Monday, August 1, 2005

Vapps Adds Customized Call Flow Capabilities

Vapps, a supplier of audio conferencing systems, has enhanced its Conference Bridge 1000 (CB1000) platform allowing conference service providers, broadband service providers and telcos to tailor voice conferencing sessions on a customer by customer basis. The platform now provides unique message greetings and call flows for each individual phone number and incorporates new web-based call control features.

The Vapps CB1000 is a SIP-enabled, carrier-grade conferencing platform that delivers reservation-less conference calls on both legacy and IP-based telecom systems. The product supports up to 18,000 total conference participants in multiple simultaneous conferences, with the ability to scale on a card-by-card basis.

Using the CB1000's web-based call control capabilities, telcos and broadband service providers can create any combination of call management features, such as lists, mute, and other standard attributes, and then make them available to customers via a web portal that customers can access and manage themselves. Instant availability of recorded conferences is also available by web or phone access. By offering these capabilities, providers can create tiered service offerings; upgrade incentives, and other marketing programs to enhance revenues.

Cochrane Telephone Replaces Legacy Switch with Metaswitch

Cochrane Cooperative Telephone Company, an independent operator based in Wisconsin, has replaced its legacy Siemens DCO central office switch with a MetaSwitch VP3510 Integrated Softswitch and UC9000 Unified Communications System. Cochrane selected the MetaSwitch with assistance from Finley Engineering, an independent engineering consulting group brought in to ensure strict compliance with the company's technical requirements.

Within Cochrane's network, the MetaSwitch VP3510/UC9000 combination is delivering Class 5 features, including all of the company's existing services, over its existing AFC and Next Level digital loop carriers using the GR-303 protocol. In addition, Cochrane now has the ability to introduce new IP-based services such as Voice over IP, a Web interface for subscribers to control their own calling features, and a "message center" capability combining email, voicemail and faxes into a single unified inbox.

Cochrane Telephone's network upgrade occurred almost a hundred years to the day from its founding in 1905.

Qwest Adds 68,000 DSL Lines in Q2

Qwest Communications added 68,000 DSL lines in Q2, bringing its total to 1.2 million. This compares with 85,000 DSL lines added in Q1. The company said it expects that network deployment, newly launched bundles, promotions and pricing initiatives will increase penetration and growth of its DSL services. As of the close of the quarter, 73% of households within the company's operating region could purchase high-speed Internet services. This is an increase from 67% at year end 2004. The company expects to end the year with 75% of households eligible for high-speed Internet services.

Qwest also noted that approximately 60% of its new subscribers are choosing higher speed service, including premium Internet access that reaches speeds of up to 5 Mbps.

Financially, Qwest reported Q2 revenue of $3.47 billion, compared to $3.45 billion in Q1 and $3.44 billion in Q2 a year ago. This represents the fifth consecutive quarter of stable revenues, as well as year-over-year growth in mass markets and business revenues.

Motorola Invests in Trapeze Networks

Motorola Ventures has made an equity investment in Trapeze Networks, , a supplier of a WLAN mobility systems. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Trapeze Networks, founded in 2002, designs and delivers a WLAN mobility solution that allows users to roam securely anywhere in a network and over any topology, including corporate headquarters, branch offices, campuses or multi-tenant/multi-use facilities. The company's system makes an existing enterprise network, with all of its structure and services, available wirelessly, driving the integration of wired and wireless networks. Trapeze also leads the Open Access Point Initiative (OAPI), which allows customers to get more value out of their installed base of third-party access points. This is supported by Trapeze's advanced WLAN configuration and management technology.
  • In April 2005, Trapeze Networks raised $17.5 million in third-round Series C funding, bringing the total investment in the company to $67.5 million. The new funding was led by $4 million from Duff Ackerman & Goodrich. Trapeze received additional Series C funding from a recently announced alliance with Nortel and its original team of first- and second-round investors, including venture capitalists Accel Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Oak Investment Partners and Castile Ventures, investment bankers and financial services firms Trautman Wasserman & Co. and C.E. Unterberg Towbin.

UTStarcom Posts Q2 Revenue of $723 Million

UTStarcom reported Q2 net sales of $723.0 million, an increase of 5%over net sales of $689.6 million reported in Q2 2004. The Personal Communications Division contributed $342.3 million of sales in the second quarter. There was a net loss (GAAP) of $74.7 million, or ($0.65) diluted earnings per share, including special charges. Some highlights:

  • Gross profit margin was 15.1 percent of sales, which was negatively impacted by an inventory write-down of approximately $5.5 million, associated with the company's restructuring plan.

