Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Intel and NDS Collaborate on Pay-TV over WiMAX

Intel and NDS are collaborating on a trial system for delivering TV and video services over fixed WiMAX links. The system, which is based in the WiMAX IEEE 802.16-2004 standard and soon to be ratified IEEE 802.16e, is currently being shown at Intel's Wireless Competence Center (IWCC) in Kista, Sweden.

The trial demonstrates WiMAX TV services, including live TV, VOD and integrated electronic program guide (EPG) delivery to an Intel Centrino notebook over 802.16-2004 and 802.11.

The current demonstration uses fixed pre-WiMAX equipment to deliver content to the customer premises equipment (CPE) and then WiFi to send content to the notebook. The companies intend to enhance the system to support 802.16e standard in the future and to make sure that security requirements protect the interests of content providers in an aim to demonstrate pay TV services delivery over mobile WiMAX to Intel based PDA and notebook devices.

NDS VideoGuard conditional access prevents the TV channel offering from being received by subscribers who have not paid for it. The NDS platform protects content delivery by using content entitlements, authorizations and tier packaging. It also enables content purchasing scenarios (e.g. Pay-Per-View) and supports Video-On-Demand by enabling secure content purchasing, protecting content delivery sessions, and enabling content business scenarios like DRM.

Intel and NDS said they will conduct further demonstrations to service providers and the industry to show how WiMAX can offer more than broadband access with pay-TV services.

Anders Huge, Director of Intel Wireless Competence Center commented: "Demonstrating multicast TV to notebook computers articulates the way forward for mobile computing - extending the range of services offered by WiMAX to include broadband internet access, VOIP and video. Intel Centrino mobile technology based notebooks are great entertainment devices and offer consumers the ability to take their home entertainment experience on the go."http://www.intel.comhttp://www.nds.com

FCC Requires VoIP Providers to Support CALEA by May 2007, Pay Costs

The FCC voted to adopt an order that requires facilities-based broadband Internet access providers and interconnected VOIP providers to provide Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) with all of the resources of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), enacted in 1994.

The current CALEA proceeding was initiated in response to a Joint Petition filed by the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Drug Enforcement Administration in March 2004. These law enforcement agencies had asked the FCC to address several issues so that industry and Law Enforcement would have clear guidance as CALEA implementation moves forward.

Key points of the new order include:

  • First, the Order affirms that the CALEA compliance deadline for facilities-based broadband Internet access and interconnected VoIP services will be May 14, 2007, as established by the First Report and Order in this proceeding. The Order concludes that this deadline gives providers of these services sufficient time to develop compliance solutions, and notes that standards developments for these services are already well underway.

  • Second, the Order clarifies that this May 14, 2007 compliance date will apply to all facilities-based broadband Internet access and interconnected VoIP providers. Applying the same compliance date to all providers will eliminate any possible confusion about the applicability of the deadline, avoid any skewing effect on competition, and prevent migration of criminal activity onto networks with delayed compliance dates.

  • Third, the Order explains that, absent the filing of a petition that assistance capability standards are deficient, it would be premature for the Commission to intervene in the ongoing process by which telecommunications standards-setting bodies, acting in concert with LEAs and other interested persons, are developing assistance capability standards.

  • Fourth, the Order permits telecommunications carriers the option of using Trusted Third Parties (TTPs) to assist in meeting their CALEA obligations and providing LEAs the electronic surveillance information those agencies require in an acceptable format. The record indicates that TTPs are available to provide a variety of services for CALEA compliance to carriers, including processing requests for intercepts, conducting electronic surveillance, and delivering relevant information to LEAs. The Order makes clear that, if a carrier chooses to use a TTP, the carrier remains responsible for ensuring the timely delivery of call-identifying information and call content information to a LEA and for protecting subscriber privacy, as required by CALEA.

  • Fifth, the Order restricts the availability of compliance extensions under CALEA section 107(c) to equipment, facilities and services deployed prior to October 25, 1998 and clarifies the role and scope of CALEA section 109(b), under which carriers may be reimbursed for their CALEA compliance costs. More specifically, the Order find that sections 107(c) and 109(b) of CALEA provide only limited relief from compliance requirements.

