Monday, April 30, 2007

Video Interview: Verizon Business' Mike Yancey Discusses the Wholesale VoIP Market

Video Interview: Verizon Business' Mike Yancey Discusses the Wholesale VoIP Market

Key Questions Covered:

Wholesale VoIP: Who are the customers for Verizon Business' wholesale voice offerings?

Verizon's VoIP infrastructure -- what are the key elements of the Verizon Business VoIP backbone? What upgrades are you planning?

SIP, ENUM and the IMS Architecture -- How are these technologies being integrated into your network?

Wholesale VoIP Security -- What are the security concerns of wholesale VoIP and how are they being addressed?

The FCC Declaratory Ruling on VoIP -- How will the recent Time Warner ruling impact the market for wholesale VoIP services?

recorded March 2007

Iowa CLEC Upgrades Network with Occam's BLC 6000

The Local Internet Service Company (LISCO), a leading competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) serving in the Fairfield, Iowa area has begun purchasing Occam's BLC 6000 Fiber products as part of a strategy to overbuild Fairfield with fiber to the home (FTTH). LISCO is using Occam's 6312 Optical Line Termination blades and 6314s 10GigE Optical Packet Transport and Optical Line Termination blades. When complete, LISCO will be able to offer Triple Play services to approximately 4,000 residential subscribers.

Dept.of Defense Certifies Juniper Routers for IPv6

Juniper Networks' M- and T-series routing platforms are the first network routers to be certified for the Department of Defense Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) Capable Approved Products List (APL).

The Office of the Secretary of Defense National Information Infrastructure (OSD-NII) has mandated that all DoD Program Managers purchase products from the IPv6 APL, in keeping with the Department's overall directive that defense organizations transition network backbones from IPv4 to IPv6, the next generation Internet protocol, by 2008.

The IPv6 Capable Special Interoperability Certification of Juniper Networks products were administered by the DoD Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC), which validated data analysis, tests and evaluated the M- and T-series routers for conformance and interoperability to IPv6 base requirements.

SeaChange Debuts Flash Memory Server for VOD

SeaChange International unveiled its 100% flash memory solution for on-demand television -- decoupling on-demand streaming from disk-based content storage and enabling television operators to push their streaming resources to the network edge and deploy centralized content libraries.

Available in Q3 2007, a single SeaChange MediaServer Flash Streamer (two rack units high) will provide 300 hours of storage and 1,000 streams.

SeaChange said the most popular content can be delivered most efficiently using diskless edge streaming, thereby enabling centralized storage and storage management at headends. In contrast to DRAM solutions, its Flash Streamer retains real-time ingested content in spite of server failures or maintenance downtime, a critical requirement for time-shifting.

SeaChange is also announcing its new Axiom Core 4.0 software, which can automatically distribute "hot" content to Flash Streamers to provide additional streaming capacity.

"With flash technology, operators can now bring much more content to the network edge to more subscribers without having to bring disk storage with it, which means more content and higher quality of service at a much lower total cost of ownership," said Bang Chang, director of server products, SeaChange.

SeaChange's MediaServer Flash Streamer also leverages technology used in the company's widely deployed MediaCluster disk-based servers . Without costly mirroring, MediaCluster stripes content files across flash modules in a server and across servers in an InfiniBand connected cluster, ensuring service fault-resilience and cost-efficient scalability since only one copy of a video is ever required at a server location.

SeaChange said its MediaCluster technology is also the key to extending flash memory's life expectancy by a factor of five to at least 10 years. Whereas content "write" hot spots would dramatically reduce life expectancy in other architectures, SeaChange's MediaCluster eliminates write hot spots by perfectly load-balancing content "writes" across all flash modules in a server and across all servers in a cluster.

Axiom Core 4.0 is SeaChange's latest generation on-demand management software. It is an open solution for automating television's rapidly expanding core services, including network PVR and broadband PC/mobile delivery and subscriber place-shifting.

Joost Launches its Web TV Service

Joost announced the commercial launch of its broadcast-quality Internet television service, kicking off publicity campaigns in 32 countries. Joost reportedly has enrolled over 100,000 beta testers and now aims to attract over a million registered viewers in its first few months. The service initially is available under a controlled release to invited parties. The company plans to open registrations to any broadband user later this month.

Joost also announced five new content providers: Turner Broadcasting System (CNN, Anderson Cooper 360˚, Larry King Live); Sony Pictures Television; SI; NHL; and Hasbro.

Joost features more than 150 channels with programming across all genres, including: cartoons and animation; entertainment and film; sports; comedy; lifestyle and documentaries; and sci-fi. Channels and programs available on Joost vary by geographic region, based on copyright ownership.

Qwest Reports Improved Profitability

Qwest Communications reported quarterly earnings of $240 million, or $0.12 per diluted share compared with earnings of $88 million, or $0.05 per diluted share in the first quarter 2006. Operating revenue for the first quarter 2007 was $3.4 billion, including data and Internet services revenue of $1.2 billion, now more than 35 percent of operating revenue. Some highlights:

  • High-speed Internet subscribers grew by 167,000 in the first quarter.

  • Qwest added 80,000 net DIRECTV subscribers in the quarter compared to 38,000 new subscribers in the year-ago quarter. Qwest surpassed the 500,000 video subscriber mark in the quarter and now has a total of 506,000 video subscribers.

  • At the end of first quarter, Qwest had a total of 13.6 million domestic access lines, down 6.8 percent from the first quarter 2006.