  • Q2 backlog of approximately $915M at the end of the quarter

  • Signed more than $250 million in PAS contracts in China in Q2

  • Positive cash flows from operations of approximately $44 million

MCI to Acquire Totality for Managed Services

MCI agreed to acquire Totality, a San Francisco- based provider of remote managed services for business-critical applications and infrastructure. Financial terms were not disclosed. MCI expects the deal to close within 45 days.

MCI said the acquisition would extend its managed hosting capabilities to provide application management support outside of MCI-managed hosting centers. With Totality's capabilities, MCI will be able to manage and monitor a customer's applications no matter where they are hosted, resulting in the delivery of integrated communications services from the network to the application layer to more fully support critical customer processes and applications.

"With this acquisition, MCI is able to combine its core hosting capabilities with proven expertise in the applications management space, further accelerating its ability to keep pace with enterprise and business customers as they transition to IP," said Jonathan Crane, MCI executive vice president and chief strategy officer.
  • In May 2005, MCI's Board of Directors accepted a final acquisition bid from Verizon.

Comcast Sees Strong Demand for Digital Services

Comcast reported strong consumer demand in Q2 for new digital services -- including HDTV, DVRs, VOD and VoIP -- adding 507,000 revenue generating units in the second quarter of 2005, an increase of 22.1% from the 415,000 added in the same quarter last year.

Some highlights:

  • Comcast Cable reported revenue of $5.3 billion for the quarter ended June 30, 2005, representing a 10.1% increase from the second quarter of 2004.

  • Video: Digital cable subscriber and video revenue growth reflects strong consumer demand for new digital features and services including Comcast ON DEMAND, HDTV programming and DVRs, as well as the initial rollout of an enhanced basic - 100% digital service in a number of markets. During Q2, pay-per-view revenues increased 24.0% - the seventh consecutive quarter of pay-per-view revenue growth, driven by more movie and event purchases through the Comcast ON DEMAND service. During Q2, Comcast Cable deployed nearly 300,000 advanced set-top boxes with DVR and/or HDTV programming capability, generating an incremental $5 to $10 of monthly revenue per box.

  • Video revenue increased $192 million or 5.9% to $3.4 billion in the second quarter of 2005, driven by higher monthly revenue per basic subscriber and a 13.3% increase in the number of digital customers. Comcast Cable added 284,000 new digital customers in the second quarter of 2005 and with more than 9.1 million subscribers, digital cable penetration reached 42.6% of basic subscribers. As expected, basic subscribers are essentially unchanged from a year ago at 21.4 million, and declined seasonally by 77,000 or 0.2% from the first quarter of 2005.

  • Cable Modems: revenues increased 28.8% to $982 million in Q2 2005, reflecting a 28.3% increase in subscribers and strong average revenue per subscriber. Comcast Cable ended Q2 with more than 7.7 million high-speed Internet subscribers, adding 297,000 subscribers the quarter for a penetration rate of 18.9% of available homes. Average monthly revenue per high-speed Internet subscriber was $43.34 in Q2, up slightly from Q1. Comcast also recently announced a 50% increase in the speed of its Internet service to 6 Mbps.

  • Voice: added 15,000 Comcast Digital Voice customers (VoIP) in Q2, reflecting the rollout of CDV in new markets late in the second quarter. As expected, CDV customer additions were offset by a decline in the number of Comcast's circuit-switched telephone customers as Comcast transitions to marketing Comcast Digital Voice. Comcast Cable reported 2,000 net new phone customers in the second quarter of 2005. Cable phone revenue declined 4.0% from Q2 2004 to $170 million due primarily to a decline in access revenue per customer.

  • Advertising: revenue increased 9.9% to $362 million, reflecting growth of 6.5% in local advertising and growth of 16.7% in regional/national advertising as a result of the continuing success of our regional interconnect strategy. The growth in advertising revenue during the quarter was slightly offset by a decline in political advertising when compared to the prior year. Advertising revenue growth in the second half of 2005 will reflect a significant decline in political advertising when compared to the 2004 election year.

  • CAPEX: Cable capital expenditures increased 4.8% to $936 million compared to the $893 million in the second quarter of the prior year, reflecting the purchase of digital set-top boxes to meet expected demand, as well as certain capital investments, including equipment for digital simulcasting and our integrated service platform, which are expected to decline in the second half of 2005.

LSI Logic Targets DSP at Voice Over WLAN Handhelds

LSI Logic introduced a digital signal processor (DSP) in a 7 mm x 7 mm chip package designed for Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) applications such as cell phones, PDAs and other handhelds. The new device is a low- cost, low-power voice processor in an ultra-thin package.

