Sunday, August 20, 2006

EC Backs Measure to Open Deutsche Telekom's Broadband Networks

The European Commission endorsed a regulatory measure that would give new competitive carriers bitstream access to German consumers via the broadband networks of Deutsche Telekom.



The measure, which is also backed by the German telecom regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), is meant to remedy the position of dominance of Deutsche Telekom on the German broadband market.



The Commission said it believes bitstream access be competitive carriers should be required regardless of the technology used by Deutsche Telekom (ADSL2, ADSL2+, SDSL and VDSL). The Commission asks the German regulator to ensure that the remedy is applied without further delay, in line with EU law, and that final clarifications are made in the interest of legal certainty on the German broadband market.



The remedy will require Deutsche Telekom to open its broadband networks to competitors by allowing them to purchase a high speed access link to the customer premises from Deutsche Telekom with transmission capacity for broadband data in both direction, thus enabling new entrants to offer their own, value-added services to end users. The price for such bitstream access needs to be approved in advance by BNetzA. Bitstream access will need to be granted by Deutsche Telekom also to its new VDSL infrastructure currently built in several German cities.



The European Commission also said bitstream access prices should prevent any margin squeeze and should therefore be sufficiently below Deutsche Telekom's retail prices or, alternatively, be calculated efficiently by the regulator on the basis of actual costs, as provided in EU law.



"I welcome that in spite of considerable political pressure, the German regulator has proved its independence by proposing to the Commission, as required by EU law, to remedy the well-known competition problems on the German broadband market", commented Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding.



"To open the German broadband market to competition will lead to better services and lower internet access prices for consumers. I however note that time is a crucial factor. While bitstream access has already been available to new market entrants in the vast majority of EU Member States for a number of years, it has taken the German regulator more than three years since the entry into force of the EU telecom rules and more than eight months since the finding of dominance of Deutsche Telekom to take the required measures. I therefore urge the German regulator to implement this remedy now without any further delay to ensure that both competitors and consumers can profit from fairer competition also in Germany."http://europa.eu.inthttp://www.bundesnetzagentur.de
  • Earlier this month, Deutsche Telekom's T-Com division began offering consumer broadband access at up to 50 Mbps over its new VDSL network in ten cities. The service delivers voice communication, Internet usage and IPTV via a single line.


  • In December 2005, the German telecom regulator BNetzA issued a report stating that Deutsche Telekom holds a position of significant market power on the German wholesale broadband access market.

Skype Devices to Embed GIPS Voice Engine

Skype-compatible IP phones will utilize Global IP Sound (GIPS)
software to enhance voice quality. The two companies have enjoyed a long, productive relationship, beginning with Skype's licensing of GIPS VoiceEngine PC in the summer of 2003.

http://www.globalipsound.comhttp://www.skype.com
  • GIPS VoiceEngine Mobile provides acoustic echo suppression and noise suppression, to maximize the quality of VoIP conversations. It also includes GIPS NetEQ, which is an advanced jitter buffering and packet loss concealment module that dramatically improves sound quality and minimizes latency in IP telephony systems. Other features including push-to-talk and call waiting are supported by GIPS VoiceEngine Mobile.


  • Global IP Sound, which is based in Stockholm, supplies its voice quality software to Skype, Yahoo, Microsoft, Ericsson, Nortel, WebEx, Texas Instruments, LongBoard, Inter-tel, PMC-Sierra and others.

Brasil Telecom Awards Five-Year Billing Contract to Convergys

Brasil Telecom S.A. awarded a new five-year contract to Convergys for its Infinys software to support wireless, wireline, data, and Internet services. Since 2002, Convergys' Infinys has supported Brasil Telecom's fixed telephony customers and, as of 2003, its wireless subscribers.



Brasil Telecom has over 10.8 million fixed lines and over 2.2 million customers.
http://www.convergys.com

Harmonic Introduces Third generation MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) Encoder

Harmonic introduced the DiviCom Electra 5400, its third generation MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) standard definition (SD) encoder that delivers up to four full resolution SD channels in a one rack-unit package, as well as simultaneous low resolution content for picture-in-picture (PiP), mobile video services or other applications.



The Electra 5400 is aimed at large-scale deployments of telco/IPTV, satellite and DVB-T services. Harmonic said its new encoder sets a new standard for bandwidth efficiency in SD H.264 with bit-rates more than 30 percent lower than H.264 encoders currently deployed. The encoder leverages a new silicon architecture, unique video pre-processing and full multi-pass "LookAhead" compression techniques. In addition, the density of the Electra 5400 allows operators to minimize the number of systems required in the headend infrastructure, thereby reducing capital and operating expenditures.



