Tuesday, August 30, 2005

BellSouth: 180 Central Offices on Generator Power

BellSouth reported that 180 of its central office locations are currently running on generator due to a loss of commercial power in affected areas. The company has 750,000 customer lines in the areas most heavily damaged areas by Hurricane Katrina.

BellSouth said it is still assessing the full impact on the network and its customers' operations, and as a result, it is too early to project the total magnitude of destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina.

"This is not a normal hurricane restoration situation," said Bill Smith, Chief Technology Officer.

The company said it is coordinating with wireless providers to improve communications in the hardest-hit areas.

BellSouth has about 13,000 employees in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama who have been affected by the storm. To aid its employees, BellSouth will set up several "tent cities" in severely affected areas. These cities will provide BellSouth employees and their families with necessities such as food, shelter and clothing, in addition to cash loans and employee assistance programs.

Walt Disney and Kudelski to Develop Push VOD for Europe

Walt Disney Television International (WDTV-I) Ventures & Business Development Group and the Kudelski Group announced a joint venture to develop and market turnkey Push Video-On-Demand (VOD) and Digital Video Recorder (DVR) services. The Push VOD solution would run on standard satellite, cable, terrestrial and IP Digital Video Recorder hardware platforms, and will be made available to digital television operators worldwide (excluding the US, Canada and Japan).

The system will offer a selection of movie and other TV content delivered to a STB hard drive for users to view with full on demand functionality. Subscribers will be able to record personal content from existing channels, and operators will also be able to add their own local content to the service. The system will use proprietary Push VOD technologies and navigation systems developed by The Walt Disney Company and the Kudelski Group.

Kudelski is a developer of digital security systems based in Switzerland. Its technologies are used in a wide range of applications requiring access control and rights management, whether for securing transfer of information (digital television, broadband Internet, video-on-demand, interactive applications, etc.) or to control and manage access of people or vehicles to sites and events. Its subsidiary, Nagravision, supplies open conditional access and integrated solutions for digital TV operators and content providers. http://www.nagra.com/pressreleases/view_release.php?id=499

Skype Cites Growing Developer Community

Skype announced that more than 400 hardware and software products have been created so far by the more than 100 developers using its Application Programming Interface (APIs), which is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Skype has awarded a first prize of EUR 2000 to Jyve in its first developer competition for a plug-in that lets webmasters enable Skype and call forwarding, presence, browser synchronization and auto-responding features on their sites.

Khaos Labs received a special mention for its Free ActiveS COM wrapper, which has been used by numerous other developers to help build a range of Skype Extras, which are available for download from the Skype Developer Zone.

Some additional third-party Skype products include Siemens and RTX cordless phones, Skype virtual business cards, ways to listen to your mp3 collections, and personal Skype assistants. http://www.skype.com

Cavalier Telephone Selects Amino's MPEG-4 Set-top

Cavalier Telephone, a CLEC based in Virginia with 180,000 lines, has chosen Amino's AmiNET124 set-top box for its IPTV deployment. The contract is part of a substantial multi-year agreement and deployment will commence in October 2005. Further details of the contract, including value and quantities, have not been disclosed.

The AmiNET124 is Amino's first single-chip IP set-top box which supports the new MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) video compression standard. The device is designed to be installed by the subscriber and features a field-upgradeable software platform to support future enhancements without significant additional cost to the IPTV service provider.
  • Cavalier Telephone, a CLEC based in Virginia, has licensed SecureMedia's Encryptonite System CA/DRM software to secure the delivery of IPTV services over Cavalier's multi-state broadband network. SecureMedia's Encryptonite System is an open platform CA/DRM software solution. The company said its Encryptonite System offers IPTV service providers the lowest cost of operation as the system requires minimal incremental bandwidth and features an ultra-light, processor-efficient client that can be deployed on virtually any set top box, mobile handset, or portable device. Encryptonite also employs a common encryption scheme for both broadcast and VOD content allowing for persistent and efficient protection of content in PVR and nPVR applications.

