Tuesday, May 23, 2006

AnchorFree Secures $6 Million for Free Wi-Fi Services

AnchorFree, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, announced $6 million in Series A funding to support its rapid growth and proliferation of free wireless internet access (Wi-Fi).

AnchorFree provides consumers with access to 10,000 free Wi-Fi hot-spot locations. AnchorFree, through its recent acquisition of MetroFreeFi and its success in global unification of Free Hotspots, gives customers free access to an "open" community made up of hot spots, ISP providers, and its own proprietary network. The company's products enable revolutionary ad targeting over ISP and Wi-Fi networks, secure access capabilities, and the WiPod product that enables internet users to take AnchorFree's network list of 10,000 free Wi-Fi hot spots "to go" by downloading the directory to their iPod.

The funding came from notable investors including Bert Roberts, former chairman and CEO of MCI; RENN Capital Group, Inc., under the leadership of the fund's President Russell Cleveland; Richard Rainwater, president of Rainwater, Inc., on behalf of his wife Darla Moore and his son Todd Rainwater; and other strategic investors.


Fujitsu and Cisco Deliver XR 12400 Routers for Japan

Fujitsu and Cisco Systems released co-branded "Fujitsu and Cisco XR12400" series (four models) routers specifically designed for the Japanese market.

The products are delivered through the companies' strategic alliance, which was announced in December 2004.

Like the "Fujitsu and Cisco CRS-1" Carrier Routing System, which was introduced in May 2005, the new series runs on the next-generation Cisco IOS XR operating system. Offering highly secure virtualization, continuous system operation and multi-service scalability, the Fujitsu and Cisco XR 12400 series provides intelligent routing solutions that scale from 2.5 to 10 Gbps capacity per slot.

In addition, the companies announced that the Fujitsu and Cisco CRS-1 will be made available with multi-shelf capability.


Windows Live Local 3.0 Adds Real-time Data Feeds

Microsoft announced the third release of Windows Live Local, the company's online local search and mapping service, adding real-time traffic flow and incident reporting, new social networking tools that enable users to save and share their favorite local experiences, and productivity enhancements from extending the Windows Live Local experience into Microsoft Office Outlook and Windows Live Messenger. The service is also expanding its beta release to the U.K. and a limited version to Canada.

Standard aerial imagery for the U.K. has been licensed from Getmapping plc. Microsoft is also working with the Blom Group to provide the unique bird's-eye-view photos that will cover roughly 235 square miles of London in the coming weeks and will expand over time.

Bird's-eye-view imagery in the U.S. is provided by Pictometry International Corp. for 30 percent of the U.S. areas that are mapped.

In Canada, bird's-eye-view imagery will not be available in the initial release but will be introduced as the beta is built out and improved over the next several months.


QUALCOMM Files New Patent Case Against Nokia

QUALCOMM commenced patent infringement litigation in the United Kingdom against Nokia. The company cited infringement of two patents by Nokia in the United Kingdom in relation to mobile devices which are capable of operating in accordance with the GPRS and/or EDGE standards but not having a capability to operate with CDMA technology.


Bell Canada Selects Nominum/Sun for Next-Gen DNS

Bell Canada has selected a joint Sun-Nominum solution to build a next generation, scalable and resilient Domain Name System (DNS). The joint solution uses the Nominum Foundation Caching Name Server for DNS on Sun Fire x64 servers powered by AMD Opteron processors.

Nominum CNS includes advanced security features to help prevent cache-poisoning attacks and is ready to support cryptographically-signed zones as the adoption of DNS Security Extension (DNSSEC) progresses.

"Broadband Internet providers rely on Nominum DNS servers to meet the demands of a growing number of subscribers, add resiliency and to deliver real time applications," said Tom Tovar, vice president of worldwide sales and business development at Nominum.


Telephony Is On the Line -- Can the Telephone Directory join the Internet
numbers are an entrenched standard that are unlikely to disappear anytime
soon. VoIP services need to be able to exist in a world with phone numbers
and devices designed to work with only those numbers. To deliver on the
promise of convergence, communications between IP-based devices must be
able to travel solely over IP networks, without traversing multiple
protocol conversions ( e.g., IP-to-PSTN gateways). For this to happen in
the telephony world, however, we need to be able to direct calls using
phone numbers to the appropriate VoIP servers or session border
controllers, without using the PSTN. Essentially, we need to link phone
numbers to IP addresses. Here is how ENUM is connecting VoIP islands.

