Monday, June 13, 2005

Yahoo! Acquires DialPad, Entering VoIP Market

Yahoo! has acquired DialPad, a provider of Internet Telephony services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Yahoo! plans on leveraging Dialpad's PSTN calling capabilities to add to Yahoo! Messenger's recently enhanced PC-to-PC voice calling offering.

DialPad currently offers several services, include DialpadMonthly -- a monthly subscription for calls to the U.S. from over 200 countries with rates as low as 1.7¢ per minute; DialpadPrepaid -- a prepaid service that allows calls to and from over 200 countries; and DialpadCallingcard -- a VoIP-based calling card that can be accessed from any phone in the U.S.

DialPad said it plans to discontinue the Calling Card service.
  • DialPad is based in Milpitas, California. The company was founded in 1999 and originally pursued an advertising-based model for its Internet calls. The company's customer base quickly grew to over 14 million. The erosion of the online advertising market in early 2001 forced the company to file for Chapter 11 protection later that year. Current Chief Executive Officer Craig Walker was appointed to head the restructuring. The business was transformed from a free to a pay service. DialPad said it reached profitability in late 2003.

  • In May 2005, Yahoo! launched a public beta for its next generation instant messenger service, offering free PC-to-PC calls, photo sharing, better tools to expand friends' lists, increased spam protection, better integration with online games and other features. It does not provide direct PSTN connections. The free worldwide calling feature to other Yahoo! Messenger users also integrates with Yahoo!'s voice mail service. Voicemail messages can be left for friends who are away from their desks or offline, and can be retrieved through a call history log that displays all voicemail messages, as well as in-bound and out-bound calls. To further personalize the PC-to-PC calling experience, people can customize ring tones for their friends.

SIRIUS Signs Content Agreement With Sprint PCS

Sprint plans to offer select SIRIUS Satellite Radio programming to its PCS Vision customers. Some of the music channels being evaluated by Sprint and SIRIUS for the new service include new hits, classic rock, hip-hop, country, blues and soul to jazz and Broadway's best music. The new Sprint service will be available nationwide, and both companies plan to announce more specifics of the service, as well as the price later this year.

JVC's New HD Camcorders Feature Built-In Hard Drives

JVC is introducing a new series of consumer camcorders that record up to seven hours of DVD movie-quality video at 9 Mbps using built-in hard disk drives. The benefits of recording video to a hard disk are the same benefits that have made hard disk-based audio players so popular -- random access to quickly locate desired material, the ability to effortlessly delete unwanted material, and easily rearrange the playback sequence. The camcorders will feature multiple connections for TV playback, dubbing to a VCR or DVD recorder, or transferring video to a PC or Macintosh for DVD creation, editing, or posting to the Internet.

Europe's GÉANT2 Builds 500 Gbps Next Gen Research Network

Alcatel's optical gear was selected for GÉANT2, the successor to Europe's current academic research network. GÉANT2, which promises a total network of nearly 500 Gbps, will connect research facilities in thirty-four countries, including major European sites in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Denmark, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Poland, Ireland, Portugal and Greece.

The network will deliver multiple, switched 10Gbps links to its major hubs. It will be managed by the Alcatel 1350 management suite and include the Alcatel 1626 Light Manager DWDM platform for ultra long-haul applications and the 1678 Metro Core Connect (MCC).

Financially, GEANT2 is the result of joint efforts at European and national level. The European Commission contributes EUR 93 million to this project, just under half the total cost. The rest is funded by national research and education networks.

The contract was awarded by DANTE. a non-profit organization whose primary mission is to plan, build and manage research and education networks on behalf of Europe's National Research and Education Networks.

TeliaSonera has been selected as the major carrier to DANTE.
  • The GÉANT network has been in full production service since December 2001. It replaced the previous TEN-155 network.

Orca Interactive Launches Home Media for IPTV

Orca Interactive, a supplier of IPTV middleware, introduced a digital entertainment application that brings digital media content from a PC to a TV in the living room. This enables IPTV subscribers to view photos and listen to music via the TV.

The new Home Media application is part of the Orca RiGHTv video-over-IP application suite. Home Media is comprised of TV- and PC-based components. The TV application provides a user-friendly subscriber user interface (SUI), accessed from the RiGHTv main menu. PC applications include a media server responsible for connectivity between the PC and STB, and a graphical user interface (GUI) for mapping media folders.