Over the past two years, Harmonic's DiviCom Electra and Ion multi-channel platforms have been deployed by many of the world's leading operators to power nearly 8,000 channels.

http://www.harmonicinc.com

Cognio Enhances WiFi Spectrum Troubleshooting Tool

Cognio, a start-up based in Germantown, Maryland, introduced a new version of its Spectrum Expert tool for troubleshooting WiFi networks. The new Spectrum Expert 3.0 adds diagnostics for determining whether a WiFi problem is in the "Air" or in the wired network.



Cognio's Spectrum Expert 3.0 tells the user what physical layer issues are causing WiFi network problems, helps analyze and optimize WiFi throughput, and adds alerting when performance or security violations are detected. New features include:

  • Channel Utilization Chart - indicates which channels are over utilized and why


  • Signal to Noise Chart - shows the relative signal strengths of access points, interferers and noise to determine if performance or connectivity problems are related to interference


  • Interferer Alerting - highlights interferers that affect performance or security


  • AP Finder - locates unauthorized WiFi APs or ad-hocs


  • Easy Save - allows quick export of plot and chart data to spreadsheets for offline processing or to remote experts


  • Display of monitored bands on status bar offers a quick view of which bands are being monitored.
http://www.cognio.com

Cognio Enhances WiFi Spectrum Troubleshooting Tool

Cognio, a start-up based in Germantown, Maryland, introduced a new version of its Spectrum Expert tool for troubleshooting WiFi networks. The new Spectrum Expert 3.0 adds diagnostics for determining whether a WiFi problem is in the "Air" or in the wired network.



Cognio's Spectrum Expert 3.0 tells the user what physical layer issues are causing WiFi network problems, helps analyze and optimize WiFi throughput, and adds alerting when performance or security violations are detected. New features include:

  • Channel Utilization Chart - indicates which channels are over utilized and why


  • Signal to Noise Chart - shows the relative signal strengths of access points, interferers and noise to determine if performance or connectivity problems are related to interference


  • Interferer Alerting - highlights interferers that affect performance or security


  • AP Finder - locates unauthorized WiFi APs or ad-hocs


  • Easy Save - allows quick export of plot and chart data to spreadsheets for offline processing or to remote experts


  • Display of monitored bands on status bar offers a quick view of which bands are being monitored.
http://www.cognio.com

SES AMERICOM to Expand HD-PRIME Service for MSOs

SES AMERICOM announced that Comcast, Bresnan Communications, Brighthouse Networks, and Metrocast are among the first group of domestic U.S. cable MSOs to participate in its new triple-feed antenna program, offering access to the next generation of HD channels.



New triple-feed antennas, produced and delivered by Patriot Antenna Systems, enable MSOs to receive programming over three SES AMERICOM satellites. Cable operators, many who already get programming from SES AMERICOM's Americom2Cable neighborhood (AMC-1 at 101 degrees WL and AMC-4 at 103 degrees WL), will able to access the next wave of HD content carried on AMC-18 (at 105 degrees WL). The newest addition to SES AMERICOM's HD-PRIME neighborhood is scheduled to be operational early next year following a planned launch this fall.



Depending on the geographic location of their U.S. headends, operators will be equipped with a 3.8 meter, 4.5 meter or 5.0 meter PATRIOT antenna fitted with the triple-feed receiving assembly.



"Our first two HD-PRIME satellites are nearing capacity, as leading programmers rely heavily on AMC-10 and AMC-11 to launch cable subscriber favorites and brand new programming in HD," said Bryan McGuirk, president of media solutions for SES AMERICOM.

http://www.ses-americom.com

Sprint Nextel Announces Departure of Len Lauer, COO

Sprint Nextel announced that Len Lauer, its chief operating officer, is no longer with the company. No reason was given for the change.



Gary Forsee, president and chief executive officer, will assume Lauer's operating responsibilities and the chief operating officer position will not be filled.

http://www.sprint.com

Nortel Wins HSDPA Contract with France's Bouygues Telecom

Bouygues Telecom has selected Nortel's HSDPA technology to provide customers in France with services such as high-quality live TV, high definition video on demand, MP3 streaming and multi-user mobile gaming when it goes live in early 2007. The new 5-year contract stipulates that Nortel is responsible for rolling out the network in 4 out of 6 of Bouygues Telecom's operational regions in France; including the Western, South Western, Northeastern and Mediterranean regions.



Nortel's HSDPA solution can provide connectivity at speeds up to 7.2 Mbps.



