Thursday, January 19, 2006

SCOPE Alliance Aims for Open Specifications on Carrier Platforms

A new industry alliance has been formed by Alcatel, Ericsson, Motorola, NEC, Nokia and Siemens to accelerate the deployment of carrier grade base platforms for service provider applications.

The mission of the new alliance, called SCOPE, is to help, enable and promote the availability of open carrier grade base platforms based on Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) hardware / software and free open source software building blocks, and to promote interoperability to better serve Service Providers and consumers.

SCOPE will not create its own specification, but will complement the work of several industry initiatives such as PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group, Service Availability Forum, Open Source Development Lab and others that have successfully created high quality open specifications that enable the creation of carrier grade base platforms.

SCOPE's initial activities will be focused on creating profiles for hardware, operating system, base platform middleware and tools suites based on Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (ATCA), Carrier Grade Linux, and SA Forum's interface specifications. SCOPE expects its first profile to be published in Q1 of 2006.

"Creating carrier grade profiles will enable the network equipment provider ecosystem to develop and manufacture hardware and software building blocks and platforms with higher volumes, thus lowering costs. Such profiles will serve to create products which include the features that are required by the telecommunications industry to bring high quality and innovative new services to consumers," said Timo Jokiaho, chairman of SCOPE.

Eutelsat's Hot Bird 7ATM Readies for Launch

Eutelsat's HOT BIRD 7A broadcasting satellite has been schedules for launch from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana on 21-February-2006.

HOT BIRD 7A will be positioned at 13 degrees East, Eutelsat's prime
neighborhood for television and radio broadcasting to satellite and cable homes. Equipped with 38 Ku-band transponders, its dual mission is to replace existing capacity at 13 degrees East and, in conjunction with HOT BIRD 8 which is due for launch in second quarter, to provide complete in-orbit redundancy at the HOT BIRD location. Eutelsat's HOT BIRD neighborhood today hosts 850 television channels and 550 radio stations, serving 110 million homes in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

Alcatel Alenia Space serves as the prime contractor (platform and payload).


SwissCom Appoints New CEO

SwissCom's Board of Directors appointed Carsten Schloter as its new CEO, following the resignation of Jens Alder. At his own request, Jens Alder is standing down as Swisscom CEO. In so doing, he is drawing personal conclusions from the change in international expansion plans prompted by Switzerland's Federal Council.

Switzerland's Federal Council has instructed its representative on the Board of Directors of SwissCom to vote against the company's proposed acquisition of Eircom, the incumbent telco in Ireland, and other possible acquisitions that Swisscom might make abroad. Market observers believed that Swisscom might have been contemplating a bid for Tele Danmark (TDC). Instead, the Swiss government is encouraging SwissCom to distribute available capital to its shareholders. The Swiss state holds approximately 66% equity stake in SwissCom.

In a statement, Swisscom's Board of Director said that, in principle, it now takes a positive view of plans to sell off the Swiss government's majority holding in Swisscom, and welcomes the measures initiated by the Federal Council to clarify the question as soon as possible. In addition to payouts in accordance with the current return policy, Swisscom aims to pay out some CHF 1.5 billion to shareholders by no later than 2009.

Carsten Schloter, the new CEO, previously served as CEO of Swisscom Mobile and as a member of the Group Executive Board. Before joining Swisscom in 2000, he worked for Mercedes and debitel in France and Germany.

Fluke Closes Acquisition of Visual Networks

Danaher Corporation's Fluke Electronics subsidiary completed its previously announced acquisition of Visual Networks.

Visual Networks, which is based in Rockville, Maryland, supplies a range of enterprise network and application performance management solutions. Its flagship product, Visual UpTime Select, provides in-depth, real-time and historical information that enables organizations to intelligently manage application and network performance and availability across the entire enterprise. Over the past year, the product has evolved from a WAN-based focus to a full application and network performance management solution with software modules that auto-discover applications and obtain end-to-end performance data for those applications. The company has also released a suite of Ethernet appliances and VoIP software solutions. Visual Networks had revenues of $52 million in 2004.

Fluke Networks provides testing, monitoring and analysis of enterprise and telecommunications networks and the installation and certification of the fiber and copper foundation of those networks.

Covad Offers VoIP PBXi over T1s

Covad Communications introduced a VoIP PBXi Plus service aimed at small businesses and distributed enterprises with existing on-premise phone equipment. The service runs over Covad's Voice-Optimized Access (VOA) T1 lines. It is based on the Covad hosted platform and supports both the features of the PBX system and some of its own, including new online management and configuration capabilities. Covad also offers a hosted business-class VoIP product, Covad vPBX, for customers who want the convenience and reliability of a fully-managed VoIP solution.

