Wednesday, March 16, 2005

IEEE 802.11n Task Group Favors TGn Sync Proposal

The IEEE 802.11n Task Group voted to eliminate one of the two remaining 802.11n proposals for next generation Wi-Fi capable of speeds well in excess of 100 Mbps.

The Task Group voted: 181 in favor of the TGn Sync proposal and 140 in favor of the WWiSE proposal. According to Atheros, with the WWiSE proposal eliminated from consideration, the next step is a second confirmation vote in May. During which a 75% supermajority is required to approve TGn Sync's proposal as the final 802.11n standard.

Backers of the TGn Sync proposal included Agere Systems, Atheros Communications, Cisco Systems, Intel Corporation, Marvell Semiconductor, Nokia, Nortel Networks, Royal Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics, SANYO Electric Co., Sony, Toshiba and Qualcomm. In previous briefings, the group has claimed its specification would enable wireless LAN data rates to scale up to 243 Mbps in two-antenna designs and over 600 Mbps in larger systems. The proposal also includes methods to reduce power consumption for small mobile phones and increase the user capacity of public networks. The proposal also uses adaptive radio techniques to ensure that wireless products can adjust to the planned expansion of unlicensed and licensed spectrum in China, Japan, South Korea, North America, the European Union (EU), and other regions.

Members of the WWiSE consortium included Airgo Networks, Bermai, Broadcom, Conexant Systems, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments.

DirecTV's First Spaceway Satellite Prepared for Launch

The DIRECTV Group and Boeing announced the arrival of the Spaceway F1 satellite at the Sea Launch home port in Long Beach, California, where it will undergo final preparations for a late April launch aboard a Zenit-3SL vehicle.

Spaceway F1, which is built on the Boeing 702 platform, is described as "the most complex commercial satellite system ever manufactured." The spacecraft includes a flexible payload with a fully steerable downlink antenna that can be reconfigured on orbit.

Spaceway F1 is one of four Boeing-built Ka-band satellites DIRECTV has scheduled for launch over the next three years as part of a historic expansion of programming capacity. The expansion will enable DIRECTV to deliver more than 1,500 local and national high definition channels and other advanced programming services to consumers nationwide by 2007.

EchoStar Adds 430,000 Net Subscribers in Q4

EchoStar Communications added approximately 430,000 net new subscribers during Q4, giving the company a total of approximately 10.905 million subscribers as of year end, an increase of 1.48 million subscribers compared with the number of subscribers as of Dec. 31, 2003. In January, EchoStar's DISH Network satellite television service reported that it had surpassed 11 million subscribers.

BT Expands its Network in Asia Pacific

BT is investing approximately US$48 million to expand and enhance its network in the Asia Pacific region for integrated voice, video and data services. The enhancements are already underway, with expected completion this year.

The implementation of a new voice platform which will support the convergence for the wholesale, corporate and video segments will begin in June 2005. The installation of the new voice platform for an integrated international and domestic offering is progressing on schedule for Bangalore, Delhi, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Mumbai, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei and Tokyo.

New MPLS node locations to be added in 2005 include: Auckland, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, Melbourne and Osaka. Additional nodes are being added to Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei.

BT has over 60,000 customer sites connected or on order on its MPLS platforms and, on average, deploys a new MPLS node every 10 days.

Additionally, BT is increasing its direct coverage to 13 countries and 30 cities with its own infrastructure across Asia Pacific, with reach also increased to over 50 cities. BT delivers services to multinational organisations in 115 countries across the globe.

The core subsea backbone operated by BT which supports its harmonised portfolio is also being upgraded from 300 Mb/s to 1.5 Gb/s following the growth of over 400 per cent in traffic to and from Europe and the US and within Asia Pacific in the past two years. Network paths added include from Hong Kong to Europe, from Singapore to the US, and between London and Singapore.

Allen Ma, president, BT in Asia Pacific, said "In 2003, we began rebuilding BT's network in Asia Pacific. The strategy moving ahead is in tune with BT's 21st century network (21CN) implementation and timetable, and will allow us to integrate domestic and international voice capacity across nine countries in this region."

BT Pursues Market for Global Digital Content Management

BT unveiled plans to establish a global digital media distribution capability with major hubs in continental Europe, the US and Asia. To support this vision, BT Broadcast Services, which has been supporting the broadcast industry for over 40 years, is merging with BT Rich Media, which develops channels to market for digital content. The division will be known as BT Media and Broadcast (BTM&B).

This global offering and new structure will build on BTM&B's investment in its UK-based "BT Mediahive" digital content management capabilities, enabling it to capture, store, manage and distribute any type of media file, including video, audio and still images.

"BT Mediahive," in partnership with software partner Blueprint, is already providing a marketplace for the secure global distribution of digital music. Further applications, currently in development, will cover film and television production, digital cinema and advertising, in addition to bespoke solutions for individual market sectors.

BTM&B will continue to support the broadcast industry with solutions to transport and manage video, audio and data.

The recently-established BT Entertainment division will also take advantage of BTM&B's capabilities to deliver compelling consumer-facing broadband content.

"The market for digital content grows exponentially year on year and BT fully intends to become a leader in this space," said Andy Green, CEO BT Global Services.

Mexico's Cablemas Selects Cedar Point's SAFARI Switch for VoIP

Cablemas S.A. of Mexico will deploy Cedar Point's SAFARI C(Cubed) Media Switching System for the delivery of voice services. Cablemas will initially trial the integrated SAFARI C(Cubed) system in Tijuana, in anticipation of widespread deployments throughout the Cablemas service area of more than 1.5 million home passed.

