Thursday, September 21, 2006

Intelsat Reports Anomaly on Satellite over Africa

Intelsat's IS-802 satellite, located at 33 degrees E, experienced a sudden and unexpected anomaly on September 21. The satellite, launched in 1997, furnishes telecommunications services to customers on the African continent and the Indian Ocean Region.

Intelsat said its control center is communicating with the satellite and the satellite is under control and accepting commands. The company is making alternative capacity available to its IS-802 customers, in accordance with existing contingency plans.

Intelsat also said it did not yet know if there is a connection between this event and the Intelsat 804 satellite failure which occurred in January 2005. Both satellites were manufactured by Lockheed Martin.

Cavalier to Acquire Talk America for $251 Million

Cavalier Telephone & TV agreed to acquire Talk America, a leading CLEC, for $251 million. The price of $8.10 share represents a 23% premium over Talk America's closing price as of Thursday, September 21st, 2006.

On a pro forma basis, the combined companies are projecting over $750M in revenue, $130M in adjusted EBITDA and $50M in free cash flow (EBITDA minus CAPEX and interest expense) in 2006. The combined companies currently serve over 550,000 residential customers, 85,000 business customers and employ over 2,000 people. After the acquisition is completed, Cavalier will serve customers in 6 of the top 20 metropolitan services areas (MSAs) in the country, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia and suburban Washington, DC.

"We believe that this acquisition combines the strengths of two of the nation's most robust competitive carriers. Talk's state-of-the-art back office support system and Cavalier's advanced network architecture will help provide our combined customers the newest and most advanced telecommunications' solutions in the marketplace. Since our inception, Cavalier's focus has been to develop facilities-based networks capable of delivering the highest quality voice and data products. Cavalier's networking capability can now be leveraged with Talk's core Michigan, Ohio and Southeastern markets. Additionally, the cost savings that we will be able to capture and revenue synergies that we will generate from this acquisition, will provide substantial accretive value to the business," commented Cavalier's CEO Brad Evans.

Following closure of the deal, Evans will become Executive Chairman of Cavalier and Talk America's CEO, Ed Meyercord, will assume the role of CEO for Cavalier.

  • Earlier this year, Cavalier Telephone launched an MPEG4 over ADSL2+ IPTV service in Richmond, Virginia. The deployment uses Tut Systems' Astria content processor,
    Amino's MPEG 4 set-top box and SecureMedia's Encryptonite System CA/DRM software.

  • In January 2006, Cavalier Telephone completed its acquisition of Elantic Telecom (formerly known as Dominion Telecom), which operates an 8,200 route mile fiber network connecting major cities on the Eastern portion of the United States. For the past 18 months, Cavalier has been providing management, engineering and operating support to Elantic through a management services agreement.

  • The Elantic fiber network connects over 52 cities in a self-healing fiber ring design. The network reaches west from Chicago, and North thru New York, expands down the East coast and South to Wilmington, North Carolina. The network also includes former Telergy assets that were deployed throughout many metropolitan areas in New York state. The largest concentration of fiber is in Virginia where fiber rings encircle much of the state. Over $1 billion dollars was invested to create the Elantic footprint.

  • Talk America recently began promoting a service bundle featuring broadband with 6 Mbps download speeds and a nationwide unlimited voice service at a price below $70 for business customers and $50 for residential customers.

SingTel Appoints Chua Sock Koong as CEO

Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel) announced the appointment of Ms Chua Sock Koong as Group CEO, effective 01-Apr-2007.

Ms Chua, who joined SingTel in 1989, has had 17 years of experience with the SingTel Group. She currently holds the positions of CEO (International) and Group CFO. Her International portfolio comprises the key drivers of SingTel's international business, with responsibility for the Group's strategic investments, as well as its IT business arm, NCS. In addition to her International portfolio, Ms Chua is also responsible for overseeing Group Information Systems, Group Finance and Corporate Affairs (which spans group strategy, treasury, tax, legal, investor relations and corporate communications).

