Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Disney Teams With Sprint on Wireless Service

The Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) will create a the first national U.S. wireless phone service specifically designed for families. The Disney Mobile service, which is slated to launch next year, will use the Sprint Nationwide PCS Network.

Disney will be responsible for all aspects of the service, including product development, distribution, marketing, customer relations, billing and other business operations.

The newly formed Disney Mobile business unit is part of Walt Disney Internet Group and will be led by Senior Vice President and General Manager George Grobar.
  • WDIG entered the mobile arena in 2000 with the launch of Disney branded content including graphics, ring tones, games and utilities on NTT DoCoMo in Japan.

  • In 2004, Disney's ESPN unit announced it would launch the first U.S. wireless phone service specifically targeted to sports fans.

Pannaway Raises $15.6 Million for Convergence Platforms

Pannaway Technologies, a developer of converged broadband voice, video and data platforms, completed a $15.6 million E round of funding from private investors. The company plans to use the funding to move forward with expansion into emerging markets, which include Department of Defense, municipalities, multi-tenant units (MTU), and multi-dwelling units (MDU). Pannaway said its R&D efforts will include new SIP-based calling feature development and enhancements to its Broadband Access Manager for end-to-end ADSL2+ services provisioning. The platform supports both SIP and MGCP.

The new funding led by S. Robert Levine, the company's principal investor. This latest round brings the Pannaway's total investment to $56.1 million in private funding.

  • Pannaway' was founded in April 2002 and is headquartered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Many members of the founding management team worked together at Cabletron Systems, Compaq, and Lucent.

Australian Research Net Deploys Juniper

The Australian Academic and Research Network (AARNet) will deploy Juniper Networks' M320, M40e and M20 routing platforms on its new AARNet3 backbone. AARNet connects Australia's universities, research institutions, education and other related organisations. In 2004, AARNet delivered almost 1 petabyte (1024 terabytes) of traffic, and APL expects traffic growth to continue to exceed 50% per year for several years.

QUALCOMM Refutes Broadcom's Antitrust Claims

Responding Broadcom's recently filed antitrust complaints, QUALCOMM said the claims are "without merit", noting that it has granted more than 130 licenses to its essential patents to a broad range of companies. QUALCOMM further claims that it has the most extensively licensed portfolio in the cellular industry. The company also said the WCDMA market is highly competitive with many companies selling commercial WCDMA chipsets and that it has supplied only a small percentage of the WCDMA chipsets sold to date.

Tiscali Deploys Netcentrex for Residential VoIP

Tiscali Italia has deployed Netcentrex' MyCall solution to deliver residential broadband IP telephony services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The new Tiscali "Voce" combines telephony and Internet services in a single package and is available to all Tiscali ADSL subscribers. Tiscali Voce offers two types of monthly subscriptions and one 'pay-as-you go' tariff plan: 'Tiscali Voce Forfait' for 600 minutes of communication for EUR 9.95 per month, "Tiscali Voce flat" for unlimited calling in Italy for EUR 19 per month and "Tiscali Voce Free," a pay-as-you go plan.

LG Licenses Palm OS

LG Electronics has licensed the Palm operating system (OS) for the development of future smartphones.

Japan's UCOM Leverages Ikanos 100 Mbps Chipset

UCOM, a subsidiary of Japan's USEN Group, will deploy 100 Mbps services based on Ikanos Communications' Fx 100100 chipsets. The Ikanos' symmetrical 100 Mbps chipset is designed for FTTx and multi-dwelling units (MDU) applications. Versions are available for use in Optical Network Units (ONUs), Optical Line Terminals (OLTs), Subscriber Located Equipment (SLE) and Optical Network Terminals (ONTs).

Softbank Selects UTStarcom's GEPON

Softbank BB awarded a contract to UTStarcom to expand its existing Gigabit Ethernet Passive Optical Network (GEPON) network in support of its Hikari fiber broadband service. Financial terms were not disclosed.

UTStarcom's GEPON solution complies with the IEEE802.3ah standard and includes an Optical Line Termination system (OLT) for deployment at the Central Office (CO) as well as an Optical Network Unit (ONU) for deployment at the customer's premises. The solution includes Layer 2 and Layer 3 switching and routing functionality.

Softbank Deploys UTStarcom's mVision IPTV System

Softbank BB has deployed UTStarcom's mVision end-to-end IPTV system to support its new "BBTV" IPTV service, which launched on July 1. The service initially offers subscribers 28 channels of live broadcast television and 5,200 movies on demand. Softbank BB's triple play service will be available in several service tiers, with pricing starting at 4540 Yen, approximately US$40.00 per month.

UTStarcom's mVision system is a unicast/multicast distributed system that scales to support millions of users and hundreds of thousands of content hours. It supports services such as broadcast TV, Network PVR (n-PVR), Video on Demand (VoD), and Near Video on Demand (NVoD).

In addition to UTStarcom's mVision system, Softbank is using the company's IP DSLAM and Gigabit Ethernet Passive Optical Network (GEPON) solutions serve as the access and transport platforms for its DSL, VoIP and IPTV services.
http://www.softbank.co.jpAs of May 2005, Softbank's Yahoo! BB was serving 4,847,000 broadband lines and had 4,588,000 VoIP customers.

Key components of UTStarcom's mVision include:

  • a Content Engine that provides live encoding, transcoding and transrating of analog or digital input streams into MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Windows Media 9 video formats and MP2, MP3, AAC, WMA, AC-3 audio formats. Variable bit-rate encoding from 22.5Kbps to 15Mbps enables operators to optimize video quality based on available bandwidth.

  • a MediaSwitch that leverages a chassis-based cluster architecture to scale with the number of subscribers and amount of storage required. The NEBS-compliant MediaSwitch resides in the central office and can serve multiple remote IP DSLAMs or PONs. The platform supports a density of 22,800 subscribers per telco rack. The storage capacity is rated at 100,000 hours of programming content per rack.