Cablemas delivers video and high speed data to 500,000 subscribers in Tijuana, Juarez, Cancun, Ensenada, Mexicali, Cozumel, Merida, Acapulco and other locations. Cablemas also is pursuing "carrier of carrier" strategic opportunities, and is working with the Mexican federal authorities on securing telephony licenses across its franchise area.

TeliaSonera Deploys Ericsson's Ethernet DSL in Denmark

TeliaSonera has selected Ericsson's Ethernet DSL Access solution for deployment in Denmark. The IP/Ethernet broadband access network will enable TeliaSonera to deliver triple play services such as high-speed Internet access, voice and video/TV simultaneously for residential and business users. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Cox Reports its Strongest Quarter for Telephony

Cox Communications reported Q4 growth in all its service offerings, including a record number of net additions of telephone subscribers. Total revenues for the fourth quarter of 2004 were $1.7 billion, an increase of 11% over Q4 2003.

For the fourth quarter of 2004, Cox:

  • Ended the quarter with over 6.6 million total customer relationships, up 1.0% from December 31, 2003.

  • Ended the quarter with approximately 12.6 million total RGUs, up 10% from December 31, 2003, driven by 23% growth in advanced-service RGUs year-over-year.

  • Added 58,825 Cox Digital Cable customers, ending the quarter with over 2.4 million digital cable customers, representing year-over-year customer growth of 13%. Cox Digital Cable is now available to 99% of the homes in Cox's service areas with 38% penetration of our basic video customer base.

  • Added 140,691 high-speed Internet customers, ending the quarter with approximately 2.6 million high-speed Internet customers, representing year-over-year growth of 29%.

  • Added 89,119 Cox Digital Telephone customers, the most Cox Digital Telephone customers ever added in a quarter. Cox ended the quarter with over 1.3 million telephone customers, representing year-over-year growth of 32%.

  • Generated $554.8 million in cash flows provided by operating activities and $173.6 million in free cash flow (cash flows provided by operating activities less capital expenditures).

  • Generated 11% revenue growth during the quarter and 12% revenue growth during the year ended December 31, 2004, compared with the same periods in 2003.

"Our bundled customer penetration signals that Cox customers are embracing multiple communications and entertainment services from a single provider they trust. In fact, we expect the number of advanced revenue generating units will soon surpass the number of basic cable customers we serve, illustrating that we've truly arrived as a full service broadband communications company."

MCI Reviews Revised Qwest Proposal

MCI's Board of Directors is reviewing a higher acquisition offer from Qwest Communications of $10.50 in cash and 3.735 Qwest shares (subject to adjustment under a collar) per MCI share.

On February 14, 2005, MCI and Verizon signed a joint merger agreement. On March 2, 2005, MCI announced its intention to engage with Qwest for a two week period to review its latest proposal. This engagement was conducted with the concurrence of Verizon. The two week window to exchange information between MCI and Qwest officially concludes at close of business on 17-March-2005.

Metalink Releases Symmetric 100 Mbps VDSL Chipset

Metalink announced the commercial availability of a new generation of its VDSLPlus transceivers with the ability to transmit both upstream and downstream at rates of 100 Mbps and over distances of more than 200 meters over 26 AWG single twisted pair copper lines. It is designed with the special performance requirements of Japanese carriers.

Metalink said its wide bandwidth VDSLPlus technology supports this transmission speed in a real noise environment while maintaining spectral compatibility with existing services such as ISDN, ADSL, and ADSL2+ among others. The low power consumption and small die size of the VDSLPlus chipset make it suitable as a cost-effective fiber extension solution.

KT Selects Atheros' Dual Band WiFi Chipsets

KT has selected Atheros Communications' 802.11a/g technology for its 5GHz/2.4GHz dual-band WLAN products. Atheros is the exclusive supplier of 802.11a/g technology to KT's advanced line of WLAN products, which will be branded with the Atheros Super AG logo.

The Atheros AR5002AP-2X, AR5004X and AR5005UX 802.11a/g WLAN chipsets have been integrated into KT's dual-band wireless access points, PC cards, and USB adapters, respectively, and are being deployed in enterprise, school and hot spot environments. Atheros said its 802.11a/g technology enables high-bandwidth applications such as streaming HDTV video signals, transferring large data files, and supporting more users on a network.

Xeround Raises $6.5 Million for IP Signaling Systems

Xeround Systems, a start-up based in Tel Aviv, raised $6.5 million in venture funding for its scalable signaling solutions for VoIP and next generation IP services. Xeround said it addresses the service consistency issues that emerge from transitioning away from SS7 and into carrier class IP Signaling. Xeround helps align the multiple layers of RADIUS/DIAMETER, HSS and SIP Signaling vertically, as well as multiple data centers and session borders horizontally.

Investors include Benchmark Capital and Giza Venture Capital.
  • Xeround Systems was founded by Sharon Barkai, who previously was the founder and CEO of Sheer Networks, and Dr. Gilad Zlotkin, who previously was Director of Engineering at Cisco Systems, where he managed the QPM (QoS Policy Management) division.

Riverstone Gets RUS Certification for Carrier Ethernet Routers

Riverstone Networks has received USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) listing for both its RS and Riverstone 15000 product lines.

A RUS listing permits Independent Operating Companies (IOCs) and Rural Local Exchange Carriers (RLECs) to deploy these products using RUS Broadband Loan and Grant programs. The RUS loan program is designed to increase the rate of broadband deployments to communities of up to 20,000 inhabitants.

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