Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Finisar Acquires Big Bear for 40 Gbps Transponders

Finisar Corporation acquired all of the optical transponder assets of Big Bear Networks for $1.9 million in cash. The assets purchased include equipment, inventory and intellectual property associated with Big Bear's 10Gigabit Ethernet Xenpak and X2 transponders and their industry leading 40Gigabit transponder that has already been qualified by a number of telecom equipment companies.

Big Bear Networks realized approximately $4.0 million in revenues for transponder sales during calendar 2005 through October 31, most of which was for 40 Gbps products. Finisar will move all acquired assets into its facilities in Northern California and believes that the transaction will be neutral to its bottom line during the first year of operations.
  • In November 2003, Big Bear Networks, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California raised $18 million in a third round of private venture funding for its next-generation 10 and 40 Gbps optical system products. Big Bear said its electronic dispersion compensation technology automatically corrects for the fiber impairments (e.g., modal dispersion, chromatic dispersion, polarization mode dispersion) that become more severe as systems move toward greater speeds and transmission distances. This round of funding was led by Menlo Ventures. Other participants include previous investors Accel Partners, Austin Ventures, Oak Investment Partners, and Sequoia Capital.

  • In January 2002, Big Bear raised $40 million in its second round of private funding. Lead investors for the Series B funding were Austin Ventures, Austin, Tex., and Menlo Ventures, Menlo Park, Calif. Other participants in the current round include Oak Investment Partners, Menlo Park; as well as original investors Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital, which together invested $20 million in Big Bear in June 2000.

Level 3 Sells IT Outsourcing Unit to Infocrossing

Level 3 Communications completed the sale of its IT infrastructure management outsourcing subsidiary, (i)Structure, to Infocrossing for approximately $84.8 million.

(I) Structure, headquartered in Broomfield, CO, provides computing operations and managed infrastructure services to enterprise clients from data centers located in the central and western United States.

Verizon Wireless to Offer MediaFLO's Mobile Real-time TV Services

Verizon Wireless will be the first U.S. wireless service provider to offer MediaFLO realtime TV services when the network is commercially available. Verizon is with QUALCOMM and its subsidiary MediaFLO USA Inc. to launch mobile TV services over the MediaFLO network in approximately half of the markets already covered by Verizon Wireless' CDMA2000 1xEV-DO-based broadband network.

FLO technology is a new air interface originally developed by Qualcomm with multicasting capabilities designed to increase capacity and reduce content delivery costs to mobile handsets. The technology is independent of the cellular network but complements CDMA2000 1X, 1xEV-DO and WCDMA cellular network data and voice services.

MediaFLO USA Inc. is building a nationwide network based on QUALCOMM's FLO technology to deliver multimedia content to mobile devices in the 700 MHz spectrum. QUALCOMM holds a nationwide footprint of spectrum licenses in this band. MediaFLO USA Inc. expects to begin commercial operation of the new network in 2006.

Following the initial launch, QUALCOMM and MediaFLO USA Inc. will continue to expand the MediaFLO network throughout other markets that cover the Verizon Wireless' V CAST and BroadbandAccess service areas. Verizon Wireless plans to offer mobile TV service to its subscribers through MediaFLO-enabled EV-DO handsets and use the MediaFLO network to deliver mobile TV services when the network begins commercial operation.

"MediaFLO USA's network will allow us to provide compelling real-time multimedia services to wireless customers, complementing our industry-leading wireless voice and data services -- including our successful V CAST broadband multimedia service," said John Stratton, vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless.

India's BSNL Selects UTStarcom's IP DSLAM

India's Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) selected UTStarcom to deploy 90,000 lines of its AN-2000 IP-based DSLAM in the operator's growing nationwide broadband network. BSNL is the incumbent and largest telecommunications services provider in India, with a presence in the fixed-line, cellular mobile, long distance and data markets.

This contract represents an expansion on a previously announced deployment of its AN-2000 IP DSLAM and related equipment for the second phase of BSNL's National Internet Backbone project. Financial terms were not disclosed.

BellSouth Reorganizes into Retail and Business Units

BellSouth announced a new operational structure aligned around two customer units: Retail Markets and Business Markets.

  • Retail Markets, which will focus on BellSouth's residential and small business customers, will be headed by David Scobey. Reporting to Scobey will be William Pate, Chief Marketing Officer-Retail Markets, and Paulino Barros, Chief Product Officer-Retail Markets.

  • Business Markets will provide support for enterprise and wholesale customers and will be led by Dick Anderson, vice chairman and president, Business Markets. Reporting to Anderson will be Donna Lee, Chief Marketing Officer-Business Markets.

Within each operating unit sales, product development, marketing, and customer service functions will work together to deliver innovative products with superior customer service.

Other appointments include:

Keith Cowan was named Chief Field Operations Officer of the Network Services organization, reporting to Rod Odom, President, Network Services.

Rex Adams was named Web Development Officer, and will now report to Fran Dramis, CIO, E-Commerce and Security Officer. In his new role, Adams will lead BellSouth's on-line strategy.

"As competitive pressures intensify, speed to market is critical to success in the communications marketplace. This new alignment is designed to simplify our organization, provide focus on these two markets, and streamline the process for delivering customer solutions. This will better enable us to get the right products to the right customers more quickly," said Mark Feidler, BellSouth President and Chief Operating Officer.

ViaSat Acquires Efficient Channel Coding

ViaSat acquired privately- held Efficient Channel Coding Inc. (ECC), a producer of broadband communication integrated circuits and satellite communication systems. Terms of the deal include initial consideration of approximately $16.5 million and the assumption of certain stock options as well as $9.0 million of additional consideration to be paid in cash and/or stock based on ECC meeting certain financial performance targets over the next two years.