  • Cavalier is using Tut Systems' Astria content processor video headend and edge-processing solutions

  • Cavalier is also using Paradyne's 8000 BLC platform, supporting downstream data rates up to 29Mbps using ADSL2+

Hong Kong Broadband Network Deploys Cisco ROADMs

Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) is expanding its coverage and capacity with a Cisco IP Next Generation Network (IP NGN), using Cisco ROADM (Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer) technology together with HKBN's existing ONS 15454 Multiservice Transport Platform (MSTP) optical core. The expanded optical core will assist HKBN in achieving its goals of increasing the scope of its service offerings and expanding its network coverage to 80% of homes in Hong Kong.

ROADM enables service providers to add, drop or pass through any combination of the available wavelengths by remote control without having to manually configure or adjust node configurations.

HKBN is the first service provider to deploy Cisco's ROADM. The deployment will start at the end of August and finish by early October. Upon completion, HKBN's optical core will consist of multiple rings spanning the territory of Hong Kong. The new network capacity will be about 2 Terabits.

  • In April, Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) officially launched its 1 Gbps symmetric service for the residential market. Approximately 800,000 households, out of a total of 2.2 million households in Hong Kong, are wired to receive the service. The 1 Gbps symmetric service is priced at US$215 per month. HKBN noted that its 1 Gbps service is up to 166x faster downstream and 1,950x faster upstream than the advertised bandwidth of the incumbent's ADSL service. HKBN Premium bb1000 service is being offered on the same metro Ethernet infrastructure that delivers the company's Mass Market bb100 (symmetric 100 Mbps for US$34/month) and Entry Point bb10 (symmetric 10 Mbps for US$16/month) services.

  • HKBN is installing more than 10,000 Cisco Catalyst LAN switches and more than 800 Cisco routers in buildings throughout Hong Kong. Category 5e copper cables are wired from the LAN switch cabinet to the apartments of each target customer. Fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) was deployed between the buildings using the Cisco ONS 15454 Multiservice Transport Platform (MSTP) and Cisco Catalyst 4507R Switches.

  • HKBN is also using a Cisco Optical Core network. The deployment includes the Cisco ONS 15454 SONET/SDH Multiservice Provisioning Platform (MSPP); Cisco Catalyst 6500, Catalyst 4500, Catalyst 3350, and Catalyst 2950 series switches; and Cisco 2600XM Series routers. Cisco's ONS 15454 MSPP enables the carrier to converge its legacy voice and data services and a new pay-TV service into a single platform, and at the same time offer Layer 2 and 3 IP services using Resilient Packet Ring (RPR)-ready ML Series line cards. The network enables HKBN to deliver up to 200 digital pay-TV channels via MPEG-2 at 4.5 Mbps to 10 Mbps with DVD visual quality. Its service also features interactive pay-TV elements and enables PC or TV connection with the aid of a set-top box.

airBand Names Mark F. Spagnolo CEO

airBand Communications, a fixed wireless broadband connectivity provider based in Dallas, named Mark F. Spagnolo as the company's new president and CEO. Spagnolo most recently led Broadwing Communications. He also served as CEO of UUNET.

airBand said it is serving more than 2,000 businesses, including Continental Airlines, Fujitsu, Solomon Smith Barney, The Staubach Company, and WebMD.

MPLS & Frame Relay Alliance and the ATM Forum Complete Merger

The MFA Forum, the new organization formed through the merger of the MPLS & Frame Relay Alliance and the ATM Forum, held its first meeting last month in Ottawa. The merged group will focus on optimizing and interworking the three primary telecoms transport technologies -- ATM, MPLS & Frame Relay -- in a unified and streamlined technical committee and on representing the industry with a single voice.

"The first meeting of the MFA Forum was a great success," said Andrew G. Malis of Tellabs, and president and chairman of the MFA Forum. "With input from our Service Providers and forward movement from our technical committees, the MFA Forum is contributing to the industry by driving the convergence of multi-services networking technologies -- ATM, FR, and TDM -- over IP/MPLS."

The MFA Forum is nearing completion of Interoperability Agreements (IAs) addressing ATM and Frame Relay to MPLS Control Plane Interworking, and extensions to the ATM Signaling protocol to support high-speed connection greater than seven Gigabits per second (Gbps).

A final implementation agreement on ATM and Frame Relay to MPLS Control Plane Interworking is expected by the end of 2005. The proposed IA requires no changes to the existing ATM infrastructure; instead it will simplify migration from ATM to next-generation IP/MPLS-based packet networks. The agreement protects carrier investment in current services and their revenue streams while enabling emerging IP applications and services. A final implementation agreement expected by the end of 2005.

