Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Boeing to Discontinue In-Flight Broadband Business

Boeing has decided to exit the in-flight broadband market and will shut down its "Connexion by Boeing" service in the coming months. The company will take a pre-tax charge of up to $320 million, or $0.26 per share, in the second half of 2006, for write downs of the network assets, payments of early termination fees to airlines, and other costs related to shutting down the service.

"Over the last six years, we have invested substantial time, resources and technology in Connexion by Boeing," said Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney. "Regrettably, the market for this service has not materialized as had been expected. We believe this decision best balances the long-term interests of all parties with a stake in Connexion by Boeing."
  • Airlines currently offering "Connexion by Boeing" on long-haul flights include Air China, China Airlines, Japan Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, ANA, El Al, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Asiana, Etihad and Lufthansa.

  • In January 2006, Connexion by Boeing announced a new pricing structure for its in-flight, Internet service. Internet Time -- 1 hour US$9.95; 2 hours for US$14.95; 3 hours for US$17.95; and 24 hours for US$26.95 including connecting flights.

  • Boeing first unveiled its In-flight broadband service in April 2000 and received an FCC license in 2001

Indonesia's Telkomsel Selects Ericsson's 3G/HSPA

PT Telekomunikasi Selular Indonesia (Telkomsel) selected Ericsson to provide its 3G/WCDMA network. In a three-year agreement, Ericsson will deliver 3G/WCDMA radio and core network, including HSPA, with deployment beginning immediately. The contract also includes three years of managed services, with Ericsson providing a comprehensive services offering including establishing, operating and managing the operations of Telkomsel's 3G network.

The deal expands Ericsson's geographical footprint in Indonesia, which will cover 11 provinces: East Java, South Sumatra, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Riau, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali, Nusa Tenggara, Maluku and Irian Jaya.

Marvell Sees Slowdown Due to PC Market and Rollout of 802.11n

Marvell Technology Group revenue for its second fiscal quarter ended July 29, 2006 of $574.0 million, an increase of 47% over net revenue of $390.5 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2006 and a 10.1% sequential increase from net revenue of $521.2 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2007.

All results reported are preliminary because Marvell is in the midst of a previously announced internal review by a special committee of its Board of Directors relating to the Company's historical stock option practices and related accounting matters.

"During the quarter our revenue growth was limited due to some near term challenges in some of our end markets. However, we remain very focused on the execution of our long term growth strategies and are excited about the expanding reach of our technology into an increasing number of end markets and applications, stated Dr. Sehat Sutardja, Marvell's President and CEO.

In a conference call, Marvell said it experienced lower than expected sales for PC-related products, including demand for Gigabit Ethernet related products was weak. It also cited excess inventory in the channel for WLAN products, negatively impacting its rollout of 802.11n devices.

Marvell Integrates WiFi + Bluetooth on Single Chip

Marvell has begun sampling the first 90-nm CMOS, WLAN plus Bluetooth single chip solution for cellular handsets, battery-powered media players, portable gaming consoles, smartphones, PDAs and ultra-low-power computing platforms.

The device, which has a footprint of under 80mm, integrates Bluetooth 2.0 EDR -- which is firmware upgradeable to Bluetooth 2.1 features -- and 802.11a/b/g subsystems on a single die allows fully optimized simultaneous dual radio operation and cooperative co-existence. The integrated multi- protocol security engine includes hardware acceleration for UMA, IMS, and other network access methods requiring extensible end-to-end security. It incorporates full Layer 3 networking support (TCP/IP + UDP) and adds the ability to run supplicants natively, offloading WLAN functionality from the host CPU. Additionally, the chip incorporates voice and audio codecs that can be used in a wide variety of media applications and platforms.

"The Marvell 88W8688 represents five years of interaction with our customers and partners. We are very pleased to deliver a new, fully customizable, software compatible platform that will allow them to launch products that are varied in scope and application ranging from gaming to cameras to smartphones up to emerging converged products," said Dr. Paramesh Gopi, Vice President and General Manager of the Embedded and Emerging Business Unit, Communications and Consumer Business Group at Marvell.

