides on each computer within a home network, connecting and unifying the many different PCs, routers, gateways, and networked devices into a seamless home network. To manage and repair the home network, Network Magic shows a visual Network Map of all computers and devices on the home network, making it easy for the average PC user to understand and run his or her own home network. When installed, Network Magic automatically configures a Windows 98 and above PC to access and share with others. A "Repair" button and the Network Map help to eliminate a common frustration of broken internet connections by allowing anyone to easily fix the Internet or their home network when trouble occurs. Network Magic's Network Map will also show when Intruders are on your home network and provide clear steps to help secure it.

Pure Networks said it now has copies deployed in some 2 million homes.

Cavium Announces Certification of FIPS 140-2 SSL and IPsec Cards

Cavium Networks' NITROX XL NFB Acceleration cards received the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) FIPS 140-2 Level 2 and 3 certification. The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 is the U.S. government's stringent security standard for cryptographic modules. Cavium said its accelerator cards are being integrated into a broad range of networking products including SSL enabled L4-L7 switches, SSL VPNs, application aware gateways and integrated security appliances.

Cavium Networks' NITROX XL NFB FIPS 140-2 family includes three different cards with 64-bit/66MHz PCI interfaces, housed in a secure, tamper-proof enclosure. The NITROX XL NFB family ranges in performance from 3500 to 10000 RSA OPS and up to 500 Mbps bulk encryption and SSL record processing performance. The cards provide bulk encryption acceleration for DES, 3DES, AES and ARC-4. Cavium Networks NITROX XL NFB also includes secure storage for 100,000 concurrent SSL sessions and 4096 private server keys. A serial interface to PIN entry devices (PEDs) is provided as a separate trusted-path administration interface for FIPS Level 3 configurations.

Wave7 Announces Single Fiber FTTP Network in Japan

Wave7 Optics announced the completion a "single-fiber" FTTP network in Japan providing the triple play of voice, RF video and data services. Single-fiber systems are less expensive to deploy and maintain than dual-fiber systems, which load upstream and downstream traffic onto separate fibers.

Undertaken as a joint project between the municipality of Taki-Cho (Shimane prefecture) and Izumo Cable Vision in October 2004, the $6.2 million project covers a region of 44 sq. km and now connects more than 1,300 homes. This figure represents more than 90% of the municipality's homes and all Taki-Cho residents will be connected soon. The municipality and Izumo embarked upon this project because, for one reason, most of the region is in a "blind spot" to terrestrial digital broadcast television.

Current services include 35 television and two FM radio channels, symmetrical high-speed Internet connections, an interactive community teletext system and SIP-based VoIP, which means Izumo can offer the full complement of telephone features such as call forwarding, caller ID and "follow me." Wavet's Last Mile Link system also supports MGCP and NCS (Media Gateway Control Protocol and Network-based Call Signaling).

Yagi is responsible for the deployment of Wave7's "Last Mile Link" network equipment (from central office to customer premises) and the rest of the FTTP infrastructure, including the multi-layer switches, SIP server and video headend equipment.

BellSouth Offers $9.95 DSL Promotion

BellSouth announced a special three-month promotion whereby months new customers can get 1.5 Mbps DSL service for an introductory price as low as $9.95 per month with purchase of the BellSouth Complete Choice plan and the BellSouth Unlimited long distance plan. All new FastAccess DSL customers receive a free modem or home networking gateway and free activation after rebate and with a 12-month commitment, and customers who order online get a $50 rebate.

BellSouth ended 2004 with two million DSL customers and experienced its largest DSL growth quarter in the fourth quarter of 2004 with 224,000 DSL customer additions.

UNH-IOL Completes Enterprise LAN Triple Play Tests

The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) completed a multi-vendor interoperability test of voice, video and data technology for corporate LANs. A total of 13 companies participated in the week-long event, which tested VoIP, VoIP-over-wireless, voice clients (software and hardware), session initiation protocol (SIP) proxies, PDAs, bridging protocols, call generation/termination, voice quality analysis, routers, multiple wireless access points, laptop, streaming media servers and a mix of security protocols.

The test marks the first time that three distinct UNH-IOL testing groups, the laboratory's bridging, wireless and VoX consortiums, were involved in a single event. In addition to running test events such as the triple play enterprise security and services group test, these groups perform industry testing year-round, saving companies money and time to market by providing one-on-one product testing, debugging and troubleshooting in a leading-edge test bed resulting in detailed, confidential reports.