Mobile Satellite Ventures Accelerates Satellite-Cellular Plans

Mobile Satellite Ventures (MSV) and its joint venture partner, MSV Canada, announced an agreement with Boeing to accelerate the deployment of its two North American satellites, which will form the backbone of its satellite-cellular wireless communications network.

The agreement will move up, by approximately eight months, the construction, launch and operations of each of the two North American satellites, with the launch of the U.S. satellite scheduled for mid-2009 and the Canadian satellite in early 2010.

These two new satellites will replace and expand upon the current MSAT satellite system operated by MSV and MSV Canada. The development of the third satellite for South America, MSV-SA, has been deferred to the third delivery position for the MSV system.

  • In January 2006, Mobile Satellite Ventures (MSV), a provider of hybrid satellite-cellular communications backed by Columbia Capital, Spectrum Equity Investors and others, selected Boeing for a new generation of mobile satellites serving North and South America beginning in 2010.

    MSV awarded a contract valued at $500 million to $1 billion to Boeing for the construction of three satellites and associated ground systems. Although financial details were not disclosed, Boeing said this is the largest commercial satellite order it has booked since 1997.

    The network will based on MSV's patented Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) technology, which will combine satellite and cellular technology to deliver reliable, advanced and widespread voice and data coverage. The service will use wireless devices that are "virtually identical to cell phone handsets in terms of aesthetics, cost, and functionality."

    Boeing will also develop ground-based systems that will provide advanced beam forming flexibility and interference cancellation unprecedented in commercial satellite systems.

    The satellites will be among the largest and most powerful ever built. Each spacecraft will supply 11,000 watts of power through 5-panel solar array wings using highly efficient triple-junction Gallium arsenide cells. The 22-meter L-band reflector for mobile terminal links will complement a 1.5 meter Ku-band antenna.

  • Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) technology which allows existing satellite phone spectrum to also be used over dedicated terrestrial networks, with call capacity managed and reallocated, in real time, between satellite and terrestrial networks via a common control center. Calls can be made over either network using the same phone handset. ATC technology could be used to supplement satellite phone service with a ground-based network to provide a "back-up" signal in and around buildings where satellite signals cannot reach.

Scientific Atlanta Supplies HD Encoding for World Cup Broadcast Center

Scientific Atlanta's systems will provide high-definition (HD) encoding and delivery of video to German national broadcaster ARD/ZDF during the upcoming World Cup.

Scientific Atlanta announced in 2005 that its iLYNX video adaptation platform had been chosen to support live video feeds from 12 German football stadiums to an International Broadcast Center (IBC) in Munich for distribution to soccer fans around the world.

The new video transport project will use additional iLYNX systems to connect three ARD/ZDF regional broadcast centers with the IBC for delivery of coverage across Germany. More than 30 Scientific Atlanta HD encoders (Model D9050) will be used at the venues and in the IBC to deliver compressed HD video streams to maximize bandwidth use over the iLYNX platform and for satellite distribution worldwide.


Avaya Selected for U.S. Army Base Upgrade Contract

Avaya has been named one of 10 companies selected to participate in a $4 billion U.S. Army project that will overhaul voice and data communications infrastructures of U.S. Army bases worldwide.

The Infrastructure Modernization (IMOD) contract will support the Army's Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program (I3MP) with a single integrated communications system to seamlessly integrate voice, data, inside/outside cable plant and transmission products and services. Under the indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for the IMOD project, each contractor will be awarded a minimum guarantee delivery order, with ordering under all ten (10) contracts, collectively, subject to a total of $4 billion.


XM Satellite Radio Sees Lower Subscriber Growth

XM Satellite Radio lowered its subscriber and financial guidance for 2006, projecting that it will end 2006 with 8.5 million subscribers, resulting in subscriber revenues of $835 million and EBITDA loss (excluding stock-based compensation, other income/expense, equity in net losses of affiliates, and loss from de-leveraging transactions) of $235 million.

The revised guidance of 8.5 million subscribers represents growth of more than 40 percent over the course of the year. The revised subscriber guidance leads to a reduction in subscriber revenues and a narrower EBITDA loss for the year.

XM now expects to add a total of more than 2.5 million net new subscribers this year.

XM ended 2005 with 5,932,957 subscribers, and the company added more than 568,000 net new subscribers during the first quarter of 2006 for a total of more than 6.5 million subscribers.