  • Sixth, the Order finds that the Commission may, in addition to law enforcement remedies available through the courts, take separate enforcement action under section 229(a) of the Communications Act against carriers that fail to comply with CALEA.

  • Seventh, the Order concludes that carriers are responsible for CALEA development and implementation costs for post-January 1, 1995 equipment and facilities, and declines to adopt a national surcharge to recover CALEA costs. The Order finds that it would not serve the public interest to implement a national surcharge because such a mechanism would increase the administrative burden placed upon the carriers and provide little incentive for them to minimize their costs.

  • Eight, the Order requires all carriers providing facilities-based broadband Internet access and interconnected VoIP service to submit interim reports to the Commission to ensure that they will be CALEA-compliant by May 14, 2007, and also requires all facilities-based broadband Internet access and interconnected VoIP providers to whom CALEA obligations were applied in the First Report and Order to come into compliance with the system security requirements in the Commission's rules within 90 days of the effective date of this Order.
  • In August 2005, the FCC ruled that certain types of VoIP services must accommodate law enforcement wiretaps. The action was described as "the first critical step to apply CALEA obligations to new technologies and services that are increasingly used as a substitute for conventional services."

    The FCC reasoned that VoIP services which essentially replace conventional telecommunications services are subject to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), which gives law enforcement agencies the authority to conduct court-ordered wiretaps.

    The first Order was limited to facilities-based broadband Internet access service providers and VoIP providers that offer services permitting users to receive calls from, and place calls to, the public switched telephone network. These VoIP providers are called interconnected VoIP providers.

    The Commission found that the definition of "telecommunications carrier" in CALEA is broader than the definition of that term in the Communications Act and can encompass providers of services that are not classified as telecommunications services under the Communications Act. CALEA contains a provision that authorizes the Commission to deem an entity a telecommunications carrier if the Commission "finds that such service is a replacement for a substantial portion of the local telephone exchange."

Deutsche Telekom Outlines Growth Strategy

"We are Europe's No. 1 and are determined to remain so," Deutsche Telekom's CEO Kai-Uwe Ricke emphasized at the company's shareholders' meeting in Cologne on Wednesday.

2005 was the best financial year in Deutsche Telekom's history. DT Group revenue rose 3.9 percent to EUR 59.6 billion and adjusted EBITDA grew by 5.7 percent to EUR 20.7 billion. Improved earnings also fed through into adjusted net profit that increased by 26.7 percent to EUR 4.7 billion. Net debt was reduced by 3.2 percent to EUR 38.6 billion, further reducing the Group's debt in the process.

"In 2006, we are now moving into the phase of growth and value enhancement, a phase we will tackle actively," Ricke announced, presenting the three core areas of the strategy:

  • Organic growth of the Group;

  • Portfolio development, essentially the inorganic growth of the Group; and

  • Financial strategy.

Deutsche Telekom is undertaking a 10-point program aimed at cultural change as the company shifts to becoming a customer-oriented service provider.

The first four measures aim to defend the core business of the Broadband/Fixed Network and Mobile Communications strategic business areas in the consumer market while opening up new markets.

Strategic pricing measures will be implemented in the fixed-network business.

The company will focus on innovative broadband products and services for the mass consumer market, including the already implemented DSL portfolio, ADSL2+ and VDSL, along with the associated T-Online services like next-generation TV and video services. A key element for these products and services is the rollout of the new high-speed fiber-optic network.

In the mobile communications area, T-Mobile aims to reach a leading position in terms of mobile broadband and superb network quality with compelling prices and simple price structures. Mobile data services will also be expanded.

T-Systems will further expand its core business both with small and medium-sized enterprises and with key accounts. In addition, integrated telecommunications and IT solutions are aimed at generating sustained growth in the business customer segment.

The last four measures are geared to intelligent integration. Specifically, this involves further increasing revenue, reducing costs and promoting cultural change.

Geographically, DT plans to strengthen operations in the European countries in which its already operates, along with North America.

"We intend to play an active role in the European consolidation process," Ricke emphasized. But Deutsche Telekom will only go ahead with acquisitions if they enhance shareholder value. "The return on capital of an investment is the criterion we apply when it comes to strategic portfolio management decisions."

T-Mobile USA is currently preparing to participate in the auction for mobile communications frequencies in the USA.