UNH-IOL expects this type of testbed to be a repeated event.

Participating companies included: Aruba, Azimuth, Cisco, ClearSight, Dell, Empirix, Fluke Networks, Hirschman, IBM, Ixia, Sifos, Spirent Communications and Veriwave.

Full details of the test, including a network diagram, are online.

Tellabs to Resell Occam's Broadband Loop Carrier Products

Tellabs and Occam Networks announced a strategic alliance giving Tellabs exclusive rights to market, sell, and support Occam Networks' Broadband Loop Carrier products to select large North American local exchange carriers. Specifically, Tellabs has licensed Occam's Ethernet transport technologies for integration into its FiberDirect portfolio. Occam gains access to Tellabs' cabinet products, enabling the company to provide new and existing IOC customers with more deployment options for delivering services over copper access networks and to evolve to packet-based fiber networks.

Occam Networks' second-generation Broadband Loop Carrier simplifies the access network by consolidating multiple functions into a single network element that uses Ethernet as the core transport and service delivery technology. The Occam Broadband Loop Carrier also transports all VoIP to simplify the transition to next-generation switching technologies while supporting traditional Class 5 switching and POTS. The loop carrier system incorporates high-bandwidth Ethernet transport, integrated software features including IGMP routing on every blade and a series of video service management tools, and ADSL2Plus technology. Occam also features an Intelligent Blade Interconnect Architecture (IBIA) supporting low, medium or high capacity configurations. The blades are deployed in all configurations in both the remote terminal and the central office to enable universal sparing, lower cost-of-platform deployment and simplified training and operations management.

Separately, Occam Networks announced that it has completed the private placement portion of its Series A-2 Preferred Stock Financing. On March 24, 2005, Occam issued 545,979 shares of Series A-2 Preferred Stock for cash proceeds of $4.925 million and conversion of outstanding principal and interest under a promissory note totaling $534,790. The shares sold at the final closing were sold to existing venture capital investors and a new strategic investor.
  • Occam Networks added 31 new customers in 2004 for its Ethernet and IP-based loop carrier equipment.

FCC Rules States Cannot Force Bells to Provide Standalone DSL

The FCC ruled that Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Georgia and other state telephone commissions cannot require incumbent carriers to sell DSL service to consumers who have opted to purchase traditional voice service from a CLEC.

For several years, BellSouth has implemented throughout its operating region a policy not to sell DSL service to end user customers purchasing voice services from competitive LECs utilizing UNE loops. The FCC ruled that a state commission may not require an incumbent local exchange carrier (LEC) to provide DSL over the same unbundled network element (UNE) loop facility that a competitive LEC uses to provide voice services to that end user. The FCC reasoned that state decisions that impose such an obligation are inconsistent with and substantially prevent the implementation of the Commission's federal unbundling rules and policies set forth in its Triennial Review Order.

FCC Commissioners Michael J. Copps and Jonathan S. Adelstein dissented, saying that the ruling "unwisely flashes the green light for broadband tying arrangements." A tying arrangement occurs when a seller conditions the availability of one product on the buyer's purchase of a second product. "If it is permissible to deny consumers DSL if they do not also order analog voice service, what stops a carrier from denying broadband service to an end-user who has cut the cord and uses only a wireless phone? What prevents a carrier from refusing to provide DSL service to a savvy consumer who wants stand-alone broadband only for VoIP?"

In a statement, Jonathan Banks, BellSouth's vice president federal executive and regulatory affairs, said "This FCC order continues progress on clearing out regulatory underbrush that handicaps rolling out broadband. By affirming a single national policy in this area, this FCC action will increase the speed and efficiency of bringing to consumers new and innovative broadband service offerings over wireline networks. This order is an important step in achieving the President's goal of increased broadband deployment. This action reaffirms the FCC's triennial review decision that the FCC, not state regulators, decides what network elements must be unbundled."http://www.fcc.gov

Extreme Networks Offers Switches for IP Telephony

Extreme Networks introduced a new family of Layer 3 fixed Gigabit Ethernet switches designed for IP telephony, wireless and converged applications. The new Summit 400-24 family of switches delivers chassis-like availability with new "UniStack" stacking technology that incorporates Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) for simplifying device discovery and Extreme's "AccessAdapt" technologies to deliver native wireless LAN and IP telephony support.