China Mobile Reaches 274 Million Subscribers

In the first half of 2006, China Mobile added 25.775 million net new subscribers, increasing its total customer base to approximately 274 million. The company continues to add an average of over 4.29 million users per month.

China Mobile also reported that its total usage volume reached 569,203 million minutes, average minutes of usage per user per month (MOU) reached 367 minutes, average revenue per user per month (ARPU) held steady at RMB88 (approximately US$11.02).

In its financial report, China Mobile said it subscriber growth remains steady in China's eastern regions, while its subscriber base is growing rapidly in the central and western regions of the country. The company is now expanding infrastructure construction in rural areas where the penetration rate of mobile telecommunications is relatively low.

Firetide Supplies Wireless Mesh for Singapore National Stadium

Firetide supplied equipment for a wireless mesh network at the National Stadium in Singapore. The wireless network, provided by Singaporean distributor D-Synergy and installed by Internet Service Provider iCELL Network, served as a wireless infrastructure for the National Day Parade celebration at the stadium allowing video surveillance cameras and Wi-Fi access points to be deployed without cabling.

The National Day Parade organizers did not want to invest in a permanent wired network since the National Stadium will soon be replaced with a new facility.

The National Stadium mesh network consisted of 50 Wi-Fi access points and 40 video surveillance cameras connected to 30 Firetide mesh nodes. The mesh nodes connected wirelessly to each other to create the self-forming mesh. The network also features two redundant 20 Mbps Internet gateways to optimize bandwidth and load balancing and to provide instant failover should one of the links fail.

Tropos Adds Smart Routing to Multi-Band MetroMesh Routers

Tropos Networks introduced a new family of MetroMesh routers featuring "smart routing" capabilities -- the ability to dynamically create multi-band paths through a mesh network.

The first member of this new product family is the Tropos 5320 outdoor MetroMesh router, a dual-band Wi-Fi mesh router. The Tropos 5320 sports 802.11a and 802.11b/g radios, which can be used simultaneously to form both client and mesh connections. The Tropos 5320 is completely interoperable with the entire family of Tropos MetroMesh routers, enabling easy incremental capacity addition in existing networks without re-engineering or network downtime. The Tropos 5320 will begin shipping in October 2006.

Tropos has significantly enhanced its MetroMesh OS, which is embedded in every Tropos MetroMesh router, including the ability to identify dynamically the combination of links within the mesh that forms the highest performing end-to-end data path from clients to the wired connection to the Internet, even if those links are in different frequency bands. This allows service providers and municipalities to use spectrum in the 5 GHz band with the unprecedented flexibility of dynamically shifting to the inherently more reliable 2.4 GHz band for mesh connections in areas where poor 5 GHz propagation causes performance or reliability problems.

The MetroMesh OS intelligently manages multiple radio interfaces automatically, similar to the way a wireline router accommodates multiple Ethernet, Token Ring, WAN and other interfaces. The interfaces provide the patented Tropos Predictive Wireless Routing Protocol (PWRP) with additional paths from which it can choose when maximizing end-to-end, client-server throughput.

Tropos plans to use this radio-independent approach in other new multi-radio MetroMesh routers combining Wi-Fi, MIMO, WiMAX, 4.9 GHz, 3G/4G cellular and other unlicensed and licensed radio technologies.

Tropos Networks also announced the Tropos Metro Wireless Development (TMWD) program. The TMWD program enables carriers, service providers, spectrum license holders and others to contract with Tropos to add custom radio interfaces to Tropos MetroMesh routers. This effort brings the benefits of the MetroMesh OS to proprietary radio technologies such as 802.16 running in spectrum outside of the bands defined in WiMAX Forum interoperability profiles as well as 3G/4G cellular technologies.

MPEG LA Announces VC-1 License Terms

MPEG LA, which is an organization that provides one-stop technology patent licensing, announced that an initial group of essential patent holders have agreed on final terms of license to be included in the VC-1 Patent Portfolio License, expected to issue during 2006.

The VC-1 essential patent holders currently include DAEWOO Electronics Corporation, France Telecom, societe anonyme, Fujitsu Limited, Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V., LG Electronics Inc., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (Panasonic), Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Sharp Corporation, Sony Corporation, Telenor ASA, Toshiba Corporation, and Victor Company of Japan, Limited (JVC).

