Wednesday, May 24, 2006

EarthLink to Build Out New Orleans Network

EarthLink won approval to build a Wi-Fi network in New Orleans. EarthLink will provide a free service tier and a paid service tier. The free service will be offered for a limited time during the city's rebuilding efforts at speeds up to 300kbs, and users will be able to access the Internet without having to view advertising. The ISP will also offer a higher speed paid service that will be a symmetrical, 1 Mbps solution for customers that want more bandwidth and customer support.

EarthLink will deploy Tropos Networks' MetroMesh Wi-Fi routers on light poles throughout the city that will enable reliable wireless data connectivity between consumers and the Internet. http://www.earthlink.net

Freescale Introduces QUICC Processor for Networked Home

Freescale Semiconductor introduced the first "PowerQUICC" processor family with QUICC Engine technology designed for the consumer and small-office/home-office networking equipment market. The processor's PowerPC core provides packet processing, VoIP and encryption in residential and SOHO gateways, wireless access points, virtual private network (VPN) and firewall routers, and IP services equipment, such as VoIP systems and IPTV set-top boxes. USB 2.0 hubs for printers, network attached storage and media server applications, as well as wireless connectivity through WLAN 802.11x and WiMAX, can be enabled through the devices on-chip PCI interface. Freescale said its new processors also can be used in applications beyond the digital home, such as DSLAM line cards, industrial control, and test and measurement equipment.

Vodafone Completes Telsim Acquisition, Motorola and Nokia Receive Payments

Vodafone completed its acquisition of Turkish cellular phone operator, Telsim Mobil Telekomunikasyon (Telsim).

Following completion of the transaction, Motorola received a cash payment of US$410 million pursuant to an agreement previously reached to settle Motorola's financial and legal claims against Telsim and certain other parties.

Nokia has received a settlement payment of US$341.25 million.

Both vendors expressed satisfaction at closing the long-running dispute with Telsim.


SK Telecom Launches First Handset-Based HSDPA Network with LG-Nortel

SK Telecom, South Korea's largest mobile operator, has launched the world's first handset-based next-generation HSDPA network in cities across southern Korea using wireless broadband technology from LG-Nortel.

SK Telecom's network is the first to provide HSDPA performance on handsets as well as data cards - ensuring high-speed, broadband wireless services are available to subscribers using either a handset or laptop computer. The services include high definition video-on-demand, MP3 streaming, multi-user mobile gaming, video calling, multimedia messaging and other high bandwidth services. SK Telecom's service is branded "3G+" and will initially cover 25 cities across the country, with roll out to an additional 59 cities planned by the end of the year.


Nortel Supplies Wireless Mesh for Mexican University

Nortel has supplied its wireless mesh networking solution for Mexico's Universidad Autonoma de Sinaloa, the first public university in Latin America to deploy the solution. The Wi-Fi network provides access across a 25-acre campus. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Pangia named Nortel Asia President

Nortel named Michael Pangia to head its operations in Asia, including Greater China, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia Region and Pakistan. Robert Mao, the previous president of Greater China for Nortel, has left the company to pursue other interests.

In his 20 years with Nortel, Pangia has held various senior management positions across different lines of business and has worked in US, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean and Latin America regions. His previous roles include vice president for Global Enterprise Operations and Services and vice president of Finance for Nortel's optical business. Prior to this new appointment, Pangia was the chief operating officer for Asia Pacific

Microsoft and Nortel-LG Develop WinCE-based IP Terminals

Microsoft and LG-Nortel signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for broad range collaboration in Voice over IP (VoIP), including WinCE-based IP terminals and the new WinCE 6 videophone.

WinCE 6, code-named "Yamazaki", is Microsoft's new integrated embedded development environment for the next generation of smart devices.

Terminals based on Microsoft's new WinCE 6 platform provide more powerful multimedia processing and will serve as a platform for application-oriented enterprise and residential solutions based on innovative embedded devices.

  • LG-Nortel is a joint venture between LG Electronics and Nortel, officially launched in November 2005.

Net Neutrality Legislation Advances in Congress

The U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary approved by a vote of 20-12 the Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act (HR 5417), a bill containing strict Net Neutrality provisions.

Specifically, the legislation would make it unlawful for any broadband network operator "to fail to provide its broadband network services on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions such that any person can offer or provide content, applications or services to or over the network in a manner that is at least equal to the manner in which the provider or its affiliates offer content, applications and services, free of any surcharge on the basis of the content, application or service."

The proposed bill goes on to say: "If a broadband network operator prioritizes or offers enhanced quality of service to data of a particular type, it must prioritize or offer enhanced quality of service to all data of that type (regardless of the origin or ownership of such data) without imposing a surcharge or other consideration for such prioritization or enhanced quality of service."

The bill also includes provisions protecting the consumer's right to connect to legal content and services, and to attach devices that do not physically damage or materially degrade other user's utilization of the network.

Meanwhile the U.S. Senate's Commerce, Science & Transportation sub-committee held its own hearing on Net Neutrality and the proposed Communications Reform Bill (S. 2686). From the testimony:

Amazon's Paul Misener, vice president, Global Public Policy: "In essence, we fear circumstances in which broadband network operators with market power are permitted -- based on payments, political or religious viewpoints, or any other non-technical discriminatory factors -- to prefer some content and thereby restrict consumer access to other content."

