Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Iliad Group' Free Selects Cisco for FTTH in France

The Iliad Group's "Free" broadband service selected Cisco's Ethernet fiber-to-the-home (E-FTTH) technology for a mass rollout in France. Specifically, Free will deploy Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Switches as the E-FTTH access platform at its new optical PoPs with 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplinks to its core network to make optimum use of the increased capacity provided by the Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing Systems.

The first phase of the fiber project aims to connect more than 2 million people in Paris. Free plans to offer a EUR 29.99 monthly bundle that combines 50 Mbps Internet access, high-definition IPTV, video on demand, multimedia communication and Web 2.0 services.

  • In September 2006, The Iliad Group's Free division, unveiled plans for a widescale rollout of FTTH in Paris. The company said the new network will give it true independence from the incumbent operator, France Telecom. The project is expected to take 24 months to reach 2.1 million people.

    Free said it plans to invest EUR 1 billion in the project through 2012. The company initially will target areas were its Freebox installation density is greatest. The Freebox HD's ADSL2+ terminal will be replaced by an optical box. Draka Comteq was selected to supply the FTTH network. The deployment will include two million kilometers of fiber and cable designed to resist the adverse conditions of sewers, through which many of the fiber lines will be deployed.

  • Unlike PON architectures, the network topology will use dedicated fiber from the Ethernet switch to the subscriber.

  • Rights-of-way agreements for Paris were signed in July 2006.

  • As of June 2006, the Iliad Group had 1.9 million ADSL users in France.

  • The Iliad Group also holds a national WiMAX license across France.

Agilent Acquires PXIT for Optical Signal Testing

Agilent Technologies has acquired PXIT Inc., a privately held company that provides signal integrity testing systems for broadband optical transceiver manufacturers. Financial details were not disclosed. All of PXIT's Massachusetts-based employees have joined Agilent.

Agilent said the acquisition helps it to continue to innovate in the manufacturing test market, serving R&D and manufacturing customers.


Skype Offers Annual Unlimited Calling plan

Skype is transitioning its Skype Out service from a free trial to a paid services with a flat rate of $29.95 for unlimited calling to any landline or mobile phone in the US or Canada for a whole year. Up through January 31, Skype is offering a promotional price of $14.95 for the same package. International calling is 2.1 cents per minute to major destinations worldwide.

Skype said it currently has 11.9 million registered users in North America.

Skype also released Version 3.0 of its Windows software, adding new features such as Public Chats, which allow users to join in multi-person community conversations and discussions. Any Skype user can join these chats and meet new people who share the same interests.


UNH InterOperability Lab to Host IMS Forum Plugfest in January

The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) will host the first IP Multimedia Subsystem Forum (IMSF) group test in January 2007. The event, which is scheduled for Jan 15-19, will focus largely on IMS application servers. on testing the interfaces between the IMS architecture core network and application servers. This will include analyzing the north-south interfaces of the IMS architecture over several different IMS core / application server / user equipment combinations. The event will allow for the development of a multi-vendor reference IMS test bed that will be used as a baseline throughout the series of events.http://tinyurl.com/t3awehttp://www.imsforum.org

Occam Networks' BLC 6000 Selected by Ontario IOCs

Ten local, independent telcos in the province of Ontario, Canada have selected Occam Network's BLC 6000 solution to upgrade their networks. These carriers, which together support some 35,000 access lines, include Cochrane Telecom Services, Execulink Inc., Gosfield North Communications Co-op Ltd., Huron Telecommunications Co-operative, Nexicom Group, North Renfrew Telecom, Quadro Communications, Boxborough Telephone Company Ltd., and Wtc Communications (Westport).

Most of these operators are utilizing the Occam BLC 6252 blade. The BLC 6252 provides 48 ports of ADSL2Plus with Lifeline POTS on the same physical interface to deliver voice, data and video services. Subscriber DSL and POTS ports combine with four ports of resilient Gigabit Ethernet transport capabilities to position the 6252-02 Blade as the Triple Play workhorse for the future.


Cisco Invests $50M in China Communications Services

Cisco has made a strategic investment of US$50 million in China Communications Services Corporation Limited (CCS). Under the deal, Cisco and CCS will jointly provide managed telecommunications services, such as network operation and administration, to enterprise customers in China. Additionally, the two companies will provide customers with new network solutions, including IP infrastructures, digital video, and 3G platforms and applications.

CCS is the specialized telecommunications support businesses arm of a major telecommunications group in China. CCS has been reorganized and spun-off to form a separate independent entity, with China Telecom Group, China Mobile and China Unicom also as shareholders. The company is publicly traded on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange with the ticker 0552.hk.


Celtro Wins HSDPA Backhaul Contract with Vodacom South Africa

Vodacom S.A., South Africa's leading mobile operator, is deploying Celtro's cellular backhaul solution for the expansion of 3G services and rollout of HSDPA. Specifically, Vodacom will deploy Celtro's DynaMate systems at over 850 sites this year, enabling rollout of 3G and HSDPA on existing backhaul infrastructure.