ViaSat said the deal enhances its position in the new S2 version of the DVB-RCS satellite broadband standard. The company also becomes the supplier of modem chips for the Asian IPSTAR spot-beam satellite system.

Efficient Channel Coding is based in Cleveland, Ohio and has 55 employees.
  • ViaSat's full line of satellite communication products includes VSAT systems for network access and infrastructure, and Ka-band satellite systems, from user terminals to large gateways.

NTT America Consolidates Global IP and Enterprise Services

NTT America, a wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary of NTT Communications Corporation, announced the launch of its Global IP Network business and Enterprise Hosting business in addition to the private network services already offered under the Arcstar brand.

Both the Global IP Network and Enterprise Hosting businesses were previously operated at Verio, another NTT Communications subsidiary, which was acquired in September 2000.

By combining the offerings under one roof, NTT America will be in a position to provide integrated data networking, IP, and hosting solutions through a single resource to its growing global customer base.

Following the transfer of these businesses to NTT America, Verio will focus on the delivery of hosting and managed services to small and mid-market businesses and partners worldwide.

"The integration of the Global IP Network and Enterprise Hosting services under NTT America will reemphasize NTT Communications' leadership position as a comprehensive enterprise solutions provider," said Tatsuo Kawasaki, President & CEO of NTT America.

AT&T Resumes Trading Under "T" Symbol

The new AT&T resumed trading under its legendary "T" symbol on the New York Stock Exchange. The company said its decision to adopt the "T" ticker symbol reflects both the rich heritage of the combined enterprise as well as its commitment to lead the next major shift in communications technology -- the transformation to integrated solutions based on Internet Protocol.

The "T" symbol was used by AT&T Corp. before its acquisition by SBC Communications Inc. AT&T Corp. was a member of the Dow 30 until April 2004. The "T" ticker symbol was first used by American Bell, the predecessor of American Telephone and Telegraph Company, in 1888 on the Boston Stock Exchange. In 1901, American Telephone and Telegraph, which later became AT&T, started trading under the symbol "ATT" on the New York Stock Exchange, and it adopted the "T" symbol in 1930. The "SBC" stock ticker symbol dates back to 1984, following the creation of Southwestern Bell Corporation after divestiture by the original AT&T.

Pactolus Appoints VPs of Engineering and Advanced Technology

Pactolus Communications Software, a developer of Class 4/5 SIP-based IP voice services, named Steve Weeks as Vice President of Engineering and Jeff Gibson as Vice President of Advanced Technology Development.

Weeks was most recently VP of Engineering for Brontes Technology and also served as Vice President of Research and Development for NBX Corporation, which developed a packet-switched PBX.

Paragon Wireless Raises $7 Million for VoWLAN

Paragon Wireless, a start-up based in Dallas, Texas and Beijing, China, raised $7 million in Series B funding for its VoWLAN solution.

Paragon designs and develops standards-compliant VoWLAN equipment including handsets and access points. ParaPhone is a smart phone with IEEE 802.11 and SIP-based VoIP engine. It provides end customers real multimedia experience, such as VoIP, E-mail, web surfing, MP3, high-quality photo, and video streaming in home, office, and hot spot/zone. ParaPhone Twins combines VoWLAN and GSM/GPRS into a single handset. It enables end customers to use it as a cell phone anywhere anytime and enjoy broadband applications and economical voice service many-time many-where. ParaAP, the AP product, integrates DSL (ADSL2+), WLAN AP (802.11g), router, VoIP (SIP), and IP-PBX together into one box. The product is already on the market.

The latest funding round was co-led by Austin Ventures and CID Group. The funds will be used to further research and product development, and expand international sales and marketing activities.

Paragon Wireless currently has 40 employees based in Beijing, China, and has recently established their international headquarters in Dallas, Texas.

Cox Boosts Cable Modem Speeds to 9 Mbps downstream, 1 Mbps upstream

Cox Communications has increased the speed of its fastest Cox High Speed Internet package at no additional charge for customers in Cleveland, OH, Kansas, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, OK, as well as Orange County and San Diego, California. Cox High Speed Internet customers that subscribe to the Premier package in these markets now get speeds up to 9 Mbps downstream and up to 1 Mbps upstream, a download speed up to 80% faster than before the upgrade.

Earlier this year, Cox also increased data speeds in its Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, Rhode Island and Virginia markets.

Agilent's Semiconductor Group Begins Operations as Avago

Agilent Technologies completed the divestiture of its Semiconductor Products business to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) and Silver Lake Partners for $2.66 billion.

The new company will operate under the name Avago Technologies.

Avago Technologies has a portfolio of more than 5,500 products, which are sold into a broad set of applications and end markets, including wireless and wired communications, industrial, automotive, consumer electronics and storage and computing. The company maintains "top three" market leadership positions in optocouplers, infrared transceivers, optical communications, printer ASICs, optical mouse sensors, and motion control encoders.

Avago Technologies is co-headquartered in San Jose, Calif., and Singapore, and begins operations with 6,500 employees of which 1,000 are analog design engineers.

The company said it will differentiate its business through effective supply chain management, strong worldwide distribution channels and a highly variable, low-cost operating model.

"Our strategy is to leverage our substantial intellectual property, design expertise and system-level knowledge to win in our markets," said Dick Chang, president and CEO of Avago Technologies. "We'll continue to provide the innovative products that enable our customers and that have established our market leadership positions. We'll also continue to drive profitability through a highly variable, low-cost operating model, and we'll capitalize on our new independence by developing an efficient, stand-alone cost structure."http://www.avagotech.comAgilent Technologies announced its plan to divest its Semiconductor business in August 2005.