The UniStack technology allows for up to eight Summit switches to be managed as one device, with throughput of 40 Gbps per switch. To further simplify configuration and management, Extreme Networks is now offering LLDP with its switches to automate the discovery of IP telephony devices, wireless access points and other Ethernet switches. This simplifies troubleshooting while allowing Extreme Networks' EPICenter management suite to discover and maintain accurate network topologies in multi-vendor environments.

The Summit 400-24p features Power over Ethernet (PoE) delivering 15.4 watts of power to every port along with optional redundant power supplies featuring instantaneous power fail-over that is transparent to users.

Extreme Networks is furthering support for its UAA wireless solution by extending its AccessAdapt technology to the Summit 400-24 switches. AccessAdapt allows the Altitude thin Access Points (APs) to automatically gain its identity and configuration characteristics from the Ethernet port. To enhance security, once unplugged, the AP does not store any critical network data.

The company said IP telephony applications running on the Summit 400 switches are enhanced with policy management capabilities including end-to-end QoS for prioritizing applications. Network authentication capabilities provide consistent security, over wired and wireless, for every individual and a diverse range of networked devices.

The new Summit 400-24 switch family supports Layer 3 routing capabilities including OSPF, VRRP and ESRP. Summit switches also come with standard support for Extreme Networks' Ethernet Automatic Protection Switching (EAPS), which delivers sub-50 millisecond service recovery should physical network connections be cut or interrupted.

The new Summit 400-24p and Summit 400-24t switches are available in April. Pricing begins at $4,495.00.

VoIP Security Alliance Elects Board

The Voice over IP Security Alliance (VOIPSA) elected the following officers for its Board of Directors.

  • Chairman, David Endler, TippingPoint

  • Treasurer, Anne L. Coulombe, Enterasys Networks

  • Secretary and Education/Outreach Chair, Jonathan Zar, SonicWALL

  • Best Practices Committee Chair, Jeffrey Stutzman, PricewaterhouseCoopers

  • Security Requirements Committee Chair, Andrew Graydon, BorderWare Technologies

  • Security Research Committee Chair, Ofir Arkin, Insightix

  • Testing Committee Chair, Brian Tolly, Spirent Communications

VOIPSA is an open group with the purpose of improving the public awareness of issues and best practices for security and privacy of Voice over IP, and is inviting participation in the new projects.

Juniper Partners with Exent Tech. on Broadband Games

Juniper Networks and Exent Technologies have teamed up to deliver an integrated service infrastructure that enables broadband service providers (BSPs) to offer premium high-speed games delivery. The combined solution provides dynamic, application-driven service quality upgrades to generate compelling experiences for BSP game subscribers with an efficient, intelligent allocation of network resources.

Exent provides secure streaming of gaming and application software. The application streaming technology allows users to enjoy quick time-to-play without downloading a full game to their PC.

The joint solution leverages Juniper Networks' SDX Service Deployment System. The SDX offers a suite of service creation and management tools such as third-party application interfaces, network-wide admission control, dynamic policy generation, and accounting information. The SDX can provision network resources in real time, based upon specific applications and subscriber profiles, over a wide range of broadband technologies. It allows for the on-demand provisioning of key service parameters such as QoS and bandwidth allocation.

Ikanos Exceeds 5 Million Port Shipments

Ikanos Communications announced that shipments of its Fiber-Fast Broadband chipsets have exceeded 5 million ports worldwide since volume production began in 2002. Carriers in Korea and Japan are now deploying equipment based on the fourth-generation Ikanos solutions, and carriers in Europe and North America are evaluating Ikanos chipsets as they plan deployment of new broadband services.
  • In February 2005, Ikanos Communications announced a programmable chipset capable of delivering speeds of up to 100 Mbps in both upstream and downstream directions over a single copper line at distances under 3 Kft (0.9km). The increased bandwidth capabilities are attained using advanced signal processing techniques and extended frequency spectrum -- up to 30 MHz, compared with 12 MHz in VDSL and 2 MHz in ADSLx. The rollout include a chipset designed for Optical Network Units (ONUs) and Optical Line Terminals (OLTs), and another designed for Subscriber Located Equipment (SLE) and Optical Network Terminals (ONTs). Both products, which are part of Ikanos' Fx family of chipsets, support symmetric bandwidth of up to 100 Mbps in 64 Kbps increments. A carrier would use existing copper pairs extending from the ONTs to deliver high bandwidth services.