"Although XM has regained retail market share since the first of the year, the satellite radio category has seen an overall softness at retail during the second quarter to date, and we have been later than anticipated with broad availability of our new products," said Hugh Panero, President and CEO of XM Satellite Radio.


SIRIUS Satellite Radio Reaffirms 2006 Subscriber Guidance

SIRIUS Satellite Radio confirmed its guidance of more than 6.2 million subscribers by year-end 2006, representing an 87% increase over the company's subscriber base at the end of 2005. The company continues to expect to add more than 2.8 million net subscribers during the year.


Zeugma Systems Raises $13.5 Million

Zeugma Systems (pronounced "zoogma"), a start-up based in Vancouver, British Columbia, raised US$13.5 million in venture financing for its work developing a telecommunications system for next generation, high speed broadband networks. Product plans have not been disclosed.

The financing was led by new investor San Francisco-based Granite Ventures and syndicated by Ventures West and Yaletown Venture Partners, both founding institutional investors, as well as by GrowthWorks Capital Ltd., manager of the Working Opportunity Fund and by company insiders.

Zeugma Systems is led by Andrew Harries, co-founder, President and CEO, co-founder of Sierra Wireless Inc. and formerly at Motorola, Siegfried Luft, founder, CTO and formerly a co-founder of Siara Systems, which merged with Redback Networks, Jeff Dillabough, Vice President of Engineering and formerly Director of Product Development at PMC-Sierra and HP and Tom Meehan, who was previously Director of Product Management at Redback Networks and at Wellfleet/Bay Networks/Nortel.

http://www.zeugmasystems.comAccording to the company's website, the name "Zeugman" refers to an ancient city founded in 300 B.C. by Seleukos, one of Alexander the Great's generals, on the banks of the Euphrates River in Mesopotamia. The city became synonymous with "bridge", because of its bridge across the river and also because of its vital link between east and west along the Silk Road.

AT&T Launches "WildBlue" Broadband Satellite Service

AT&T began selling satellite-based broadband Internet access service, powered by WildBlue, to rural customers across its 13-state territory.

Rural satellite-based broadband subscribers will have three service packages to choose from, with prices ranging from $49.95 to $79.95 per month, and broadband speed options ranging up to 1.5 Mbps downstream and up to 256 Kbps upstream.

Service options will initially be available in most rural AT&T service areas in the following states: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Texas. Services are available today in portions of the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Additional availability in these states is expected later in 2006.

  • WildBlue currently utilizes the Ka-band spot beam capacity over the United States on Telesat Canada's Anik F2 satellite, which was launched by Arianespace in July 2004. WildBlue's service provides two-way wireless high-speed Internet access. The service is being offered by over 280 rural electric and telephone companies affiliated with the NRTC (National Rural Telephone Cooperative). Service began June 2005.

  • WildBlue's next Ka-band spot beam satellite, WildBlue-1, has been scheduled for launch aboard an Ariane 5 vehicle in Q4 2006. WildBlue-1, manufactured by Space Systems/Loral, will approximately triple WildBlue's customer capacity, and is expected to handle WildBlue's continuing rapid customer growth into 2008 and beyond. WildBlue-1 is a 4.7 metric ton high power satellite based on Space Systems/Loral's 1300 spacecraft bus and provides Ka-band spot beam capacity over the contiguous United States. Spot beam Ka-band satellites are a key component in WildBlue's low-cost wireless broadband infrastructure.

TiVo Reaches 4.4 million Subs, Seeks DVR Differentiation

TiVo reported total subscriptions as of April 30, 2006 of slightly more than 4.4 million, which represents 33% growth in the subscription base during the past year.

TiVo-owned subscription gross additions were 91,000 for the quarter, compared to 104,000 in the first quarter of last year. This is the second sequential quarter showing a trend in which the percentage of new subscriptions compared to a year ago have improved (third quarter of last year was 23% below the prior year's third quarter; fourth quarter of last year was 20% below the prior year's fourth quarter; and the first quarter of this year was 13% below last year's first quarter).

Standalone churn remained at 0.9% per month, resulting in a net gain of 51,000 in net new TiVo-Owned subscriptions.

Separately, TiVo added a small number of new DIRECTV TiVo subscriptions, primarily subscribers using the TiVo high definition DVR product, currently DIRECTV's only HD DVR. However, churn on the DIRECTV TiVo subscription base was roughly equal to these new additions, leading to a net number of new subscriptions in the first quarter of 2,000.

