Thursday, August 24, 2006

RADVISION Enhances H.324M Toolkit for Fast Video Call Set-up

RADVISION announced the availability of fast call set-up support in the new release of its 3G-324M toolkit, aligning the software with the recent improvements to the 3G standard established by ITU-T Study Group 16. These improvements are designed to enhance the experience of 3G video subscribers by significantly reducing the amount of time required in setting up a video call.

The ITU has included RADVISION's intellectual property related to fast call setup as an integral and mandated part of a revision to the H.324M standard for 3G video, known as H.324 Annex K MONA (Media Oriented Negotiation Acceleration). The newly released 3G-324M Toolkit fully supports H.324 Annex K MONA.

The H.324M standard is used in cellular 3G networks to exchange real-time and bi-directional video traffic that is used in popular services.

RADVISION said the improvements significantly shorten the call set-up time required when requesting such video services as video fun tones, video conferencing and video community chat groups.

DISH & Warner Bros. Sign VOD Deal

EchoStar Communications' DISH Network satellite TV service reached an agreement with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group to carry the studio's current and catalog titles on its Video On Demand platform, DISH On Demand, as well as Pay-Per-View services, including high definition. DISH On Demand service is currently available on certain DVR receivers.

SunRocket Raises $33 Million for Consumer VoIP Service

SunRocket, a provider of consumer VoIP service, secured $33 million for its Series C round of institutional financing, bringing the firm's total venture capital raised to approximately $80 million.

The company said it has nearly tripled its subscriber base in 2006, although subscriber numbers were not disclosed.

SunRocket plans to use the money "to accelerate product and feature development, penetrate strategic new sales channels, and enhance the overall customer experience."

A new customer care center opened in Springfield, Missouri earlier this month and will employ as many as 500 workers by the end of the year.

The Series C includes participation from all of SunRocket's existing investors: BlueRun Ventures, Mayfield Fund, DCM and Anthem Capital Management.

Nokia Siemens Networks Announces Executive Team

Nokia and Siemens announced the key executive appointments that will become effective when their merger is complete and the new company starts operations, which is expected by January 1, 2007.

Nokia and Siemens announced previously that Simon Beresford-Wylie would assume the position of CEO at Nokia Siemens Networks; Mika Vehvilainen would serve as Chief Operating Officer (COO); Karl-Christoph Caselitz would serve as Chief Market Operations Officer (CMO); and Peter Schonhofer would serve as Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

The business units of Nokia Siemens Networks will be global organizations with management and personnel distributed in many countries, including both Finland and Germany.

Stephan Scholz, currently Senior Vice President and Head of Carrier Development in Siemens Communications, will lead the Research, Technology and Platforms organization, focusing on research, technology and cross-business unit synergies including common platforms. Scholz will report to Vehvilainen.

Business unit leaders for Nokia Siemens Networks will be:

Jose Costa e Silva, who will lead the Services business unit. Costa e Silva, currently Senior Vice President and Head of Europe and Americas at Mobile Networks in Siemens Communications, will report to Caselitz. Costa e Silva will be based in Germany.

Ari Lehtoranta, who will lead the Radio Access business unit. Lehtoranta, currently Senior Vice President & General Manager of the Radio business at Nokia, will report to Vehvilainen. Lehtoranta will be based in Finland.

Christian Unterberger, who will lead the Service Core and Applications business unit. Unterberger, currently President Fixed Networks at Siemens Communications, will report to Vehvilainen. Unterberger will be based in Germany.

Christian Fredrikson, who will lead the Operation Support Systems business unit. Fredrikson, currently General Manager of the Core Networks business at Nokia, will report to Vehvilainen. Fredrikson will be based in Finland.

Martin Lust, who will lead the Broadband Access business unit. Lust, currently President, Fixed Networks Access at Siemens Communications, will report to Vehvilainen. Lust will be based in Germany.

Bernd Schumacher, who will lead the IP Networking and Transport business unit. Schumacher, currently President, Siemens Optical Networks at Siemens Communications, will report to Vehvilainen. Schumacher will be based in Germany.

The regional organization for Nokia Siemens Networks will report to Caselitz. Its leaders will be:

Mark Louison, who will lead the North American region. Louison is currently Senior Vice President of North America for Nokia Networks.

Fernando Terni, who will lead the Latin American region. Terni is currently Senior Vice President of Latin America for Nokia Networks.

Zhiqiang Zhang, who will lead the China region. Zhang is currently General Manager of Siemens Communications in China. David Ho, currently Senior Vice President of China for Nokia Networks, will serve as Chairman of Nokia Siemens Networks in China.

Jurgen Bill, who will lead the Western and Southern Europe region. Bill is currently Senior Vice President of Asia Pacific for Mobile Networks in Siemens Communications.

Kai Uebach, who will lead the Northern Europe region. Uebach is currently President of the EMEA Region for Mobile Networks in Siemens Communications.

Jan Cron, who will lead the Middle East and Africa region. Cron is currently Vice President and General Manager of the Middle East Region in Mobile Networks for Siemens Communications.

Rajeev Suri who will lead the Asia Pacific region. Suri is currently Senior Vice President of Asia Pacific for Nokia Networks.

Global Crossing Offers to Acquire UK's Fibernet for $96 Million

Global Crossing announced a cash offer to acquire all of the issued and to-be-issued shares of Fibernet Group Plc , a UK-based provider of specialist telecommunications networks, for approximately $96.1 million (50.6 million British pounds sterling).