State University of NY Deploys 4,000 Cisco IP Phones

The State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland has deployed more than 4,000 Cisco Unity unified messaging voice-mail boxes and more than 4,000 Cisco IP phones as part of a complete network overhaul undertaken by Ronco Communications, a Cisco Silver Certified channel partner.

Ronco Communications recommended that SUNY Cortland replace its existing PBX with a complete Cisco IP Communications (IPC) system, including replacement of their current data infrastructure with a redesigned Cisco Catalyst switching infrastructure. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

SingTel Offers VOD a-la-Carte

Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) began offering its DSL customers more than 25 channels of new and exclusive video-on-demand (VOD) content.

The VOD content is available to SingTel's 1500kbps and 3500 kbps residential broadband subscribers. They can access any of the VOD websites via the IDEAS Video-On-Demand portal. Subscription for individual channels starts at S$5.99 per month.

SingTel is working with M2B World, a leading US-based provider of entertainment and education on-demand content, to provide the content from four broadband streaming websites designed and programmed by M2B World.

BT Delivers MPLS based Broadcast Network for ITV

BT is providing an integrated broadcast video, voice and data MPLS- based network for Meridian, a regional broadcast company within ITV. This is the first element in the implementation of ITV's nationwide MPLS network, due to be completed throughout the first half of 2005.
The new network, which replaces an ATM network, will transport broadcast quality video, file transfer, voice, and IT traffic between ITV's studios.

Moxi Adds Telephony to Home Media Center

Digeo has added a fully integrated telephony application to its Moxi Media Center software platform for cable operators. Moxi Telephone can be added with a software upgrade that requires no new equipment or phone wiring. Additional features, such as caller ID, call logging, the ability to listen to voicemail messages, answer incoming calls, assign caller ID images, and flag and/or re-direct specific calls for transfer to external numbers or voicemail will also soon be made available through Moxi Telephone.

Digeo is partnering with leading switch and service providers such as Cedar Point Communications. Current Moxi partners are planning trials and deployments of the Moxi Telephone application as early as this summer. The company said the telephony is an example of how the Moxi Media Center offers subscriber value beyond DVR capabilities.
  • In April 2004, Charter Communications began offering the Motorola Broadband Media Center (BMC) with Digeo's Moxi Service in Charter's Rochester, Minnesota market. The Moxi service is also offered in 9 other Charter markets. Adelphia also offers Moxi in many of its markets.

  • Paul G. Allen founded Digeo in 1999. In the spring of 2002, Moxi merged with Digeo to provide advanced media center platforms and iTV services.

Samsung Unveils Latest Horizontal LCD Phone

Samsung Electronics launched an upgraded version of its horizontal LCD phone, a new form-factor introduced by the company last year. The pivotal LCD screen which allows users to view images and video files horizontally. The SCH-V600 features a more compact design, a 1.3 megapixel camera and external transflash memory chip. The phone will be available in Korea at the end of this month.

Riverstone Settles Noteholder Litigation

Riverstone Networks announced an agreement to settle its pending noteholder litigation. Riverstone will offer to redeem up to $65,875,000 of the outstanding $131,750,000 in notes from current noteholders, at face value, with no premium. The Company also agreed to reimburse $675,000 in attorneys' fees and administrative costs incurred by the noteholders as a result of the litigation. In exchange, the majority noteholders who initiated the litigation have agreed to waive the alleged default on which they based their claims. The majority noteholders have also agreed to a full release of the claims asserted against the company, which prevents their claims from being asserted again at a future date.

Navini Announces First Commercial 2.3GHz Net in the U.S.

MegaBroadband of Massachusetts is launching the first commercial use of the 2.3GHz WCS spectrum in the U.S. using equipment from Navini Networks. MegaBroadband's initial network will support up to 3000 users with expansion plans to serve over 10,000 in the area. Navini said it has the only FCC certified product in 2.3GHz spectrum today.

MCI Discussions Continue with Qwest

Verizon Communications agreed that MCI may engage in further discussions with Qwest Communications through March 28.

DiStream Launches Full Screen VOD Below 1 Mbps

DiStream launched a streaming video on demand service that delivers full screen resolution video at under 1 Mbps. The new "Movie xStream" uses standard encoding along with patent-pending technologies for pre-and-post-processing of the video stream. The company said it is working directly with Hollywood studios.