Vodacom currently provides mobile services to over 20 million subscribers in South Africa, Tanzania, Lesotho, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  • Celtro was established in 2001 as a business unit within ECI Telecom, and in September 2003 was spun-off as an independent, privately owned company.

Verizon Business Promotes Polycom Telepresence Solution

Verizon Business is now offering its large-business customers a video "telepresence" system developed by Polycom for use over its advanced IP network. The new offering, the Polycom RPX modular conference suite, combines Verizon Business' intelligent Private IP network and Ethernet services with Polycom's standards-based RealPresence Experience (RPX) family of telepresence solutions. The modular rooms come in six configurations to accommodate from four to 28 participants.

Bob Hagerty, chairman and CEO of Polycom, said, "Verizon Business is a longstanding and important relationship of Polycom's, and we are excited they are now offering our new RPX telepresence suites to enterprises."http://www.verizonbusiness.comhttp://www.polycom.com/

ETSI Approves Second-Generation IP over Satellite (IPoS)

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has approved the Internet Protocol over Satellite.v2 (IPoS.v2) air interface standard, which incorporates the DVB-S2 industry standard with ACM (Adaptive Coding and Modulation).

The first version of IPoS was approved the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) in North America, and ETSI and ITU (International Telecommunications Union) in Europe.

Hughes Network System said its HN System, launched in the spring of 2006, is fully compliant with the IPoS standard including DVB-S2, supporting very high throughputs of up to 120Mbps, and offering increased network availability while conserving power consumption.

"We applaud ETSI for embracing the newest version of IPoS, which fully integrates the DVB-S2 standard with ACM," said Pradman Kaul, Chairman and CEO of Hughes. "This standard takes satellite broadband performance to the next level. Along with higher speeds and improved bandwidth utilization, IPoS.v2 enables significantly improved operational efficiency."http://www.hughes.comhttp://www.etsi.org

Meriton Networks 6400 Receives RUS Acceptance

Meriton Networks' 6400 OTP (Optical Transport Platform has been accepted by the Rural Development Utilities Program (RDUP), a division of the United States Department of Agriculture, for inclusion in the RDUP List of Materials. This acceptance enables independent telephone and utility companies to purchase Meriton Networks equipment with the assistance of funds from RDUP grants and loans.


Altera Ships Stratix II GX FPGAs for Multi-Gigabit-Interconnected Systems

Altera began shipping its production-qualified Stratix II GX FPGAs, which provide up to 20 low-power transceivers operating between 600 Mbps and 6.375 Gbps with an 127 Gbps of aggregate serial link connectivity.

Alter said its customers are now using the new FPGAs to design and manufacture multi-gigabit-interconnected systems. Many of these customer systems are now transitioning to production, including high-speed backplane and cabling interfaces, chip-to-chip interconnects, and protocol-bridging applications, including, but not limited to, such protocols as PCI Express, CEI-6G, serial digital interface (SDI), Gigabit Ethernet, Serial RapidIO (SRIO), XAUI, SerialLite II, Fibre Channel and SONET/SDH. http://www.altera.com/stratix2gx

CheckPhone Raises $10.2 Million for Voice Security

CheckPhone, a start-up based in Paris, secured a US$10.2 million investment from Trio Capital for its telephony security solutions.

CheckPhone, which was founded in 2005, offers an enterprise-class product designed to protect any convergent telephony network (traditional TDM, hybrid, and IP) against growing security threats such as: intrusion, interception, modification and denial of service. It is a multi-vendor, multi-technology platform for VoIP, legacy PBXs and hybrid environments, enabling centralized telephony security managementhttp://www.checkphone.com/

EMC Enhances MPLS Support for Model-based Management Software

EMC Corporation has enhanced its Smarts IP Availability Manager 7.0 and Smarts Service Assurance Manager 7.0 software with added support for MPLS-based environments. EMC has also added compatibility for a broader range of application and system instrumentation such as HP's Mercury SiteScope -- EMC continues to widen its model-based management line-of-sight.

Smarts IP Availability Manager automates real-time root-cause analysis of critical network connectivity layers, including network-attached storage connectivity. Smarts Service Assurance Manager is the cornerstone of the EMC Smarts management suite, integrating and correlating topology, events and analysis from multiple sources -- offering a real-time end-to-end perspective on the IT environment, its health and its effect on core business services.

Version 7.0 now offers SNMPv3 authentication support for traps, which is a key requirement for government agencies and managed service providers. This gives users two layers of security, providing full encryption of packets as well as full encryption and authentication for polling and discovery. Also key to Smarts IP Availability Manager 7.0 and EMC Smarts Service Assurance Manager 7.0 is "IP Tagging." With IP Tagging, users can better handle overlapping IP addresses in both IP and MPLS environments. Smarts can now tag and monitor multiple links with the same address, allowing Smarts to deal with duplicate addresses across disparate domains.