For the current year, the Deutsche Telekom group expects net revenue to be between EUR 62.1 billon and 62.7 billion, and adjusted EBITDA between EUR 20.2 billon and 20.7 billion.

Regarding staff restructuring, Ricke said there will be around 6,000 new hires in new business segments and fields that are highly customer- and service-centric, such as the T-Punkt stores. On the other hand, 32,000 employees are to leave the Group, including 7,000 employees whose jobs will be outplaced from Vivento on a permanent basis.

As agreed with the trade unions, there will be no compulsory redundancies in the Deutsche Telekom AG before 2008. Job cuts will be made through voluntary arrangements, such as old-age part-time work or redundancy payments, for which Deutsche Telekom has put together a package of measures costing EUR 3.3 billion.


JacobsRimell Extends its Identity-based OSS

JacobsRimell extended its subscriber identity-based service fulfillment and management platform to facilitate service providers' seamless rollout of converged services in the home.

JR's solution is based around a unique information management architecture, allowing operators to simultaneously configure and manage multiple IP services from a single OSS platform.

The company said enhancements to its subscriber identity based OSS platform means operators can more rapidly converge and deliver multiple products and services to consumers - meeting individual customers' personal preferences and ever changing situational needs making it possible to provision bundled, tiered and personalized multimedia home-based services in real time.

Skype Adds 100-Person Conferencing

Skype introduced a new "Skypecast" features enabling users to participate in live, moderated conversations of up to 100 people.

Skypecasts are live, moderated conversations where people to discuss shared interests/ The calls are moderated by a host, who is able to mute, eject or pass the virtual microphone to participants when they wish to speak. Hosting or participating in a Skypecast is free.

Several Skype partners are currently piloting Skypecasts with their communities. For example, Six Apart, a leader in blogging software and services for individuals and businesses, plans to promote Skypecasts as a way of expanding their online communities.

Skypecasts can also be promoted on any website using HTML snippets. All live Skypecasts are available in preview form.http://skypecasts.skype.com

Bell Canada Adds 71,000 Broadband Users in Q1

BCE (Bell Canada Enterprises) reported revenues of $4.7 billion, an increase of 2.2% over the same period last year. The company took an $88 million charge in the quarter related to employee reductions, real estate consolidation and other items, which resulted in operating income for the quarter of $907 million as compared to $1,043 million in the first quarter of 2005.

"BCE's performance in the first quarter is on track against the two-year plan we laid out on February 1 to reposition Bell Canada by ramping up our growth services, expanding bandwidth, making service a market differentiator and lowering costs," said Michael Sabia, President and Chief Executive Officer of BCE.

Some highlights for the quarter:

  • Revenues from wireless, video and Internet generated 47% of Bell's total revenues in the quarter, compared to 42% one year earlier. Each of these services recorded year-over- year double-digit revenue increases and are on track to reach approximately 55% of total Bell revenues by year-end.

  • In High Speed Internet there were 71,000 net additions, giving the company 2,266,000 subscribers. The company noted aggressive competition, particularly in the Quebec market.

  • Bell's Fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) roll-out was extended to 279 neighbourhood nodes in the first quarter, for a total of 2,327.

  • Bell launched Sympatico High Speed Unplugged, which leverages the Inukshuk joint-venture to provide users with portable Internet access. The company also expanded its next-generation EVDO wireless data network footprint to new communities across Canada.

  • Residential segment revenue growth in the quarter of 0.7% year over year to $1,869 million, compared to $1,856 million in the same period last year.

  • Business segment revenue grew in the quarter of 2.1% year over year to $1,509 million, compared to $1,478 million in the same period last year

  • The Enterprise segment continued to face aggressive competitive pressure in the market, resulting in the loss of high-margin voice and data business. In addition, higher pension costs and amortization expense contributed to lower Business segment operating income; $205 million for the first quarter of 2006, down 14.6% from the same period last year.

  • Wireless continues to strengthen as gross additions increased 17% year over year, leading to the continued improvement in the quality of the customer base - strengthening ARPU and contributing to double-digit revenue growth. Revenue grew 12.8% to $804 million in the first quarter compared to $713 million in the first quarter of 2005. There were 59,000 net activations in the quarter.