Separately, Orca and Tata Consultancy Services announced a partnership to offer worldwide IPTV system integration and service development over RiGHTv, Orca's IPTV middleware.

RiGHTv is in use at Atlas Communications in India, as well as with a worldwide base of operators including Chunghwa Telecom (Taiwan), Bezeq (Israel), iVISJON (Norway), FiberCity (Philippines) and Magnet Networks (Ireland).

ECI Telecom Introduces Mini-MSPP

ECI Telecom introduced a miniature Multi-Service Provisioning Platform (MSPP) designed for metro access and WAN deployments, including Ethernet services over SDH, or cellular backhaul.

ECI's BroadGate-40 MSPP features a narrowband cross-connect integrated into platform, which includes low bit rate interfaces such as voice channels and V24/V35 for data services. ECI said these capabilities enable cellular operators, as well as utilities, to remotely control various types of equipment sets in a unified manner from the Base Station Transmitter (BTS) or sub-stations. It also eliminates the need for multiple conversion units.

The BroadGate-40 also supports standard TDM services starting from 64Kbps (DS0) through DS3/E3 and up to STM1 and STM4. Complete with ECI's network management system, the BroadGate-40 delivers full remote management from the same box with support for multiple interfaces and traffic types reducing capital and operational expenditures. The current BroadGate-40 release supports SDH transmission only.

Proxim Files for Chapter 11, Sells Assets

Proxim, a supplier of Wi-Fi and broadband wireless equipment, announced a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and agreed to sell its assets to Moseley Associates, which also supplies wireless systems.

Under the agreement, Moseley will acquire and assume most of the domestic and foreign operations of Proxim for a purchase price of $21 million, subject to certain adjustments and deductions. The sale will be implemented through Proxim's filing of a chapter 11 bankruptcy case in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware and subject to court confirmation and overbidding procedures. In connection with the sale, Moseley also has agreed to provide Proxim with bridge financing in the principal amount of up to $6.2 million, to be offset against the purchase price. Under the terms of the transaction as contemplated, no proceeds of the sale are expected to be distributed to Proxim stockholders.

The contemplated acquisition by Moseley would be expected to preserve most of Proxim's operations. Moseley and Proxim believe there are significant synergies and advantages to the combination of their businesses. Proxim's focus on Wi-Fi, WiMAX and broadband wireless access for enterprises and service providers has resulted in solutions for the mobile enterprise, last mile access, metropolitan area networks, public safety, and voice and data backhaul. Combining Proxim's offerings with Moseley's diversified global product lines will enable Moseley to offer an expanded and differentiated portfolio of wireless products covering spectrum from 200 MHz to 38 GHz.
  • Earlier this month, Proxim received a Nasdaq delisting notification. For Q1, Proxim reported revenue of $25.4 million and a net loss (GAAP) of $(7.8) million, or $(0.24) per common share. This compares with a GAAP net loss of $( 67.7) million, or $(2.69) per common share, in the preceding fourth quarter of 2004 and with a GAAP net loss of $(17.5) million, or $(1.42) per common share, in the first quarter of 2004.

  • In 2002, Proxim acquired the WLAN equipment business of Agere Systems for $65 million in cash. The purchase included the ORiNOCO lines of equipment for homes, small offices, enterprises, service providers and outdoor environments.

Freescale Moves to its 4th Generation 3G WCDMA/EDGE RF Subsystem

Freescale Semiconductor announced its fourth generation, multimode 3G WCDMA/EDGE cellular RF subsystem -- shrinking board space by 70% for a new breed of slim 3G handsets.

Freescale said typical subsystems require greater than a hundred components. Its latest 3G WCDMA/EDGE dual-mode RF cellular subsystem for handsets allows customers a three-to-one component reduction in less than 649 mm2 of board space. The high integration allows manufacturers the ability to add features such as MP3 players, Bluetooth connectivity, digital cameras, DVB-H, and GPS while reducing handset size. Additionally, consumers are expected to enjoy one-third longer talk and standby times over previous generation subsystems.