Siemens Supplies Turnkey IPTV to T-Com Croatia

Siemens Communications has supplied a turn-key IPTV implementation to Deutsche Telekom's T-Com subsidiary in Croatia.

The Croatian T-Com IPTV service, which is launching this month, provides users with an electronic program guide to select from 13 Croatian and around 40 international TV channels. A large number of movies are also available through video on demand.

The network is using MPEG4 encoding.

Siemens provided the entire IPTV system, including the management systems for all the applications, digital rights management, and the integration of different manufacturers' set-top boxes. The middleware, which enables communication between the network and the set-top box, is provided by the Siemens subsidiary Myrio.

Ericsson Delivers 3G/HSPA in Indonesia

Indonesia's PT Excelcomindo Pratama Tbk (XL) has selected Ericsson to build its 3G/WCDMA network based on High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA). Ericsson will supply its Mobile Softswitch Solution for nationwide deployment, as well as business consulting services. Ericsson will also supply radio access products and be responsible for the performance and improvement of the radio network, as well as providing operations & maintenance services. The 3G network deployment includes Java, Bali and Lombok, with a focus on six major cities. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ericsson to upgrade T-Com's DWDM Network in Germany

Deutsche Telekom's T-Com division selected Ericsson to upgrade its metro and regional DWDM transport networks in Germany. Under the contract, Ericsson will deliver its Multihaul WDM solution, the Marconi-branded MHL 3000, to Deutsche Telekom's broadband/fixed network business unit, T-Com. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ericsson said its MHL 3000 Metro offers the combination of low deployment cost and the ability to scale with minimal investment for the various topologies, traffic growth and new service demands inherent in the metro. T-Com started to use WDM platforms as a long-haul solution in 2004 and it has now decided to extend it to metropolitan and regional networks, using MHL 3000 Metro.

Ericsson also said this contract highlights the benefits of the Marconi acquisition.
  • In January 2005, T-Com, the fixed-network unit of Deutsche Telekom, awarded a three-year contract to Marconi to build Europe's first 40 Gbps optical network. Marconi will supply T-Com with its Multihaul 3000 DWDM transmission platform and its ServiceOn Optical network management system. The Multihaul 3000 will act as an expressway carrying high-bandwidth traffic between switching nodes in the network, with a capacity of 3.2 Tbps (terabits per second) on each optical fiber pair.

Unconditional FCC Approval of AT&T + BellSouth Deal Urged by Chairman

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is urging his fellow commissioners to support an unconditional approval of the historic AT&T + BellSouth mergers, according to press reports circulated on Friday. A vote on the issue is expect at the FCC's upcoming meeting on October 16.

http://www.fcc.govIn October 2005, the FCC voted to approve the acquisition of AT&T by SBC Communications and of MCI by Verizon Communications but imposed a set of conditions aimed at alleviating anticompetitive concerns. These included the following:

  • The applicants committed not to seek an increase in state-approved rates for unbundled network elements (UNEs) for two years (except for rates that are subject to current appeals in specific states).

  • The applicants committed to a one-time recalculation to exclude fiber-based collocation arrangements established by AT&T in SBC's region and MCI in Verizon's region in identifying wire centers in which SBC or Verizon claims there is no impairment pursuant to the UNE triggers in the Triennial Review Remand Order so that dedicated transport and/or high-capacity loops need not be unbundled.

  • The applicants committed to implement a “Service Quality Measurement Plan,�? which will provide the Commission with quarterly performance results for interstate special access services. This commitment will terminate the earlier of 30 months and 45 days after the beginning of the first full quarter following the closing of the mergers, or the effective date of a Commission order adopting general special access performance measurement requirements.

  • The applicants committed, for 30 months, not to increase the rates paid by existing in-region customers of AT&T in SBC's region or MCI in Verizon's region for wholesale DS1 and DS3 local private line services.
    SBC/AT&T and Verizon/MCI committed, for a period of 30 months, not to provide special access services to themselves, their interexchange affiliates, or each other or their affiliates, that are not generally available to other similarly situated customers.