  • a new Set-Top-Box that is codec upgradeable via software push. It initially includes support for WM9,VC9, H.264 Codecs. The console delivers services such as real-time and time-shifted television, VoD, video gaming, and video conferencing. UTStarcom plans to continue to add new functions such as WiFi capability to the boxes in the future. An Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) and HTML embedded browser are included.

  • a carrier-class OSS software suite that reduces operating costs by handling media asset management, channel management and scheduling, billing, security and conditional access, system management, and other management functions. A secure data link ensures the privacy of user data. The suite also allows customers to view their accounts, change PIN numbers on their TV sets by using their remote control.

Intel and Corning Develop Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography

Intel and Corning are partnering to develop ultra low thermal expansion (ULE) glass photomask substrates required for Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. Current lithography tools use a 193nm wavelength of light to create transistors as small as 50nm. EUV lithography will use a 13.5nm wavelength of light. The joint development program is expected to enable chip production using EUV technology starting in 2009.

Intel Forms Online Film Distribution Partnership

Intel is forming a new digital entertainment company focused on distributing premium movies directly to consumers over the Internet. The new ClickStar venture is partnership between Intel, actor Morgan Freeman and producer Lori McCreary. The service will let consumers access, pay for and download first-run, pre-DVD-release films and artist-created entertainment channels over the Internet to Intel's digital home entertainment devices.

ClickStar will be led by former Sony Pictures executive Nizar Allibhoy. The company said it is working with top artists, producers and distribution companies worldwide to build a compelling slate of exciting films that will be available in theaters as well as online.

Verizon Fios Signs Content Deal with TBS

Verizon signed a programming- distribution agreement with Turner Broadcasting System to carry TBS, TNT, CNN, Headline News, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), CNN International, CNN en Español and Boomerang on the forthcoming Verizon Fios service when it launches later this year. Also included is TNT in HD, providing a broad range of dramatic programming in HDTV format, such as series, sports, movies and TNT Originals. Financial terms were not disclosed.
http://www.verizon.com/Verizon previously announced video programming agreements with NFL Networks, Si TV, NBC Universal Cable, Starz Entertainment Group, Showtime Networks, A&E Television Networks and Discovery Networks, GolTV, Gospel Music Channel, Soundtrack Channel, MavTV and Varsity TV.

Nickelodeon Moves Video Programming to the Internet

Nickelodeon, a leading producer of children's television programming, launched a broadband video service allowing kids to watch full-length shows online. The new "TurboNick" service, which is available at available on Nick.com, features up to 20 hours of new programming every week, allowing kids to watch programming clips and full length episodes ranging from 30 seconds to 22 minutes in length. Since July 1st, TurboNick has already delivered 1.25 million streams. Advertisers that are initially featured on TurboNick include Topps, General Mills, Kellogg's, Activision, and film studio Sony Pictures.

The company plans to launch a full advertising and promotional campaign on July 17 for TurboNick.

France Telecom and Microsoft Outline Partnership

France Telecom and Microsoft outlined a partnership to co-develop consumer products and services that will leverage France Telecom's strategic NeXT initiative. In a presentation by Didier Lombard, Chairman and CEO France Telecom and Steve Ballmer, CEO Microsoft, the companies announced the first two initiatives in this strategic partnership.

First, France Telecom and Microsoft will cooperate on a next-generation service platform to enable the aggregation and delivery of a wide variety of services, including voice, video and data. The service platform will use the Microsoft Connected Services Framework to provide a foundation for building and managing complex services using a service-oriented architecture (SOA) and Web service interfaces.

France Telecom plans to aggregate, provision and manage a range of new converged services for consumers and business customers. The initiative with Microsoft would enable it to create new combinations targeting specific customer segments, thereby attracting new subscribers, building customer loyalty, and importantly, driving new revenue streams.

The second strategic initiative is a joint collaboration to bring customers in many countries a series of feature-rich, easy-to-use VoIP phones developed by France Telecom and based on Microsoft software:

  • LivePhone -- the first WiFi broadband Smartphone developed by France Telecom for its Home segment -- will be connected to the France Telecom home gateway (LiveBox) and services.

  • Homezone -- developed by France Telecom -- is a seamless service for communications on the move and at home, using a dual-radio GSM / WiFi mobile VoIP device which will evolve to become a Smartphone based on the Windows Mobile platform.

The companies plan to develop new features and applications, enabling mobile information workers and consumers to access a broad variety of applications and services on the go as well as at home.
  • France Telecom's NExT (New Experience in Telecom services -- Nouvelle Expérience des Télécommunications) is a three-year initiative that will leverage both its legacy brands (France Telecom, TP, etc.) and Orange, provide customers with a personalized portal for all their communications, introduce new services, and integrate all of the company's networks under a single management system. The company will use the Orange brand for its mobile, broadband and enterprise services globally.

  • With the move to converged services, France Telecom will adopt a number of flat-rate pricing plans with unlimited on-network communications. These include the launch next month of a "Family Talk" service with unlimited, 24/7 communication between a family's fixed and mobile devices for EUR 39 per month, and "LiveCom," a software application integrating voice, videotelephony and instant messaging between fixed-line terminals, mobiles and videophones. A "HomeZone" service is expected to launch in 2006, bridging mobile and broadband services. The "MaLigne" TV-over-DSL service, which has been available in France since late 2003, will be rolled out in the UK, Spain, the Netherlands and Poland by mid-2006.

  • Additional partners for France Telecom's NExT include Ericsson for fixed-mobile voice convergence, and Thomson, for a portable, multimedia player that could leverage Wi-Fi hotspots and home networks.

See also