Ericsson Lands $250 GSM/SPRS Contract with India's Bharti

Ericsson was awarded a US$250 million managed capacity expansion contract with Indian operator Bharti to provide managed services and expand its GSM/GPRS network into rural India. The contract will enable Bharti to expand into around 3,000 towns and villages in 15 regions. The rollout of the first phase of this ongoing coverage expansion into rural India will start in July 2005.

Ericsson is a long-term Bharti partner, operating its GSM/GPRS network in 15 out of 23 regions under a managed capacity agreement, and is the sole supplier of Bharti's mobility Intelligent Network, WAP, MMS, Video Streaming and Automatic Device Configuration. Ericsson also provides fixed broadband solutions and fixed-line switching equipment for Bharti's Infotel branch.

Uniden and 3Com Offer Business Cordless VoIP Phones

Uniden America and 3Com are teaming up to offer VoIP cordless multi-line phones for enterprises. Available today, the 3Com 3106C cordless phone and 3Com 3107C cordless phone can be used with the 3Com NBX IP telephony system. The multi-line IP phones offer an extended range of up to 305 meters from the base unit. The joint development assures tight integration with the 3Com NBX IP telephony system, providing mobile access to hundreds of system features.

Nextel Launches Wireless GPS Platform

Nextel Communications introduced its Wireless GPS Platform, an application development environment that extends location-based services (LBS) to a broader base of users. The Nextel Wireless GPS Platform provides large corporate and government customers and solutions providers with a means to create customized, server-based solutions to "location-enable" their existing internal applications. LBS applications developed on the Nextel Wireless GPS Platform will support all Nextel Assisted-GPS devices, including the BlackBerry 7520 as well as both Java and non-Java enabled handsets.

Fujitsu Enhances its FLASHWAVE 4020 Ethernet Service Platform

Fujitsu Network Communications announced an upgrade to its multiservice FLASHWAVE 4020 Ethernet Service Platform (ESP) to support Small Form-factor Pluggable (SFP) interfaces. New SFP-based OC-3 and OC-12 base unit shelves are now available, and each can be equipped with matching-rate SFP modules to support Long Reach (LR), Intermediate Reach (IR) and Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM) requirements for converged access networks. Since these SFP modules can be easily interchanged, networks can be upgraded and maintained more conveniently than with traditional optic modules, resulting in substantial OPEX savings.

For CWDM applications, up to eight separate OC-3 or OC-12 SONET signals can be transported over a single fiber pair, offering an 8x increase in the capacity of existing optical access networks. Individual SFP-based optics for the FLASHWAVE 4020 ESP support wavelengths that are compatible with the standard ITU G.694.2 CWDM grid to allow full interoperability with standards-based CWDM equipment. This capability allows the FLASHWAVE 4020 ESP to be connected to commercially available CWDM passive couplers such as the FLASHWAVE 7120 optical extension system or FLASHWAVE 7410 CWDM access system. The FLASHWAVE 4020 ESP can also utilize commercially available aerial mount CWDM couplers to support easy connections to MSO master headends and primary/secondary hubs.

The FLASHWAVE 4020 ESP supports both seven DS1 and four 10/100Base-T Ethernet services over a protected or unprotected OC-3 or OC-12 SONET network interface.
  • Last week at SUPERCOMM, Fujitsu announced a series of enhancements to its FLASHWAVE 4100 Multi-Service Provisioning Platform (MSPP), enabling carriers to offer traditional private line services, advanced Ethernet services that are enhanced with Resilient Packet Ring (RPR) efficiency, and storage services in a single SONET platform that can scale from OC-3 to OC-48. With this release, SONET, RPR, Generic Framing Procedure (GFP), Virtual Concatenation (VCAT), and Link Capacity Adjustment Scheme (LCAS) capabilities have been converged on the FLASHWAVE 4100 MSPP. Storage Area Networking (SAN) services using the new Fibre Channel/FICON interfaces allow carriers to capitalize on the proven reliability of SONET and offer full bandwidth for disaster recovery, storage consolidation, and remote mirroring initiatives. New OC-n line and service interfaces include support for Small Form-factor Pluggable (SFP) technology, which minimizes sparing requirements and defers capital expenses. The optional Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM) interfaces will allow multiple SONET networks to share a single pair of fibers and further reduce deployment costs. A new quad-port OC-3 service unit and enhanced OC-12 line unit offer improved platform density.

