Thursday, April 7, 2005

European Commission Promotes Broadband over Powerline

Hoping to open the market to new suppliers of broadband services, the European Commission issued a recommendation designed to clarify rules on using electric power cables to carry data services. Specifically, the EC is requiring Member States to remove "any unjustified regulatory obstacles, in particular from utility companies, on the deployment of broadband power line communications systems."

Power Line Communications (PLC) is a broadband access technology that uses the low and medium voltage electricity grid to transmit voice, data and video. Data is sent as a high-frequency signal piggybacked on the 50 or 60-hertz mains electricity supply.

The EC estimates that several thousand customers are already being served broadband over PLC, with commercial deployments underway in Germany, Austria and Spain.

Siemens Acquires Myrio for IPTV Middleware

Siemens Communications has acquired Myrio, a supplier of IPTV middleware, for an undisclosed sum. Siemens Venture Capital made a strategic investment in the Seattle-based start-up in late 2003.

Myrio specializes in middleware and applications for home entertainment solutions, which includes components to create a compelling consumer experience and provide network operators with the management systems for pricing, packaging and applications development. The Myrio IP Video Platform consists of two core products, Myrio TotalManage, the back-office subscriber and content-management application, and Myrio Interactive, the full-featured end-user application. The Java-based platform enables the carrier to add new features, such as multiple language support, client Personal Video Recorder (cPVR), and web browser enhancements.

In addition to the account successes with Siemens AG in Europe and Asia, Myrio also has more than 65 other customers globally.

Myrio has about 75 employees.

Kevin Kosche



Role of Middleware in Triple Play Networks

As service providers increasingly focus on the operational efficiency
aspects of their telco video networks, solution providers have shifted
toward the standardization of video system components, particularly the
middleware element.
  • In October 2004, Siemens signed a worldwide OEM agreement to sell and integrate the Myrio IP Video Platform with its SURPASS Home Entertainment platform for triple play services.

  • In June 2004, Siemens announced that Belgacom was the first carrier to begin testing its SURPASS Home Entertainment solution. For the TV-centric online project, Siemens was working with Myrio for the middleware to enable the application, nCube for the Video on Demand server, Verimatrix for content protection system, and Tandberg Television for the video broadcast equipment.

Micromuse to Acquire Quallaby for Fault Management

Micromuse agreed to acquire Quallaby, a privately-held software company based in Lowell, Massachusetts, for $33 million in cash.

Quallaby supplies network performance management and service level reporting software for service providers. Micromuse's Netcool software suite provides realtime end-to-end network visibility and troubleshooting for enterprise and service providers.

Micromuse said the acquisition would advance its ability to manage converged IP services through an integrated console that combines Micromuse's Netcool realtime fault management technology with Quallaby's ultra-scalable PROVISO performance management software.

Micromuse and Quallaby have been alliance partners for several years. Both companies also partner with leading companies such as Alcatel, Cisco, Sun Microsystems, Juniper Networks, and Tecsidel.

Micromuse and Quallaby already are integrated within several large service provider networks, including those of BT, France Telecom, Telefonica, Neuf Telecom, Telia Sonera, Completel, and Telecom New Zealand.

Motorola Labs Launched in Bangalore

Motorola announced the opening of an applied research lab in Bangalore. This lab, the 11th for Motorola and the company's first in India, augments Motorola's existing India R&D infrastructure of more than 1700 software engineers.

Comcast and Time Warner Near Deal on Adelphia

Comcast and Time Warner reportedly neared an $18 billion deal for bankrupt Adephia, the fifth largest U.S. cable operator. Adelphia serves customers in 31 states and Puerto Rico, serving more than 5 million customers, including in the Los Angeles area, where it is the largest cable operator.

A deal might give Comcast a way to unwind its 21% stake in Time Warner. Comcast would get more subscribers in exchange for the shares. Time Warner would also grow its subscriber base. A deal would require the permission of the bankruptcy court.

New York-based Cablevision had been seen as another potential suitor.
  • In May 2002, following allegations of financial wrong-doing, founder and CEO John Rigas and CFO Timothy Rigas resigned from the company and its Board of Directors. They were subsequently indicted. Adelphia filed for bankruptcy protection the following month.

Cablevision Confirms Closure of VOOM HD Satellite Service

Cablevision Systems confirmed plans to shut down its VOOM HD satellite TV at the end of April. Cablevision's chairman and founder Charles Dolan had fought to keep the venture alive, or to sell it, while the company's board of Directors, led by James Dolan (the son), had sought to shutter the money-losing satellite division.
  • In January 2005, EchoStar Communications agreed to acquire Cablevision's direct broadcast satellite and certain other related assets for $200 million. The deal includes the Rainbow 1 satellite, located at the 61.5 degree W.L. orbital position, as well as FCC licenses to construct, launch and operate DBS services over 11 frequency channels at the 61.5 degree W.L. orbital location. In addition, EchoStar will acquire the contents of Rainbow DBS's ground facility in Black Hawk, S.D. and related assets.

BT acquires CW Business Solutions in Spain

BT has acquired Cable and Wireless Business Solutions group in Spain for EUR 6 million. CW Business Solutions provides major corporate and public sector organisations with networked IT services such as the design and implementation of LAN/WAN propositions within single managed solutions. It also provides connectivity and hosting, including business continuity and disaster recovery services, to some of the main media companies and enterprises in Spain. The company claims 170 corporate clients.