The new Smarts suite also adds support for isolating MPLS service outages down to the Label Switched Path (LSP) connection within the MPLS cloud. By testing the specific data paths, Smarts reduces the time to identify the root cause of customer-affecting service degradations.


Verizon to Feature NFL Broadcasts Over Broadband

Verizon FiOS Internet and Verizon Online DSL customers who subscribe to either FiOS TV's Premier channel lineup or DIRECTV will be able to view live NFL game broadcasts this week on the Internet, including the first Saturday night matchup, with the Dallas Cowboys taking on the Atlanta Falcons, as well as the Thursday night matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks.

Verizon said it is the only Internet service provider to deliver selected NFL Network programming over broadband.


QUALCOMM Appoints COO, Hires Former Sprint Exec

QUALCOMM appointed Dr. Sanjay K. Jha as its chief operating officer. As COO, Jha will now oversee Corporate Research and Development and QUALCOMM Flarion Technologies (QFT), in addition to continuing as president of QUALCOMM CDMA Technologies (QCT). Prior to being named COO, Jha's 10-plus years of contributions at QUALCOMM included key engineering roles and the formation of QUALCOMM Technologies & Ventures.

QUALCOMM also announced the hiring of Len J. Lauer, who has joined QUALCOMM as a corporate executive vice president and as group president overseeing key divisions. As group president, Lauer will oversee QUALCOMM Wireless Business Solutions, QUALCOMM MEMS Technologies, QUALCOMM Government Technologies and the company's mobile TV subsidiary, MediaFLO USA. Lauer reports to QUALCOMM president Steven R. Altman. Most recently, Lauer served as chief operating officer for Sprint Nextel where he directed all of the company's operations to deliver converged media and communication services. During 2006, he also served as the chairman of CTIA, the trade association for the U.S. wireless industry.


AT&T Tests Free Directory Assistance Service

AT&T has begun testing a free directory assistance service that would give callers access to business listings while giving advertisers the opportunity to reach buyers at a critical moment in their purchasing decisions. Callers will be able to request a listing for a specific business or for listings for a type or category of business from a landline or wireless phone. Callers will hear short audio ads relevant to their listing request before receiving the number or, possibly, being connected directly to the business they select. The trial service is initially available in Bakersfield (California), Oklahoma City (OK) and Columbus (Ohio).


STMicroelectronics Announces Product Organization

STMicroelectronics will reorganize its product segments into three main areas: Application Specific Groups, a Flash Memory Group and the Industrial and Multisegment Sector.

ST is establishing a stand-alone Flash Memories Group (FMG), which incorporates all the Flash memory operations, including Technology R&D, all product related activities, front-end and back-end manufacturing, marketing and sales worldwide. FMG will be led by Mario Licciardello, Corporate Vice President and General Manager.

ST is adding to the former MPA business its non-Flash memory products - formerly under MPG - and its Micro-Electro- Mechanical Systems (MEMS) activity, to form a new sector, called Industrial & Multisegment Sector (IMS). Carmelo Papa, who is being promoted to Executive Vice President, will lead the Industrial & Multisegment Sector. Within IMS, a new Group, the Microcontrollers, Memories & Smartcards Group (MMS), is created under the leadership of new Corporate VP Claude Dardanne.

ST's Application Specific Groups (ASG) will now be comprised of the newly created Mobile, Multimedia & Communications Group (MMC) and the Home Entertainment & Displays Group (HED) as well as the existing Automotive Product Group (APG) and Computer Peripherals Group (CPG). In connection with these changes, Tommi Uhari is being promoted to Executive Vice President and will lead the Mobile, Multimedia & Communications Group and Christos Lagomichos is being promoted to Corporate Vice President for the Home Entertainment & Displays Group. The Automotive Products Group and Computer Peripherals Group will continue to be managed by Corporate Vice Presidents Ugo Carena and Gian Luca Bertino, respectively.


SureWest Offers 50 Mbps Residential Broadband in Sacramento Region

SureWest Communications, which serves the Sacramento, California region, announced a 50 Mbps "Ultimate Package" broadband service over its FTTH network. Similar to its 20 and 10 Mbps offerings, the 50-Meg product is synchronous, meaning that consumers receive up to 50 Mbps for both uploading and downloading.

SureWest's Quad-Play "Ultimate" package includes 50 Mbps Internet access; "Full Color Multiplex" digital TV service, which features over 250 channels and includes every premium channel; national unlimited local and long distance telephone; and "Unlimited USA" wireless with 1,000 travel minutes each month. Pricing for "Ultimate" quadruple play is $415.18 a month - a bundled savings of $430 a year. The 50 Mbps product is valued at $259.95 per month.

SureWest's FTTH network reaches nearly 100,000 marketable homes in the Sacramento region.