DiStream is based in Jacksonville, Florida.

Cisco Supplies IP Backbone in Ukraine

Ukrtelecom, the largest national telecommunications operator in Ukraine, is rolling out a nationwide Cisco IP Next Generation Network (NGN). Working with Cisco Silver Certified channel partner, Priocom, Ukrtelecom has completed the upgrade of its backbone network connecting Kyiv to five regional centers and implemented VoIP termination and origination services.

Ukrtelecom is currently extending its metropolitan ring infrastructure using Cisco Metro Ethernet solutions to deliver Ethernet services and provide broadband aggregation to support broadband services to over 150,000 users. The company is also using Cisco Aironet wireless technology to provide wireless Internet access throughout Ukraine with the commercial launch of its Radiospot project in October 2004.

As part of the E-Ukraine program launched by the Ukrainian government, Ukrtelecom is aiming to deliver an additional 35,000 broadband access lines in 2005 to bring the total number of broadband access ports to 40,000.

Broadwing Celebrates Fourth Anniversary of the ULH All-Optical Network

Broadwing Communications marked the fourth anniversary of the completion of its nationwide, All-Optical Ultra-Long Haul Network. Broadwing's initial turn-up of the AON began in late 2000 and was completed in the first quarter of 2001. The network includes numerous industry firsts, such as the first all-optical switch, 100% reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexers, terrestrial Raman amplifiers, and ultra-long haul transmitters and receivers. Most initial services were concentrated on long distance voice and traditional data services at the OC-48 rate being routinely transported over 3,000 km without regeneration. Now, the network plays host to evolving new services, such as high-definition video, converged network and VoIP, on OC-192 rate wavelengths all riding over the same fiber and distances as the OC-48 waves.

Cisco Systems Completes Acquisition of Airespace

Cisco Systems completed the acquisition of privately held Airespace, Inc. of San Jose, California. Airespace is a provider of Wireless Local Area Networking (WLAN) systems for enterprises and commercial customers. The $450 million deal was first announced in January.

Airespace's product portfolio includes WLAN controllers, Access Points, WLAN Management and Location Software, and Security capabilities, including IDS.

With the completion of the acquisition, the Airespace team will become a part of Cisco's Wireless Networking Business Unit under vice presidents Brett Galloway and David Leonard.

Ericsson and Siemens Reach Push-to-Talk Interoperability

Ericsson and Siemens Communications completed interoperability tests between Siemens push to talk handsets and Ericsson infrastructure (IMS system including push to talk server). Recent testing between Ericsson infrastructure and Siemens mobile devices were carried out with two currently offered push to talk enabled devices, the CX70 and C70 which are commercially available. Siemens plans to offer ten different handsets supporting push-to-talk this year.

The companies said this major step will significantly expand the customer base for operators planning to offer standard-based push. It also proves the two global mobile communications suppliers' commitment to open standards.

Ericsson's push to talk solution is based on IMS and complies with the existing Push to talk over Cellular, (PoC) specifications to ensure interoperability and will comply with OMA PoC specifications when available. Ericsson's IMS system also supports other fixed and mobile services such as Combinational Services (talking and sharing various media at the same time), IP Centrex etc. Ericsson conducts interoperability testing of push to talk/IMS handsets through its Multi Vendor Terminal Verification program that is open for any vendor.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Skype Launches New Version for Windows

Skype released a new Windows version 1.2 (v 1.2) featuring a centralized Contacts list, which allows users access to their list of contacts from multiple devices from wherever they connect to Skype, and a new 'Getting Started Wizard' for importing contacts from Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, MSN Messenger and Opera. In earlier versions of Skype, the contacts lists was stored locally; the new central contacts list expands user options and allow one to Skype with their existing contacts from multiple locations and platforms.

Skype now has more than 31 million registered users and is adding more than 160,000 new users per day. The company said more than 6 billion minutes of Skype calls have been made by users around the world to date using its software.

Irish Broadband Expands WiMax-Ready Net with Alvarion

Irish Broadband has ordered an additional $4.3 million in Alvarion equipment, including its license-exempt, BreezeACCESS VL, BreezeMAX 3500, its WiMAX-ready platform, and WALKair products, to be deployed during the coming year. These orders enable Irish Broadband to expand its broadband wireless networks that provide high speed internet services throughout Ireland.