The High Speed Connection work project is aimed at accommodating data transfer between storage servers. High-end servers have the ability to push out 10 Gbps; this IA will allow those servers to get the most from their 10G links when ATM is part of the network solution.

Harmonic Introduces New HD Multi-Codec Encoder

Harmonic introduced its new DiviCom MV 3500 encoding platform, a multi-format high definition (HD) encoder supporting either MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), SMPTE VC-1 or MPEG-2. The full-featured DiviCom 3500 encoding platform, which builds on Harmonic's existing lines of multi-codec standard definition encoders, provides the performance, video quality and interoperability -- from the headend to the subscriber premises -- that operators need to offer a rich HD experience at low bit-rates.

The MV 3500 supports constant bit-rate (CBR) and variable bit-rate (VBR) encoding, and can deliver digital content in a variety of formats -- including 1080i and 720p -- and resolutions. It incorporates compression technology pioneered by Harmonic -- such as "MotionTrack" which provides full-field motion estimation, multi-pass "LookAhead" analysis and advanced video filtering -- to yield superior quality HD video at the lowest possible bit-rate. The MV 3500 is also the industry's first HD encoder to feature advanced pre-processing functions such as Motion Compensated Temporal Filtering (MCTF), which removes noise without introducing motion blur artifacts.

To ensure viewers receive the full HD experience, Harmonic's new HD platform supports multiple audio encoding formats such as MPEG Layer II, AC-3, AAC, aacPlus, and AC-3 5.1 pass-through. The system's flexible software architecture and substantial processing power make it possible for operators to benefit from new compression and video quality enhancements, features and codecs, delivering better value for the operator over the long-term.

Harmonic said that by using the MV 3500 in CBR mode, DSL operators will be able to viably introduce competitive HDTV, voice and data services. Satellite distribution and direct-to-home service providers deploying the VBR version of the new encoder can greatly increase the HD channel carrying capacity of their existing transports.

Canon Launches New Network-ready Video Cameras

Canon introduced two network-ready cameras featuring two-way audio features, built-in servers and optical zoom lenses.

Both the new Canon VB-C50FSi Fixed Network Camera and the new Canon VB-C50i/VB-C50iR Pan/Tilt/Zoom Network Camera feature an advanced 26X Optical Zoom Lens and a 12X Digital Zoom and 640-by-480-pixel resolution video with up to 30 frames-per-second quality. The two cameras use a quarter-inch, 340,000-effective-pixel CCD for high-quality image capture combined with low-light (1 Lux at 1/30 shutter speed) capabilities. In addition, a Motorized Infrared (IR) Cut Filter can be turned off to significantly brighten the viewing area. The two-way audio capabilities also include a Silence Detection feature that transmits audio data only when sound is present, thereby reducing network traffic. One model offers Power Over Ethernet (PoE) capabilities.

3Com Teams with Nuasis to Offer IP Contact Center

3Com introduced an IP Contact Center module that routes customer contacts -- phone, email, web and fax -- to customer service agents located anywhere on an enterprise network. The 3Com IP Contact Center product is licensed from Nuasis.

The 3Com IP Contact Center module is an IP-based application geared for medium and large enterprise customers. The module consolidates multiple contact center systems such as legacy automatic call distributors (ACDs), interactive voice response units (IVRs), and computer telephony integration (CTI) components on a single software platform. The module leverages SIP to provide flexibility and interoperability.

Senator Sununu Scheduled to Speak at Fall 2005 VON

Senator John Sununu (R-NH) has been scheduled to speak at Fall 2005 VON in Boston on Monday, September 19th.

Last year, Senator Sununu proposed the "VOIP Regulatory Freedom Act of 2004," which aimed at encouraging the growth of VoIP by definitively classifying it as an information service and limiting potential state regulations.

Ericsson Unveils Latest IP-PBX

Ericsson has launched a stand-alone version of its MX-ONE IP communications platform - a full-featured IP-PBX system for enterprises deploying a converged voice and data network from day one.
The latest release of the Ericsson MX-ONE system serves up to 7,000 users with integrated mobility and extensive collaboration features, including instant Messaging, corporate directories and presence profile management. It can be integrated with standard enterprise software such as Microsoft Office and IBM Lotus Notes.