In terms of financial results, service and technology revenues for the quarter, which includes recognition of Comcast development revenue of $7.2 million, increased 38% to $55.1 million, compared to $40.0 million for the same period last year. For the quarter, TiVo reported a net loss of ($10.7) million and net loss per share of ($0.13), compared to a net loss of ($857,000), or ($0.01) per share, for the first quarter of last year, due primarily to the costs associated with litigation, more aggressive price offerings, and the expensing of stock options.

"We continue to develop innovative features that clearly differentiate TiVo from the many generic DVRs on the market. We are excited about the newly launched Guru Guide recommendations feature, which allows TiVo users to discover exciting programming and automatically record great collections of shows, recommended by editorial experts at some of the nation's most authoritative brands. We also recently announced an agreement that will enable broadband video published through Brightcove to be distributed directly to TiVo subscription set top boxes, harnessing the "Wild West" of web video and bringing it to the television set. Ultimately, we expect this will make it as easy to record, view and navigate these videos as any primetime television program," said Tom Rogers, CEO of TiVo.


Freescale Names Ericsson Exec to Head its Wireless and Mobile Group

Freescale Semiconductor named Dr. Sandeep Chennakeshu senior vice president and general manager of its Wireless and Mobile Solutions Group. Chennakeshu most recently served as head of Ericsson Mobile Platforms. Previously, Chennakeshu served as chief technology officer of Sony Ericsson and president of Sony Ericsson USA and chief technology officer of Ericsson Mobile Terminals. He joined Ericsson in 1994 from General Electric (GE) Corporate Research and Development where he headed a research team. He holds 71 patents.


ECI Telecom Names Former Alcatel CTO to Board

ECI Telecom appointed Dr. Niel Ransom to its Board of Directors. Until 2005, Ransom filled senior managerial positions at Alcatel. In his most recent position he served as its worldwide Chief Technology Officer as well as a member of Alcatel's Executive Committee. Prior to Alcatel, Dr. Ransom served as Senior Director for the Advanced Technology Systems Engineering Center of BellSouth, responsible for expanding its offerings into PCS wireless, IP, video entertainment, and advanced intelligent networks. He started his career at Bell Labs. http://www.ecitele.com

Yahoo! Connects with iBasis for PC-to-Phone Calling

iBasis is among the suite of providers delivering termination services for calls from the U.S. to international markets for the Yahoo! Messenger with Voice service.

The interconnection with iBasis enables Yahoo! Messenger with Voice to offer its customers high quality PC-to-Phone calling over iBasis' global VoIP network at very competitive rates. The interconnection with iBasis includes use of iBasis' "PremiumCertified" international routing product, which is specifically designed to deliver the highest quality of service for retail traffic, and the company's "DirectVoIP" Broadband IP interconnection service.


Guangdong Telecom Selects Redback's SmartEdge Routers

Guangdong Telecom, the largest subsidiary of the China Telecom Group, has selected Redback's SmartEdge routers to expand their consumer and business broadband network for next gen services, including IPTV. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Redback's SmartEdge routers will be used to service-enable the carrier's existing xDSL and Ethernet access networks. By providing a centralized service control point, Guangdong Telecom is able to offer the same advanced next generation services to all their customers regardless of the access technology being used. SmartEdge routers are expected to be deployed at the network edge, aggregating all the broadband service traffic and directly connecting to the core network.

In addition to offering new consumer broadband services such as tiered bandwidth, Guangdong Telecom plans to leverage the edge routing capabilities of the SmartEdge routers in the future for business-class VPN services using advanced Hierarchical Quality of Service (HQoS) and standards-based MPLS.

Guangdong Telecom currently serves over three million subscribers across the province and the SmartEdge routers will be deployed in the top three cities, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dongguan.

Occam Adds Brian Strom to Board

Occam Networks announced that Brian Strom has been elected to the company's board of directors. Strom served as president and CEO of SureWest Communications from 1993-2005. He has also served as chairman of US Telecom from October 2003 to October 2004 and as chairman of the California Communications Association (CalCom) from February 2001 to February 2002.


Sourcefire Secures $20 Million for Network Intrusion Prevention

Sourcefire, a start-up based in Columbia, Maryland, secured $20 million in late-stage funding for its popular "Snort" network intrusion prevention. The company's network defense system unifies intrusion and vulnerability management tools.

The new funding was led by Meritech Capital Partners. All previous Sourcefire venture investors, Sierra Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Sequoia Capital, Core Capital Partners, and Inflection Point Ventures also participated in the round.