Nortel is currently a key supplier of Bouygues' EDGE and GPRS networks. http://www.nortel.com

GUBA Slashes Prices on Movie Downloads

GUBA, a leading video entertainment site, significantly lowered prices for downloads from its library of movies and TV programs. GUBA users can buy downloadable movies for $9.99 on the same day that the movie is released on DVD. Users can buy catalog movie titles for $4.99 and TV show episodes for $0.49. During this promotion users can rent movies for $0.99.



GUBA now claims to be the first web service enabling users to buy and rent premium content and new release titles at the lowest price anywhere.



GUBA is using Microsoft's Digital Rights Management (DRM) copyright protection.



GUBA Premium content is only available to users in the US due to international copyright ownership restrictions. Purchased videos are owned in perpetuity but cannot be burned to DVD due to current restrictions of the DRM software.

http://www.guba.com

Nokia Wins a Microwave Contract From Telenor

Telenor has awarded Nokia a global frame agreement for cellular transmission solutions and services. Nokia will supply Telenor with Nokia Hopper microwave radios to be used for transmission from both base stations and fixed applications when new sites are deployed, or an increase in capacity is needed. The agreement covers all regions where Telenor and its affiliated companies have operations. http://www.nokia.com

Bain Capital and Apax Partners Invest in Philips' Semiconductor Unit

Bain Capital and Apax Partners have joined Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Silver Lake Partners, and AlpInvest Partners has agreed to acquire an 80.1 percent stake in the Semiconductor Division of RoyalPhilips Electronics.



Philips' semiconductor business is a leading supplier of silicon system solutions for mobile communications, consumer electronics, digital displays, contactless payment and connectivity, and in-car entertainment and networking. The business employs about 37,000 people worldwide, and had sales in 2005 of EUR 4.6 billion.

http://www.baincapital.comhttp://www.apax.com

Avaya Enhances "one-X" SIP-based P2P Technology

Avaya announced significant enhancements to its one-X Quick Edition, which eliminates the need for a central server and embeds the functionality of an IP-PBX into the phones themselves using SIP-based peer to peer (P2P) technology. The enhancements include Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking capabilities, which allow small office locations to reduce costs by routing voice traffic securely over an Internet connection. Companies that need to quickly set up offices to assure business continuity -- whether it involves setting up temporary offices for events, or following a natural disaster -- can also benefit from Avaya one-X Quick Edition.



SIP trunking allows small office locations to reduce costs by routing voice traffic securely over an internet or WAN connection. For large enterprises, SIP can be provisioned over a corporate network, with the addition of an Avaya SIP Enablement Server in a central location. This configuration, when combined with an Avaya Communication Manager solution, also allows centralized trunking and enterprise-wide dial plans for additional cost savings and productivity benefits. Smaller businesses have the option of working with an emerging number of dedicated SIP service providers to route calls over the Internet.



In addition to SIP trunking, recent enhancements include a Multisite Provisioning Tool, which allows upgrades and updates from a central site at the touch of a button, and Teleworker capabilities allow a remote or home worker to access all the same features as an office worker, without being on the same local area network. All these features, together with conferencing, auto attendant, voicemail and call routing are embedded in the phone.



The new version of Avaya one-X Quick Edition is available through certified Avaya resellers, as well as from BestBuy for Business, CDW and PC Zones.

http://www.avaya.com

Ikanos Selects MIPS32 Processor Cores

Ikanos Communications has selected MIPS Technologies' "24KEc" processor core for its fiber-fast broadband access chipsets. Targeted applications will include Customer Premise Equipment (CPE), home networking, SOHO and enterprise networking.

http://www.mips.com

WildBlue Secures $350 Million Debt Financing

WildBlue Communications, which provides broadband connectivity via satellite, completed a $350 million debt financing led by Liberty Media Corporation and Tennenbaum Capital Partners LLC.



The credit facility refinances a portion of the shareholder financing WildBlue secured in January of 2006, and also provides $170 million of additional financing for the company.

http://www.wildblue.com
  • In June 2006, WildBlue Communications signed five year wholesale distribution agreements with both DIRECTV and EchoStar Communications for its broadband Internet access via satellite.


  • In May 2006, AT&T began selling satellite-based broadband Internet access service, powered by WildBlue, to rural customers across its 13-state territory.


  • 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.

Michelle P. Connolly Named FCC Chief Economist

Dr. Michelle P. Connolly has been named Chief Economist of the FCC. Dr. Connolly is also a member of the Economics faculty at Duke University.
http://www.fcc.gov

See also