Fibernet serves a marquee roster of UK corporate enterprise and carrier customers, including the Bank of England, Citigroup, IBM and Carphone Warehouse. provides its services from a national fiber network in the UK and also from its metropolitan networks in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Reading. The company has more than 100 points of presence in the UK and an additional 12 in Frankfurt, Germany. In the financial year ended August 31, 2005, Fibernet reported revenue of 47.9 million pounds sterling and Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) of 15.9 million pounds sterling, or $91.0 million and $31.2 million, respectively, at current exchange rates.

Global Crossing and Fibernet have complementary long haul networks.

"Global Crossing and Fibernet have complementary businesses in the UK. The opportunity to combine and grow these businesses is compelling and exciting for us. I look forward to a quick and seamless integration upon closing and to better serving existing customers and welcoming new customers with the expanded range of products we will offer," said John Legere, chief executive officer of Global Crossing.

The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2006 and is conditioned on acceptance by Fibernet shareholders and regulatory approvals.


FCC Grants New Certification for XM Radios

The FCC issued new grants of authority for three XM Satellite radios with FM transmitters after determining that the radios are in compliance with FCC regulations. The XM plug-and-play radios -- Audiovox Xpress, Delphi RoadyXT, and XM Sportscaster -- are three of XM's primary products at retail.

XM Satellite pulled the units off of the market in May 2006, after the FCC questioned whether the power output of the FM radio was too strong.

ST and China's Dahua Develop Dual-Mode Cable/IP STB

STMicroelectronics and Dahua Technology, a Chinese supplier of cable and IPTV set-top boxes, announced a jointly-developed, highly- integrated, digital-cable and IP set-top box. At the heart of Dahua's design is a dedicated chip belonging to ST's STi7100 family of Advanced Video Codecs (AVC). This system-on-chip (SoC) solution integrates support for advanced high-definition H.264/MPEG4 AVC and MPEG4 P2 standard definition (SD) in addition to MPEG2 encoded video signals. The box, which begins deployment in Hangzhou Province in August 2006, will enable consumers to enjoy a new three-in-one digital media experience including digital-cable TV, video-on-demand, and web browsing.

ST said it is the first silicon supplier to provide single-chip dual-mode digital set-top-box solutions for the China market.

Broadcom Marks 15th Anniversary

Broadcom marked the fifteenth anniversary of its founding in 1991 by Henry T. Nicholas III and Henry Samueli, each of whom earned a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from UCLA. The company went public in April 1998.

Broadcom chips are found in broadband gear such as DSL and cable modems, digital cable, satellite and IP set-top boxes, and high definition DVD players and personal video recording devices; in networking infrastructure equipment, which rely on Broadcom switches, controllers, PHYs, security processors, broadband processors, and server I/O chipsets; and in mobile platforms and wireless connectivity devices and equipment such as cellular phones and Wi-Fi routers with VoIP, Bluetooth and WLAN technologies.

BellSouth Eliminates $2.97 DSL Regulatory Fee

BellSouth will eliminate a $2.97 per month charge associated with consumer DSL service, agreeing to pass on the savings that began when a federal regulatory fee expired earlier in August. According to media reports, the decision followed a set of letters sent by the FCC to BellSouth and Verizon informing them of forthcoming investingations into potential violations of truth-in-billing laws. At issue is whether operators are continuing to collect regulatory fees that the government is no longer assessing.

As described on BellSouth's website, the broadband fee was designed to recover a number of costs remaining from previous regulatory obligations and other network expenses that increase the cost of the Internet services we provide to consumers.

BellSouth said its DSL Internet service customers will see this change on their bills within a week, although it will take up to six weeks to implement this change for all of customers. Any payments attributable to this fee will be credited back to August 16, 2006.


Broadband Reaches Nearly One in Four EU households

Almost one in four EU households is now connected to the internet via high-speed "broadband" links, according to an EU-wide survey conducted by the European Commission.

Some key findings include:

  • Broadband's popularity grows with household size -- only 12% of single households have it, compared with 34% of those with four members or more.

  • Of those households that have only "narrowband" internet connections, 40% do not wish to upgrade, either because they are satisfied with the speed of their dial-up connection or because they do not use the Internet enough to justify the higher cost of broadband.

  • The average proportion of single households with only a mobile phone (i.e. no fixed line) climbs to 58% for the 15-29 years age group and falls to 6% only for persons aged 60 years old and over

  • Among the benefits of mobile phones, the ability to be contacted at any place, any time is valued more highly (34% of replies) than the freedom to make calls (19%).

  • Only 15% of households use public payphones, the main reason being when the mobile phone is out of credit, out of battery or out of range.

  • 82% of households equipped with an Internet connection have anti-virus software, but only 58% have anti-spam software.

  • In the EU 25 overall, more than one in three respondents were able to cite 112 as the single emergency number to call from any location in the EU against one in five as measured five years ago.

  • Almost all EU households (97%) have access to voice telephony services, 61% have both fixed and mobile phones and 18% have only mobiles.

"I see these figures -- in particular the fact that so many people are satisfied to stay with slow speed internet access -- as a challenge to operators and service providers to develop more attractive broadband offers both in terms of content and in terms of price," stated Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding.

proportion of

EU households

Overall telephone access

(fixed and/or mobile)


Mobile telephone access


Fixed telephone access


Both fixed and mobile telephone access


Mobile but no fixed telephone access


Fixed but no mobile telephone access


Broadband Internet access


DSL access


Cable-modem access










Source: European Commission