Covad VoIP PBXi Plus integrates easily into business phone systems because all the original handsets, phone numbers and equipment are retained. Full e-911 service is included.

Ciena Lands Key Win at Progress Telecom

Progress Telecom, a leading broadband and wireless services provider, selected Ciena as a key supplier in the evolution and expansion of its existing network for next-generation services. Progress Telecom selected Ciena's CN 4200 FlexSelect Advanced Services Platform for 10G DWDM metro and regional transport and CN 3600 Intelligent Optical Multiservice Switch for international gateway and SONET/SDH applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Progress Telecom operates one of the largest regional networks in the United States spanning 8,254 route-miles of fiber, 29 metro networks and 10 states from Florida to New York. The service provider delivers a variety of broadband services to its carrier, ISP and large enterprise customers, including SONET/SDH conversion, private line, wavelength, Ethernet and IP. Progress Telecom's nearly 200 points of presence range from carrier hotels and undersea cable landing stations to wireless network towers and end-user locations, putting a wide variety of operating requirements on its network equipment.

In the initial deployments, Ciena's CN 4200 is creating a 10G DWDM backbone for aggregating and transporting Ethernet, IP and other services between metro networks, such as New York to Washington, D.C., while the CN 3600 is providing a single platform that supports next-generation translation, transport and switching of both SONET and SDH for its international gateway locations and metro SONET/SDH services.


QUALCOMM Completes Acquisition of Flarion Technologies

QUALCOMM closed its acquisition of Flarion Technologies, a pioneer and leading developer of Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex Access (OFDMA) technology.

QUALCOMM paid approximately $600 million in QUALCOMM stock and cash. Upon the satisfaction of certain milestones, QUALCOMM may also pay an additional $205 million in the form of cash and QUALCOMM stock.

The deal was first announced in August 2005.
  • Flarion, a start-up based in Bedminster, New Jersey, developed a fast, low latency air interface technology that combines attributes of TDMA and CDMA. Flarion's flash-OFDM mobile broadband system is a packet-switched radio access network with QoS capabilities that overlays onto a mobile operator's existing cell sites and spectrum. Flarion's platform provides a seamless routing interface to the operator's existing IP network.

  • Flarion Technologies was founded in 2000 by Dr. Rajiv Laroia, who previously was with Bell Laboratories. In 1997, he became head of Bell Labs' Digital Communications Research Department in the Wireless Research Center where he and his team started to develop FLASH-OFDM technology based wireless data system.

AOL to Invest in Local Loop Unbundling in the UK

AOL will invest in Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) in the UK. The initial phase of the program, costing around GBP 50 million, will take place in the first half of 2006 and reach up to 300 exchanges, equivalent to 20% of UK households. If successful, AOL may extend this rollout to up to 1,000 exchanges in the UK, based on an estimated additional investment of GBP 70 million, in order to be able to offer the possibility of 'unbundling' the telephone line for more than 50% of UK households. AOL's investment in the local telephone network in the UK is being funded by parent company Time Warner.

AOL said it has already completed beta testing of the LLU process in two London exchanges, Battersea and Ealing and has created a team of more than 100 people in the UK to carry out a large-scale LLU rollout. AOL's unbundled services will be ADSL 2+ compatible, creating the potential for broadband services of more than 8 Mbps in the future.

The AOL Internet service and AOL Talk are provided to UK subscribers by AOL Europe Services SARL, a company in the AOL group based in Luxembourg. AOL has more than 1.1m broadband subscribers out of a total of more than 2.3 million members in the UK, as at November 2005.

The America Channel Secures Carriage in Telco TV Market

The America Channel, a new, independently-owned cable programming network set to launch in 2006, announced its fifth telco deal -- a digital IP carriage agreement with Optical Entertainment Network (OEN). The America Channel previously reported deals with Verizon FiOS and other telcos, for nationwide deployment in 2006. The America Channel has now secured carriage with companies representing approximately 80% of the projected telco video market.

Time Warner Telecom Extends Atlanta Fiber Network

Time Warner Telecom announced a 130-mile extension of its fiber network in the greater Atlanta region. Time Warner Telecom operates and maintains a fiber infrastructure and a 10 Gbps IP backbone delivering metro Ethernet, next generation services and integrated voice and data solutions to medium and large Atlanta-area businesses.

As of September 30, 2005, Time Warner Telecom had more than 20,000 route miles of fiber in its network.