  • The applicants committed that for a period of 30 months, before they provide new or modified contract tariffed service to their own section 272(a) affiliate(s), they will certify to the Commission that they provide service pursuant to those contract tariffs to unaffiliated customers other than each other or their wireline affiliates.

  • The applicants committed for a period of 30 months not to increase rates set forth in SBC's and Verizon's interstate tariffs for special access services, including contract tariffs, that they provide in their in-region territory that are on file with the Commission on the Merger Closing Dates.

  • The applicants committed, for a period of three years, to maintain settlement-free peering arrangements with at least as many providers of Internet backbone services as they did in combination on the Merger Closing Dates.

  • The applicants committed for a period of two years to post their peering policies on publicly accessible websites. During this two-year period, the applicants will post any revisions to their peering policies on a timely basis as they occur.

  • SBC/AT&T acknowledged: (1) that the merger does not change carrier of last resort obligations imposed by the State of Alaska on interexchange services provided by Alascom; (2) that the merger will not alter statutory and regulatory geographic rate averaging and rate integration rules that apply on the merger closing date to Alascom; and (3) after the merger closing date, they will operate Alascom as a distinct, though not structurally separate, corporate entity.

  • The applicants committed to provide, within 12 months of the Merger Closing Dates, DSL service to in-region customers without requiring them to also purchase circuit-switched voice telephone service. The companies will make the offering for two years from the time it is made available in a particular state.

  • The applicants committed for a period of two years to conduct business in a way that comports with the Commission's Internet policy statement issued in September.

BT Offers Fee-based Broadband Customer Support

BT's introduced a set of fee-based, broadband customer support services. Home visits by a BT engineer to install broadband will cost £50.00 per visit. In addition, anyone with a BT line can request a Home IT Visit for assistance with any IT-related problem or situation for £75.00 for the first hour and £25 for each subsequent half-hour.

BT said it now has a team of up to 2,000 specially trained engineers.

The Home IT Visit service follows the launch in March of BT Home IT Advisor - a service which gives customers a single point of contact with a team of highly trained advisors dedicated to providing comprehensive support for customers' PCs, networks, applications and up to 20 devices for the home. The service can even create a "virtual engineer" in the home by enabling an advisor to securely log on to a customers' computer remotely and troubleshoot a problem for no additional fee, above the £9.99 a month subscription. This service has more than a thousand customers signing up each week.

Global Crossing Opens Facility in Monterrey, Mexico

Global Crossing opened of a new Point-of-Presence (PoP) facility in Monterrey, Mexico providing direct access to its MPLS-based IP network.

Global Crossing also has facilities in Mexico City and other locations across Central and South America. Global Crossing's fiber-optic network in Mexico runs through a terrestrial system connecting Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mazatlan. Through its subsea system in the Pacific, Global Crossing connects facilities in Tijuana to the rest of its global network. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the company has facilities in 12 of the region's major cities.

Global Crossing noted that traffic from its enterprise and carrier customers in Mexico increased 64 percent in the second quarter of 2006 compared to the second quarter of 2005. Overall IP traffic more than doubled in Mexico during the same period, outpacing the company's global IP growth.

Foundry to Restate Financials Due to Stock Options

Following its internal investigation, Foundry Networks has concluded that actual accounting measurement dates for certain stock option grants awarded during the years 2000-2003 differ from recorded grant dates for such awards. Therefore, Foundry expects to restate historical financial statements to record additional non-cash charges for stock-based compensation expense related to past option grants. The company could not say the amount of such charges, although it believes the charges will be material.

Westell Discontinues Development of Verizon One CPE

Westell Technologies will cease joint development of the Verizon One product with Verizon Communications. The company said it will complete its orders for Verizon One over the next month, and the companies will each pursue independent development and marketing strategies for their respective multimedia terminal product programs.

Westell continues as Verizon's primary supplier of DSL modems and gateway products.
http://www.westell.comVerizon One is a "communications command center" designed to help consumers manage all of their communications needs and devices. Verizon One, which was rolled out in October 2005, is a 5.8 Ghz cordless phone featuring a color-touch screen, DSL modem, 802.11g wireless router and other features.