Thursday, January 6, 2005

Akimbo Signs Content Partners for Internet-to-TV VOD Service

Akimbo Systems has signed National Geographic Television & Film, A&E, The History Channel and The Biography Channel for its recently launched Internet-to-TV VOD service. The Akimbo service offers consumers 50 categories of content, including mainstream, classic and independent films, foreign language, news, health and fitness, sports, etc..
  • Akimbo is funded by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Sprout Group and Zone Ventures.

Tut Systems to Acquire Cosine for Financial Motive

Tut Systems agreed to acquire Cosine Communications for in a stock-for-stock transaction valued at approximately $24.1 million. Tut Systems is acquiring Cosine primarily to provide additional financial resources. Tut Systems will honor Cosine's existing customers' support agreements, but does not expect to offer its products for sale to new customers. Tut Systems will incorporate Cosine's intellectual property into its growing IP portfolio. Tut Systems will not have any additional employees or facilities as a result of the transaction.

The deal is expected to result in net cash to Tut Systems of approximately $22.75 million, and is expected to close by March 31, 2005.

Separately, Tut Systems said its revenue for Q4 2004 is expected to be $7.0 million, in line with the company's previous revenue guidance. The company anticipates its revenue for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2004, to be $25.0 million.

"During the fourth quarter, we increased the number of major digital TV headend and remote headend wins. While we have passed a number of milestones for our first multimillion dollar MPEG-4 contract, we did not recognize any revenue from MPEG-4 sales during the fourth quarter of 2004," said Randy Gausman, Chief Financial Officer. "The opportunities for MPEG-4 orders grew during the quarter, but were limited, in part by the availability of MPEG-4 set-top boxes. We also recorded our first sale of Astria product to a top tier North American carrier for further lab trials and an anticipated Telco TV field trial."
  • In September 2004, CoSine initiated actions to wind down its operations. CoSine's management team and its Board of Directors concluded that "maintaining the company's existing employee headcount was not necessary for any of the strategic alternatives currently under consideration and the ongoing employee-related expenditures could potentially decrease total stockholder value." CoSine had developed a carrier IP service switch featuring B-RAS capabilities.

  • CoSine Communications was founded in 1998 and was based in Redwood City, California. The company completed its IPO in September 2000, selling 10 million shares at $23 per share.

Verizon Wireless Launches 3G Consumer Services

Verizon Wireless will launch its 'VCAST" 3G wireless multimedia service for consumers -- beginning February 1, 2005. VCAST will run over the company's broadband EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) 3G network, delivering high-quality video, 3-D games and music to new 3G phones. Verizon Wireless is featuring handsets from LG Mobile Phones, Samsung and UTStarcom Personal Communications.

Customers will be able to use new handsets to access VCAST's video on-demand service for current news, weather, sports and entertainment programming. They will also be able to download and play three-dimensional games. Verizon Wireless will charge $15.00 for monthly access in addition to a regular Verizon Wireless calling plan, VCAST customers get unlimited access to about 300 daily updated videos. Initial content providers include VH1, Comedy Central, News Corp. and 20th Century Fox. Programs are being specifically designed for the mobile phones. A broad offering of content will also be available from NBC, including newscasts made exclusively for mobile phones.

Verizon Wireless's 3G EV-DO network began commercial operation in October 2003 in San Diego and Washington, D.C. offering wireless Internet access service for business customers at average user speeds of 300-500 kbps. In addition to 20 previously launched metropolitan areas, the company also announced 12 additional markets: Chicago; Houston; Boston; Phoenix; Cincinnati; Orlando; Columbus and Dayton, OH; Providence, RI; Jacksonville, FL; Hartford and New Haven, CT. Major expansions have been made in many existing 3G markets, including New York City; Newark, NJ; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; Atlanta; Miami, Tampa and West Palm Beach, FL; Baltimore, MD; Kansas City, MO; and Milwaukee, WI areas.