MPEG LA continues to welcome the submission of issued patents for an evaluation of their essentiality to the VC-1 Standard in an effort to include as much essential intellectual property as possible under one license for the benefit of the marketplace.

Any party that believes it has patents that are essential to the VC-1 Standard and wishes to join the VC-1 Patent Portfolio License is invited to submit them for evaluation by MPEG LA's patent evaluators.

Harmonic Supplies MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) Encoding for Spain's Jazztel

Jazztel, a leading telecommunications service provider in Spain, has deployed a Harmonic-based digital headend, including the DiviCom Electra 5000 MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) encoder, for its IP-based Jazztelia TV service. The Jazztel video headend was implemented in conjunction with Telindus, a leading European system integrator and Harmonic strategic partner.

Initiated in March 2006, Jazztel's country-wide IPTV rollout includes standard definition broadcast television channels delivered via its ADSL2+ network. Jazztel operates a network of DSLAMs, overlaying an area encompassing nearly 60 percent of Spain's lines, which is connected to an extensive fiber network.

Harmonic said its DiviCom encoders are powering more IPTV channels for European telcos than any other brand.


Sonus-Based Networks Surpass Half Trillion Minute Milestone

Sonus-based networks have carried more than half trillion minutes of IP-based voice traffic.

Sonus Networks said this half trillion minute milestone demonstrates the rapid growth in IP traffic and the increasing migration by network operators globally to IP-based voice solutions. The company claims nearly 40% market share for carrier VoIP infrastructure, according to market researcher iLocus.

"The pace of deployments and migration of traffic onto IP-based voice solutions is continuing to accelerate. It took 5 years to reach the first 100 billion minutes of IP-voice traffic, but in just the last 1.5 years, we've been able to increase that amount 5x to more than a half trillion minutes on Sonus-based networks alone," said Hassan Ahmed, chairman and CEO, Sonus Networks.

DISH Network Expands to 30 HD Channels

EchoStar Communications' DISH Network satellite TV service has added its 30th HD channel - Food Network HD. EchoStar said its portfolio of HD content is a strategic differentiator for its nationwide service.

California Senate Committee Approves Video Franchise Bill

A bill that would establish a state-wide video franchise process was approved by the California Senate Appropriations Committee. The proposed legislation (Assembly Bill 2987) would make it easier for new entrants into the market. It would also guarantee that local communities continue to receive franchise fees consistent with those paid by incumbent cable companies.

The bill has already received unanimous and bipartisan support in the Assembly (77-0) and the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee (10-0). The bill is expected to be considered on the floor of the Senate this month.

Verizon supports the bill.

"Verizon is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to build its new fiber-optic network in California, creating over 1,000 new jobs. This bill would maximize the potential of that network and offer a new standard of quality and value in television delivery to consumers across all income levels, while maintaining local government oversight in important and appropriate areas," stated Verizon West Region President Tim McCallion.

CBS to Stream Evening News Live over the Net

CBS will begin streaming its prime-time programs for free on the company's ad-supported broadband channel innertube starting in September. Episodes will be posted the morning following their initial Network broadcast.

CBS also plans to simulcast its CBS Evening News online at the same time it is broadcast live. The move required renegotiating carriage agreements with its affiliate stations.

In addition to the live simulcast, the CBS Evening News will also be available in two other ways. The complete broadcast may be viewed as an on-demand program any time after the live simulcast or, as has been the case for the past several years, viewers may build their own broadcast by choosing individual reports from each CBS EVENING NEWS program.

To access the simulcast, viewers will be asked to register so that they view it when the television broadcast is aired in their time zone. The live simulcast and on-demand versions of the broadcast will be advertiser-supported and free to all.

"As we learned from our simulcast of March Madness on Demand, there is a huge appetite for real time content on the Internet. Viewers increasingly want access to programming when it's fresh, and the Internet allows us to bring our content to them wherever they are and whenever that content is broadcast," said Larry Kramer, President, CBS Digital Media.