Since 2002, Irish Broadband has been expanding its wireless broadband network using various Alvarion products in both the licensed and license-exempt spectrums. In November 2004, Irish Broadband added
BreezeMAX 3500, Alvarion's WiMaX-ready platform, extending coverage to other cities, including Dundalk, Drogheda, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford.

Broadcom Introduces 2.5 Gigabit PCI Express Controller

Broadcom began sampling the first 2.5 Gbps controller as part of its NetXtreme II family of C-NICs (converged network interface controllers). Key features of the C-NIC line include TCP/IP offload engine, iSCSI, and Remote Direct Memory Access capability.

The new 2.5 Gbps Ethernet controller, which is optimized for embedded blade server applications, more than doubles the throughput of standard Gigabit networking while improving overall CPU utilization by up to five times. Significantly, it enables up to four separate network fabrics found inside a blade server to be converged over standard Ethernet. The controller is positioned as a cost-point replacement for existing 1 Gigabit Ether implementations.

Broadcom said current blade servers rely on up to four highly specialized fabrics to support the four data types that blade servers require to operate efficiently: storage, clustering, management and data networking. To date, the only way to effectively implement blade servers required utilizing specialized network fabrics for each network type. This multi-fabric approach drastically increased overall system cost and compromised the overall value of the blade server implementation. The new NetXtreme II C-NIC enables OEMs to design-in a 2.5 Gbps device to perform all of the networking I/O functions over a single, unified Ethernet fabric. This eliminates the need for specialized networks, fundamentally changing the way that blade servers can be built.

The new NetXtreme II BCM5708S represents the second generation of C-NIC silicon solutions from Broadcom.

Remote Direct Memory Access, which is an advanced feature for memory-to-memory transfers in high-performance workgroup clusters, could provide up to an order of magnitude improvement over standard Gigabit Ethernet connections, thereby competing with Infiniband and other such implementations.

DARPA Awards Network Optimization Contract to Lockheed Martin

the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded an 18-month, $3.75-million contract to Lockheed Martin to significantly improve the performance of defense computer applications that degrade due to constantly changing network conditions, such as those occurring on the battlefield. The program also aims to increase by 60 times the availability of those applications to the warfighter. If all development phases are completed and options exercised, the program could be worth up to $10.6 million.

Lockheed Martin said its Synthesizing Adaptive Protocols by Selective Enumeration (SYNAPSE) program will deliver intelligent network sensing, learning, and reasoning technologies to stabilize the performance of collaborative applications operating on unreliable network infrastructures. By intelligently optimizing protocols despite network instability, SYNAPSE is expected to enable smooth, near-optimal performance.

SYNAPSE is a program within DARPA's Situation-Aware Protocols in Edge Network Technologies (SAPIENT) initiative. Teammates are Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems and Solutions, Cornell University, Drexel University, and Architecture Technology Corporation.

Hungary's Kabelkon Selects Motorola's Digital Video System

Motorola will supply an end-to-end digital video solution for Hungary's first major digital cable TV (CATV) system. The six operators supporting this initiative are Pr-Telecom Rt, Hirsat-2000 Kft, Szarvasi Informatika, Juhasz Antenna Kft, Lat-Sat Kft and Dunakanyar Informatika. The system will be delivered to operators by Motorola's Hungarian partner and distributor Kabelkon Kft.

The new cable system will use Motorola's DVi1000 set-top terminals to provide digital video entertainment services in subscribers' homes and Motorola's MediaCipher conditional access solution. Motorola and Kabelkon are currently collaborating to enable the Hungarian regional operators to deliver data services using Motorola's BSR range of CMTS solutions and the SB5100 line cable modems. This new system is also capable of delivering VoIP.

XConnect Extends VoIP Interconnect Service to North America

London-based XConnect, which interconnects Voice over Broadband operators (VoBBs), is launching its service in North America. XConnect's service simplifies interconnection between VoBBs by overcoming the principal issues associated with VoIP peering, including numbering, interoperability and security. XConnect has signed Yak Communications as a founder Alliance member and iBasis as a founder Carrier member.

XConnect is also partnering with NexTone Communications to provide the first certified XConnect-Ready VoIP session border controller.