China's CERNET Tests 40 Gbps Overlay with Mintera, Cisco

CERNET (China Education and Research Network) successfully tested an "overlay" application integrating a 40 Gbps wavelength carrying live traffic on an in-service DWDM link between Beijing and Tianjin, China. The connection comprised a 16 channel DWDM infrastructure equipped with STM-16 (2.5 Gbps) per channel operating over 185 km of installed G.652 and G.655 fibers.

For the live trial, Mintera's 40 Gbps terminals were connected into the existing 16 x 2.5 Gbps DWDM line system and ran 40 Gbps traffic simultaneously with the existing 2.5 Gbps traffic. No modifications to the existing in-line amplifiers or optical mux/demux infrastructure were required. The 40 Gbps wavelength was turned-up in less than one hour. There was no traffic interruption on the live-link during the turn-up and the network ran error-free over a total period exceeding ten days.

CERNET and Mintera ran two 'client-side' trials. The first used Cisco Systems' 12000 Series Routers to feed 10 Gbps (STM-64c) traffic to Mintera's MI 4010S, which multiplexed the four STM-64c's up to 40 Gbps for transport across the existing infrastructure. CERNET loaded the Cisco 12000 Series Routers with live IP traffic and was able to monitor a doubling in traffic from network users as the new path provided by Mintera and Cisco became available and immediately relieved bottlenecks.

Mintera said the 40 Gbps link worked continuously and error-free for the full trial period of more than eight days. The second trial employed Cisco's CRS-1 system, which fed true 40 Gbps OC-768c traffic to Mintera's MI 4040S, which in turn transported this data over the infrastructure, again with no effect on the existing traffic. This test was run for two days, during which no errors were detected.
  • Mintera is based in Lowell, Massachusetts.

  • Mintera is headed by Dr. Terry F. Unter , who previously was Chief Operating Officer at Corvis Corporation.

RaySat Debuts Satellite Antenna for In-Motion Broadband

RaySat introduced a vehicle-based satellite antenna providing in-motion, high-speed Internet access to motorists. The new SpeedRay 3000 is based on an enclosed low-profile, roof-mounted antenna and could turn any vehicle into a rolling "hot spot." The system provides Internet download speeds up to 2 mbps and upload speeds up to 128 kbps, shared among users in the vehicle. In addition, using technology also developed by RaySat, the SpeedRay 3000 provides moving vehicles with strong reception of digital satellite TV and music channels.

To provide continuous signal feeds, the SpeedRay 3000 uses a phased-array antenna that rotates (inside its housing). Its panels constantly move up and down and back and forth, to track and maintain the satellite signal regardless of the vehicle's position relative to the satellite with which it is in communication. The system's Wi-Fi transceiver is built into the dish antenna housing and so requires no separate installation or connections. The retail price is expected to be $3,495.00. Installation and subscriptions to TV and Internet service are additional.

Ericsson chosen by Telstra to supply 3G network

Ericsson was named as the exclusive 3G/WCDMA vendor to Telstra for up to the next five years. The estimated value of the framework agreement is more than US$78 million (A$100 million) over the term. Ericsson will supply layered architecture core and radio access network equipment, including HSDPA and network rollout services.

These contracts complement the Telstra-Hutchison 3GSM network sharing arrangement which gives Telstra access to a fully optimized, fully operational network across five capital cities from 1 July 2005.

In Australia, Ericsson also supplies and delivers the integrated infrastructure for the Hutchison 3G Australia network, 3.

Critical Path Raises $18M for Consumer Messaging

Critical Path, a provider of messaging solutions for mobile, broadband and fixed-line service providers, signed agreements for $18 million in debt financing led by Cheung Kong Group and General Atlantic Partners. Critical Path is developing a new strategy concentrating on consumer messaging solutions for mobile, broadband and fixed-line service providers. The company recently announced a restructuring to focus on consumer messaging.