FCC Launches Inquiry into Universal Service Fund

The FCC launched a formal inquiry into the management, administration and oversight of the Universal Service Fund, which helps provide affordable phone service in rural areas, fund Internet access and telecommunications equipment in the schools and libraries, bring telemedicine services to rural areas, and assist low-income families with their phone bills. Since 1997, the Universal Service Administrative Company, or USAC, which administers the fund, has disbursed approximately $30.3 billion from the fund.

Money collected for the USF has been declining for some time. The FCC has been considering changes to the way it collects money for the USF. Currently consumers pay a percentage of their long distance service bill each month. The FCC is considering switching to a monthly flat fee based on telephone numbers.

With its new inquiry, the FCC is seeking comment in the following areas:

  • Managing the Program: The Commission is exploring ways to simplify and streamline the management of the program. In particular, the Commission tentatively concludes that a multi-year application process for telecommunications services for the E-rate and Rural Healthcare programs would simplify the process in a way that still guards against potential abuse. The Commission also seeks comment on, among other things, reducing or consolidating application forms and adopting deadlines and other criteria to provide certainty to program applicants.

  • Improving Oversight: The Commission seeks comment on the effectiveness of existing efforts to protect the fund against potential misuse. The Commission tentatively concludes that more aggressive debarment procedures are necessary to safeguard the fund and seeks comment on ways to improve the debarment rules. In addition, the Commission seeks comment on establishing independent audits for certain USF beneficiaries and contributors and seeks comment on what rules would help ensure that any audits are effective and fair. The Commission is also seeking comment on establishing rules for recovering USF monies that were not used in accordance with program rules.

  • Administrative Structure: The Commission is examining the effectiveness of the existing administrative structure and seeks comment on whether any rule changes are needed to ensure the USF is administered in an effective, competitively neutral way.

  • Performance Measures: The Commission is seeking comment on establishing performance measures to assess the effectiveness of the program.
  • Every year, the nation's universal service fund (USF) pays out approximately $673 million for low-income programs and about $3.0 billion to support high-cost rural services.

  • In February 2005, a group of consumer organizations called the "Keep USF Fair Coalition" filed a "Fair Share Plan" for Universal Service Fund (USF) collection with the FCC. he coalition argues that under the current revenue system, high volume long distance users pay the most, while those who use less pay less. It believes the new system under consideration would shift the burden of paying for Universal Service to those who use the system the least.

    The "Fair Share Plan" proposes to expand the USF contribution base to include all revenues derived from telecommunications, including services using VoIP. It proposes to establish a contribution factor cap to be applied to the revenue-based approach; carriers would still be assessed based on revenues up to that cap amount, and would still have the right to charge their end users a USF recovery charge not to exceed the percentage they are charged. The balance of the funds needed to support USF would come from a numbers-based charge.

Cisco Acquires M. I. Secure for VPN

Cisco Systems has acquired privately-held M. I. Secure Corporation, a developer of advanced features and functionality for security and VPN solutions. Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will pay up to approximately $13 million in cash. The company is based in San Jose, California.

Cisco said the acquisition brings unique security technology expertise and a team of proven security architects to Cisco. The company is now part of Cisco's Security Technology Group (STG).

BT Wholesale Offers Internet Security Software

BT Wholesale began offering its Netintelligence internet security software, which allows ISPs provide online security and parental controls to their customers. Netintelligence also allows parents to monitor and record children's online activities, such as instant messaging, in real time to reduce the risk of exposure to strangers in chat rooms. ISPs can brand the Netintelligence software as their own and can provide it to home and business customers as part of a broadband package, a stand alone internet security offering, or on a 'try before you buy' basis. V21 is one of the first ISPs in the UK to complement its broadband service with Netintelligence.

Sun Open Sources the Solaris Operating System

Sun Microsystems released its Solaris OS as open source code for both the SPARC platform and x86/x64 platforms. The OpenSolaris source code includes the core operating system, networking, system libraries, and commands--and all the key innovations delivered in the Solaris 10 OS.

http://www.sun.comAt CTIA Wireless 2005 earlier this year, Sun cited momentum for Solaris 10 in telecom applications. Solaris 10 offers in-kernel support for the Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). It also provides unique features such as Solaris Containers and Predictive Self-Healing for reliability. Additionally, Solaris 10 supports current IPv6 specifications and APIs, paving the way for the development of next generation IP-based services.