It features dual TDM ports for audio ADC/DACs and interfaces for additional wireless devices, such as WLAN and Bluetooth.

blinkx TV Signs Content Deal with Internet Broadcasting

blinkx TV announced a content agreement with Internet Broadcasting. Under the deal, blinkx will use its voice recognition software and automatic indexing technology to make video clips from Internet Broadcasting searchable on its site.

blinkx TV combines advanced speech recognition and transcription techniques with its intelligent Context Clustering Technology (CCT) and context prediction and synchronization technology to analyze and understand the actual content (spoken words) of an audio/video file.

Internet Broadcasting produces over 70 television news and information Websites for broadcast partners including NBC, Hearst-Argyle, Cox, Post- Newsweek, McGraw-Hill, and Scripps Howard.

TowerStream Teams with Vonage for VoIP Over WiMax

TowerStream, a provider of fixed wireless Internet services, will team with Vonage, to offer VoIP over its network.

TowerStream operates pre-WiMAX networks in the U.S. serving such markets as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, the greater Boston, Providence and Newport, R.I. areas.

With the new alliance, TowerStream plans to offer small businesses an alternative to the existing phone companies for both voice and broadband with flat rate billing.

"TowerStream and Vonage both represent alternatives to the legacy telephone networks, offering better features at a substantially lower cost. Combining these services will enable increased flexibility, reliable performance and cost savings to enhance the productivity of any size business, and can be up and running in a matter of days, not weeks or months," said Jeff Thompson, COO of TowerStream.

Cable One Deploys BigBand

Cable One, one of the ten largest U.S. cable operators, has selected BigBand Networks' BMR (Broadband Multimedia-Service Router) to manage digital television offerings. BMR platforms are being deployed at 42 Cable One systems to control channel line-up, video quality and bandwidth efficiency of SDTV and HDTV programs. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The BigBand BMR can access programming from multiple sources and extend control to operators over channel line-ups. RateShaping bit rate adaptation manages bandwidth efficiency and video quality of each program. Cable One is utilizing PSIP table regeneration to make available program-relevant data, such as descriptive information, closed captioning and parental control. The BMR platform is upgradeable, to avail future, related solutions. Examples include Gigabit Ethernet transport of programs between facilities, insertion of local digital advertising, and switched broadcast, which can radically expand offerings by providing programs in dynamic response to subscriber viewing.

UTStarcom Appoints New CFO

UTStarcom appointed Fran Barton as its new CFO. Barton previously served as an executive vice president and CFO at Atmel Corporation. Before that, Barton was the senior vice president and CFO at Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. from 1998 to 2001 and from 1996 to 1998, he was vice president and CFO at Amdahl Corporation.

Verizon Sees Rapid Rise in Ethernet Demand

Verizon will begin offering three new class-of-service options for its corporate Ethernet services in New York City and Washington, D.C. -- basic data, priority data or real-time communications. The new Ethernet class-of-service options will enable customers to converge their voice and data applications. These options are designed to allow for service-level guarantees that will be implemented at a later date. Verizon plans to expand the service to additional states throughout the year.

Verizon noted that its Ethernet service grew by 50% in 2004.

"Businesses are increasingly migrating their networks to Ethernet from a frame relay architecture that's less flexible. That's part of the reason for last year's red-hot growth," said Michael Tighe, director of Verizon's Ethernet product portfolio.

According to Tighe, large businesses' bandwidth needs are growing 10 percent to 20% a year and for the first time, Verizon is selling more 100 Mbps Ethernet service than 10 Mbps service.

Siemens Establishes New Subsidiary for CPE

Siemens is carving out its Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) Division into a fully owned subsidiary that will focus on the design, manufacture and distribution of the Siemens Gigaset range of cordless phones (traditional fixed line and VoIP), as well as broadband products and home media devices.

The new "Siemens Home and Office Communication Devices" will be based in Munich and managed as part of the Siemens Communications Group.

Paul Reitmeier and Thomas Kresser, who currently run the CPE Division, will also head the new unit, which has around 3,700 employees worldwide and a sales volume of roughly one billion EURs.

"Our goal is to become world leader in the voice, data and video communication devices market -- which is projected to be worth €16 billion by 2010. We will achieve this in close cooperation with leading operators by providing scalable, manageable and cost effective devices for their Triple Play strategies and by addressing end consumers via the retail channels," said Lothar Pauly, CEO of Siemens Communications.

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