Verizon's Tom Tauke, EVP: "A streamlined, national franchise process is a fast and fair route to bring much needed choice and competition to the video market...

"If enacted, net neutrality regulation will potentially prohibit us from offering customers the unique and secure platform required for these next generation services. It will potentially prohibit us from offering a competing video service to consumers. Put another way, radical net neutrality proposals will chill the investment climate for broadband networks, deter and delay broadband rollout, and lock-in today's Internet architecture and levels of performance."
  • Last year, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee voted down other Net Neutrality provisions in a competing bill.

Optical Internetworking Forum Approves TDM-Protocol

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has approved the Time Division Multiplex Protocol (TDM-P) Implementation Agreement, which defines a means to aggregate multiple TDM Fabric to Framer (TFI-5) signals into higher rates (x2, x4), like those identified in the Common Electrical Interface (CEI) and CEI Protocol (CEI-P) specifications. Providing a TDM protocol solution for higher data rates enables systems to support higher data throughput within the same physical space. Higher levels of integration traditionally lead to more cost effective and efficient operation.

TDM-P is a SONET/SDH-like backplane interface protocol useful in SONET/SDH cross-connects.

The Forum also began the process of integrating the ongoing technical projects of the Network Processing Forum (NPF) in anticipation of the June 1 merger of the groups that was announced in April.

A new project from the NPF, Serial Look-Aside (SLA), was adopted and initiated as a project by the OIF. SLA interface will be an upgrade to the widely adopted Look-Aside Interface (LA-1) between network processing elements and co-processors such as Network Search Engines (NSE).

Another NPF project, the Scalable Streaming Packet Interface (SPI-S), was sent to OIF membership to begin review and approval. SPI-S is intended to be a serialized upgrade to the OIF's industry-leading Serial Packet Interface (SPI-4.2). The SPI-S draft uses the existing CEI and CEI-P specifications.

Lucent to Expand VIVO's 3G CDMA in Brazil

VIVO, Brazil's largest mobile operator, selected Lucent to expand and enhance its 3G CDMA2000 1X and 1xEV-DO digital network. The upgrades will provide mobile voice and high-speed data services at speeds of up to 2.4 Mbps in more areas in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Financial terms were not disclosed.

As part of the project, Lucent will provide mobile networking equipment, including Mobile Switching Centers (MSCs) and Modular Cell 4.0 base stations, and VitalSuite Performance Management Software that monitors the performance of applications and network infrastructure equipment. Lucent Worldwide Services will provide deployment and maintenance services. http://www.lucent.com

Mexico's TelCel Launches MobiTV

Mexico's Telcel launched MobiTV services.

Telcel, is the first of the America Movil carriers in the Latin American market set to launch the MobiTV service as part of a regional agreement.

Along with the applications and technology to deliver live television content to America Movil subscribers, MobiTV brings top-rated television networks to the America Movil partnership. Some of these high-demand television networks include CNN en Espanol, Cartoon Network, Nick, ESPN Movil, A&E, The History Channel, Bloomberg Television, MAXX Deportes, Fashion TV and more. America Movil and MobiTV will offer the television content in Spanish, and in Portuguese for Brazil.


U.S. Treasury Ends Long-Distance Telephone Excise Tax

After 108 years, the U.S. Treasury will end collection of the long distance telephone excise tax and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will issue refunds of tax on long-distance service for the past three years.

The tax was originally imposed in 1898 as a "luxury" tax on wealthy Americans who owned telephones and was established to help fund the Spanish-American War.

In a statement, Treasury Secretary John Snow called on Congress "to terminate the remainder of this antique tax by repealing the excise tax on local service as well."

Cavalier Launches MPEG-4 AVC IPTV Headend with Tut Systems

Cavalier Telephone has launched commercially-available IPTV service in Richmond, Virginia using MPEG-4 AVC compression powered by Tut Systems' Astria content processor. Cavalier receives the broadcast signal by satellite transmission, converts the programming to MPEG-4 and then distributes content to customers over ADSL2+.

Cavalier's Broadband TV service delivers a full channel line up of more than 150 digital channels including all local network affiliates and major national broadcasts. A Triple Play bundle of television, telephone and Internet service is priced at $95 per month. On-screen caller ID allows consumers to monitor incoming telephone calls.
  • Cavalier Telephone is using Amino's MPEG 4 set-top box and SecureMedia's Encryptonite System CA/DRM software to secure the delivery of IPTV services.

Ditech Reports Sees Revenue Rise in Latest Quarter

Ditech Networks reported fourth quarter revenue of $20.0 million for the period ending 30-Apr-06, a decrease of $2.9 million from revenues of the same quarter of the prior fiscal year and up $6.0 million from revenues of $14.0 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2006. Revenues for the year were $54.9 million, a decrease from revenues of $94.1 million in fiscal 2005.

Net income for the fourth quarter was $2.0 million, a decrease compared to net income of $7.6 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005 but an increase from third quarter net loss of $0.1 million. Fiscal 2006 full year's net loss was $1.4 million, compared to net income of $71.1 million in fiscal 2005 which included a net tax benefit of $36.1 million due to the release of a tax valuation allowance.