  • Bell's video group remains Canada's leading Direct-to-Home (DTH) provider. Total subscribers were up 13.5% year over year to reach 1,739,000 at the end of the first quarter. Churn remains low at 0.9% per month.

QUALCOMM Increases Financial Guidance thanks to 1xEV-DO Chip Sales

QUALCOMM increased its financial guidance for the third fiscal quarter ending June 25, 2006.

"The increase in our guidance reflects stronger than expected new orders for our very low-tier chipsets as well as increased demand for 1xEV-DO chipsets," said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, CEO of QUALCOMM.

The company now anticipates third fiscal quarter pro forma revenues to be at or slightly above the high end of prior guidance of approximately $1.77 to $1.87 billion. We now anticipate third fiscal quarter QUALCOMM pro forma diluted earnings per share to be approximately $0.38 to $0.40, compared to $0.28 in the year ago quarter. This estimate is based on the shipment of approximately 53 to 56 million Mobile Station Modem (MSM) chips during the quarter compared to approximately 36 million in the year ago quarter and approximately 49 million in the prior quarter. QUALCOMM previously anticipated third fiscal quarter QUALCOMM pro forma diluted earnings per share of approximately $0.36 to $0.38 and estimated shipments of approximately 50 to 53 million MSM chips.http:/www.qualcomm.com

Limelight Reaches 500 Customers for its Content Delivery

Limelight Networks, which operates a digital media delivery network, reported that its customer base has grown to more than 500 customers, including Akimbo, ABC Radio Networks, Belo Interactive, "BuyMusic" @ Buy.com, DreamWorks, LLC, IFILM, Live365, Marimba, MSNBC.com, NC Interactive, NPR, Real Networks Rhapsody, Radio Free Virgin, Valve Software, and Xbox Live. Monthly revenue exceeded $4 million for the first time in March.


Sonus and Verint Systems Partner on Lawful Intercepts

Sonus Networks has formed a strategic partnership with Verint Systems, a provider of analytic software-based solutions for security and enterprise business intelligence, to enable service providers to address more effectively communications interception requirements for VoIP and broadband packet-data services.

Verint has worked with Sonus to create a lawful Interception and delivery capability based on Sonus' IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem)-ready architecture with Verint's STAR-GATECommunications Interception Solution. The joint solution is designed to allow service providers to comply with standards established for CALEA (Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act) in the U.S., and by ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) in Europe, as well as for other country-specific variants around the world.


Verizon Cuts Price of VoiceWing VoIP to $24.95

Verizon trimmed the price of its VoiceWing Broadband Phone Service. Previously priced at $29.95 a month for Verizon broadband customers and $34.95 a month for other broadband users, the VoiceWing Unlimited Plan now is available for $24.95, plus taxes and surcharges, to all qualified new and existing VoiceWing customers -- no matter what broadband connection they use.

Verizon also offers a VoiceWing 500 Plan that provides 500 minutes of
outbound local and domestic long-distance calling for just $19.95 a month, plus taxes and surcharges.


Space Systems/Loral to Build AsiaSat 5 Satellite

Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) has been chosen by Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company Limited (AsiaSat), Hong Kong, to build AsiaSat 5.

AsiaSat 5, a fixed satellite services (FSS) spacecraft expected to launch in 2008, will replace and expand upon the services provided by AsiaSat 2 at 100.5 degrees East longitude. The satellite will be based on SS/L's 1300 platform, which features qualified, flight proven subsystems and a long record of reliable operation.

The satellite's payload will carry both C- and Ku-band transponders and has a 15-year mission life. AsiaSat 5 will be compatible with a range of commercial launch vehicles.

AsiaSat currently serves over two- thirds of the world's population with its three satellites, AsiaSat 2, AsiaSat 3S and AsiaSat 4.


3Com Selects Agere's GigE Chips

3Com is using Agere's Ethernet switching chipsets in its Baseline Plus family of switches. Specifically, 3Com is using Agere's previously announced ET3K, a single-chip 48-port Gigabit Ethernet switch device, and its Octal TruePHY 1081, which features low power and exceeds industry standard requirements for reach and error-free performance by approximately 40 percent. Agere's TruePHY architecture also offers advanced cable diagnostics, providing the ability to pinpoint a break in 100 meters or more standard of category 5 cabling.