Transmode and Lumentis to Merge, Targeting Metro DWDM

Transmode Systems AB and Lumentis AB, both start-ups based in Stockholm, will merge to create a larger company focused on metro WDM components. The new company will use the Transmode name.

Through the merger, which is effective immediately, Transmode has become a major supplier to telecommunications operators, MSOs, systems integrators, enterprises, utilities, public institutions and OEM partners worldwide. The new organization also has stronger financial backing, with Transmode having closed a $15 million financing round last December and Lumentis raising $9 million in June 2004. The total investment to date in both companies is $81 million, and existing investors Amadeus Capital Partners, POD Holding, HarbourVest, European Equity Partners.

Ikanos Builds its Management Team

Ikanos Communications announced the appointment of three vice presidents and an assistant vice president to its management team.

  • Dean Grumlose was named vice president of marketing. Grumlose previously held executive and marketing positions at Azanda Network Devices, PMC-Sierra, Conexant, Velio, and AMD. At PMC-Sierra, he was responsible for Voice over IP (VoIP), switch fabric, network processing, and traffic management product lines.

  • Chris Smith was named vice president of human resources. Previously, Smith was vice president of human resources at Tularik Inc.

  • Derek Obata was promoted to vice president of worldwide sales. Obata, formerly vice president of sales Asia Pacific, will lead the sales organization and be responsible for developing sales and managing the operations of Ikanos' worldwide sales force.

  • The company also named Biswa Ghosh as assistant vice president of systems engineering. Ghosh was previously director of engineering at Brocade Communications Systems. Prior to Brocade, Ghosh held senior-level management positions at Force10 Networks, IoSpan Wireless, Glenayre Technologies, and Wireless Access.

Casema Leverages Motive Software for Customer Support

Casema, the leading cable provider in the Netherlands, is using software from Motive to provide premium management features to its residential broadband service. Available to more than 270,000 subscribers, the self-help service eliminates or dramatically simplifies problem resolution tasks for customers and customer service representatives (CSRs). Casema is currently considering the addition of new functionality, including support for wireless home networking and VOIP, both of which are expected to be introduced this year.

Ericsson Supplies Softswitch in Malta

Maltacom, the leading telecommunications operator in Malta, has contracted Ericsson for a total upgrade of their fixed network to a softswitched solution. Under the agreement, Ericsson will upgrade Maltacom's core network from circuit-switched technology, based on AXE-10 exchanges, to an IP-based Softswitch solution. Ericsson will also provide the related implementation and support services.

Ericsson's Telephony Softswitch solution will cover the complete fixed line telephony network including local, transit and international network layers. The solution will reuse Maltacom's existing AXE-10 access network elements. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nortel Partners with Trapeze on WLAN Mobility

Nortel formed a long-term alliance and development relationship with Trapeze Networks, a supplier of enterprise WLAN mobility systems. Trapeze and Nortel will work together to deliver an integrated wireless LAN portfolio optimized for voice, multimedia and data applications as part of a shared vision for enterprise mobility. This alliance is focused on three areas: bringing an OEM version of Trapeze's WLAN portfolio to market through Nortel's worldwide channels, co-developing new WLAN features to deliver pervasive mobility, and embedding Trapeze's technology into Nortel communications platforms to deliver a seamless wired and wireless network.
  • In August 2004, Trapeze announced a partnership with 3Com.

  • Founded in March 2002, Trapeze raised $50 million in venture funding to date and is headquartered in Pleasanton, California.

Juniper Appoints VP of Federal Systems

Juniper Networks named Thomas Kreidler as vice president of Juniper Federal Systems, where he will oversee sales to the United States federal government. Prior to joining Juniper Networks, Kreidler served simultaneous roles as the Vice President of Public Sector and President of Sun Federal for Sun Microsystems.

SBC Yahoo! Upgrades Email Accounts to 2 GB

SBC Communications and Yahoo! are upgrading the email storage capacity for SBC Yahoo! DSL and Dial subscribers to 2 GB for each of their 10 available email sub-accounts, as well as their main email account, bringing the total potential storage capacity for a family or small business to 22 gigabytes.
  • Yahoo! offers a free 1 GB email service via its own website.

SBC Builds its Project Lightspeed IPTV Team

SBC announced the appointment of five television programming executives to its Project Lightspeed IPTV. The programming team is based in Los Angeles.