Ericsson said analog, digital, mobile and IP phones can be used interchangeably with MX-ONE, enabling businesses to benefit from fixed-mobile and voice-data convergence.

MX-ONE's messaging application consolidates voicemail, fax and e-mail into a single user inbox, Unified Messaging services and `text to speech' enable employees to access and manage their e-mail inbox while they are on the road, from their mobile, smartphone or even from a public phone at an airport or hotel, for example - wherever they happen to be.

An active directory-based management system, MX-ONE Manager, centralizes network and user administration and simplifies fault and performance management, reducing the costs associated with managing the converged network.

For organizations with call center operations, MX-ONE can be combined with Ericsson's IP-based contact center solution, Solidus eCare, to provide voice and multimedia customer care services and link in mobile and remote agents.

Microsoft Acquires Teleo for VoIP / MSN Integration

Microsoft has acquired Teleo, a developer of VoIP software and services for the consumer market. Teleo, a San Francisco-based start-up, had launched a beta application that integrates with Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer to provide a click-to-call VoIP connectivity to cell phones, regular phones or other PCs. The company was founded in 2003. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Microsoft said it will combine the Teleo technology with the existing VoIP investments of MSN to further develop products and services for consumers.http://teleo.msn.com/

Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom Tops 3.36 Million ADSL Lines

Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan's incumbent telecom operator, had 3.36 million ADSL subscribers as of 30-June-2005, a 23.3% increase year-over-year. Chunghwa added 160,000 subscribers in the second quarter of 2005.

The total number of internet subscribers was nearly 3.96mn as of 30-June-2005, a 7.1% increase year-over-year. In the second quarter of 2005, Chunghwa added 91,000 new subscribers.

At the end of June 2005, mobile subscribers remained at 8.1 million, as the company said it continued to clean up inactive prepaid subscribers to increase the quality of total subscribers. Chunghwa continues to be the leading mobile operator in Taiwan in terms of both revenue and subscriber market share with 35.2% and 39.3% respectively as of the end of June 2005.

Chunghwa's total fixed line subscriber base stood at approximately 13.3 million as of 30-June-2005, an increase of 0.6% year-over-year.

Financially, revenues for the half year ending June 30 of NT$90.7 billion, net income of NT$24.9 billion and fully-diluted earnings per common share (EPS) of NT$2.58, or US$ 0.81 per ADS. The Company also reported earnings for the second quarter of 2005 with revenues of NT$46.2 billion, net income of NT$12.8 billion and earnings per share (EPS) of NT$ 1.33, or US$ 0.42 per ADS.

Widevine Releases Cypher 3.0 for Video Content Security

Widevine Technologies introduced Cypher 3.0, its third generation content security suite with new levels of reliability, flexibility and ease-of-use for telco, cable, satellite and internet services providers.

Cypher 3.0 now guarantees continuous availability for any type of content, on any device, at any time -- a critical requirement for operators who differentiate on service quality. The systems offers expanded ecosystem support for several new standard and high-definition set-top boxes and PVRs from Amino, ASUS, HwaCom and Motorola. The new release adds better reporting and simplified management of broadcast and VOD content security at all points in the network, which further lowers operating costs.

Cypher 3.0 supports standard-definition and high-definition content, including all the major media formats including MPEG-2, H.264 and VC-1. On the client side, it continues to take advantage of Widevine's patented downloadable and renewable Cypher Virtual SmartCard clients to protect set-top boxes, PVRs, PCs and mobile devices.

Verizon Wins FiOS TV Approval in Florida County

Verizon was awarded a 15-year video franchise by the Manatee County Commission in Florida. Verizon now has the authority to offer FiOS TV to the 235,000 residents in the unincorporated portions of the county. The company said this is the largest population to be served by a Verizon franchise agreement to date.

So far, Verizon has placed 1.8 million feet of fiber thus far to serve Manatee County. Verizon will extend FiOS TV to additional geographic areas within the county as wire centers are completed.

In addition, Verizon said the Manatee County agreement contains provisions for the network's future growth; financial support and capacity for educational and governmental access channels; support for a future institutional network (I-NET) that can link schools, libraries and other institutions; cable service to government buildings at no cost; and other important benefits including insurance, indemnification and enforcement protections.

See also