  • Amy Friedlander joins the Project Lightspeed team after work as a principal at Xanthum Partners of Santa Monica, CA. She was previously senior vice president of business development and general counsel at IP VOD provider Intertainer. She will oversee advanced products and new media.

  • Chris Lauricella comes to SBC from DIRECTV, Inc, where he was director of programming acquisitions. For the last eight years he handled their relationships with all sports providers, including the professional leagues, ESPN, regional sports networks and targeted sport-specific channels. He will manage sports programming for SBC.

  • Richard Wellerstein has more than 20 years of entertainment experience and most recently was vice president of theatrical programming & acquisition for iN Demand Networks, Inc. Previously, he worked for Sony Pictures Television and DIRECTV, Inc. Wellerstein will focus on video on demand.

  • Richard Levine is former acting director of programming acquisitions at DIRECTV, Inc. He will concentrate on local programming and broadcast retransmission.

  • Martin Sansing joins the team after serving as a staff consultant for the Roll Strategy Group in Los Angeles. He previously handled business development for Intertainer. Sansing will manage content strategy and new media.

  • Denita Willoughby has worked for SBC companies for more than nine years, most recently as vice president for business communications services. In her new role, Willoughby will concentrate on ethnic and emerging networks.
  • SBC Communications has selected the Microsoft IPTV Edition software platform for its Project Lightspeed initiative.

  • In November 2004, SBC Communications outlined operational and financial details on Project Lightspeed, its plan to deploy IPTV and other advanced residential services over an upgraded fiber access infrastructure. Commercial launch of IPTV services is slated for Q4 2005. SBC is aiming to reach some 90% of its "high-value" residential customers by 2007 -- about 18 million households.

  • SBC's video network architecture will include 2 national "Super Head Ends" where national content will be aggregated and VOD encoding will occur. SBC will build 40 Regional Video Hub Offices, which will provide video content storage, time-shifted TV and interactive applications. Local content aggregation will also occur in the Regional Video Hub Offices. The SBC video network architecture will also have a large number (about 140) Video Serving Offices for local distribution.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Texas Attorney General Takes Action Against Vonage over 9-1-1

The state of Texas filed a lawsuit against Vonage, the country's largest Internet-based telephone service provider, for failing to make clear to consumers that the company's current service does not include access to traditional emergency 9-1-1 service. The
story was widely reported in newspapers across the country.

In a press statement, Abbott said the dangers posed by Vonage's failure "to clearly disclose the lack of traditional 9-1-1 access" have resulted in tragedy. Last month, a Houston family that subscribed to Vonage's service tried to call 9-1-1 during a home invasion. Two victims were shot multiple times, but the victims' daughter was never able to get through to 9-1-1.

"This Houston family's moment of crisis signals a dire need for Vonage to clearly communicate to its Internet telephone customers that 9-1-1 access may not be available to them," said Attorney General Abbott. "This is not just about bad customer service; it's a matter of life and death."

Abbott posted an audio file of a 9-1-1 call from Vonage on the state's website.

The lawsuit, filed under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, requests injunctive measures to stop Vonage "from misrepresenting the type of emergency telephone service it offers, and the fact that the "911 dialing" feature is not automatically included when a customer signs up for telephone service. The suit seeks $20,000 per violation.

On its website, Vonage says it offers 911 Dialing to all customers. 911 calls are routed from the Vonage network to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for the physical area that the subscriber designates. However, 911 dialing is not automatically set-up for use and subscribers have the option to decline 911 dialing. Email reminders are sent to subscribers about 911 calls. The Vonage website also warns that 911 dialing and Vonage Service do not function during an electrical power or broadband provider outage.
  • Vonage is currently supporting E911 in Rhode Island in partnership with Intrado. With E-911 in Rhode Island, Vonage is able to deliver both caller's location and call back number to 9-1-1 emergency services personnel. Emergency call are routed over Vonage's 9-1-1 server using SIP. The Vonage server then queries Intrado for routing instructions. The call is then directed to the selective router that serves the Rhode Island Public Safety Answering Point ("PSAP"). Simultaneously, Intrado places the customer's address and telephone number into the Automatic Location Information (ALI) server. The supplementary special key unique to the call is included in signaling, and allows the PSAP 9-1-1 operator to pull the customer's address and phone number from the ALI database. Vonage and Intrado are working with other states to provide similar solutions and intend to roll them out market by market.