  • Combined data, Internet and video revenue increased by 11 percent year over year.

  • Wholesale revenue was flat with the prior year as more than 10 percent growth in data revenue largely offset access-line and volume-driven declines in local and access revenues.

  • First quarter capital expenditures totaled $318 million, compared to $390 million in the year-ago quarter when the capital spend was balanced throughout the year and commercial and housing development was expanding more quickly. Nearly half of the wireline spend in the quarter was directed toward increasing the speeds and capabilities of the network.

Comcast Raises Guidance, Strength in Triple Play

Speaking at its 2007 Analyst and Investor Meeting in Philadelphia, Brian Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation raised the financial guidance for the company, predicting strong long-term prospects, including continued double-digit revenue growth, operating margin expansion, and sustainable and growing free cash flow. The bullish statements reflected the positive market response for the company's Triple Play service bundle.

"The triple play is driving incredible operating momentum and we see that accelerating as it continues to roll out. We now expect Comcast Digital Voice penetration to exceed 20% by the end of 2009. As we have been reporting over the past several quarters, the triple play is increasing the already strong growth of our video and high-speed Internet services - we expect to deliver at least 7 million RGU additions per year through 2009. The fundamentals of our business are extremely strong and we have never been more enthusiastic about the future of our company."

Some key predictions by Comcast:

  • Cable revenue projected to grow a compounded average of 12% per year for 2007-2009.

  • Cable Operating Cash Flow (OCF) projected to grow a compounded average of 14% per year for 2007-2009.

  • Comcast Digital Voice (CDV) projected to reach a penetration level of 20-25% of the Company's available homes passed.

Some other notes and key metrics from the investor presentations:

  • Served over 4 billion VOD streams to date, including 203 million in March 2007 compared to 144 million in March 2006

  • Of homes passed, Comcast video has a 51% penetration rate, High-speed data (HSD) is at 26% and Digital Voice is 7%

  • 13 million customers now have access to ON Demand services

  • Pay per view revenue increased more than 20% on average over the past nine quarters

  • the percentage of analog customers has declined from 53% in 2003 to an estimated 25% in 2007

  • 4.7 million HDTV subscribers at the end of Q1 2007, compared to 4.2 million at the end of Q4 2006

  • 12.0 million High-speed Internet customers at the end of Q1 2007, compared to 10.1 million at the end of Q1 2006

Verizon Business Offer VoIP Assessment Tools & MOS SLA

Verizon Business introduced a reporting service to help enterprise customers better assess voice quality over their networks and manage them more efficiently.

Verizon's new Network Assessment with Voice service is powered by Centrisoft. The service can helps customers ensure that VoIP is deployed correctly by accurately sizing the network at the outset; fine-tune VoIP call quality in an existing network running both data and voice traffic; and appropriately prioritize network traffic to accommodate voice applications. The service is not limited to enterprises using Verizon's Private IP or even Verizon Business service. It service can be used to inventory all network application traffic and enable IT managers to determine if certain applications are interfering with VoIP data. Verizon Business said this service represents a cost-effective alternative to an in-house or a hardware-based solution that would require significant investment by the customer.

Verizon's new Network Assessment with Voice is targeted to be available globally later this month for U.S.-based multinational customers as part of the company's Application Aware suite of reporting tools.

In addition, Verizon Business is introducing a Mean Opinion Score (MOS) SLA. The MOS SLA, which augments the current Jitter SLA available for VoIP and video applications, uses a quantitative measure of audio clarity as defined by the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector. The measure tests the end-users' voice-quality experience.

Verizon Business' new SLA provides that monthly average MOS performance for VoIP traffic on a Private IP customer's U.S. network will not drop below 4.0, a highly desirable score for IP telephony networks. This SLA sets a new bar for the quality of VoIP traffic running over MPLS networks.

Verizon Business recently announced several new SLAs available to all Private IP customers, including an enhanced Time to Repair (TTR) SLA. It is based on the amount of time taken to restore service during an outage, rather than the average or Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) service outages.

TI Extends Codec Interoperability

Texas Instruments (TI) introduced its "eXpressDSP" Digital Media Software Standard (xDM), a low-level application programming interface (API) for DSP-based software that provides a framework for integrating and exchanging multiple codecs within an application.

xDM is an extension of TI's widely deployed eXpressDSP Algorithm Interoperability Standard (xDAIS), and makes it possible to exchange codecs by simplifying codec APIs to encode, decode, and control functions. Simple exchange of algorithms is an essential characteristic for many applications.

TI said that for fixed applications, the ability to swap out different algorithms without having to rewrite application code enables developers to leverage the same hardware platform across a wide range of applications. For emerging applications, such as Surveillance IP Networked cameras that can support both MPEG-4 and H.264, the ability to dynamically exchange codecs improves management of limited network bandwidth and allows flexible use with security DVRs and other equipment.

Motorola Integrates Video Server with SeaChange Axiom Software

Motorola has integrated its B-1 Video Server with SeaChange's newly released Axiom 4.0 on-demand management software to enable the streaming for high-definition (HD) VOD content. The Motorola B-1 Server is an open platform, designed to integrate with standards-based solutions such as Axiom software.

The Motorola B-1 Video Server features a solid-state architecture based on the intelligent configuration and management of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM). As a result, the platform uses less space and power than traditional video server technology, while providing performance, reliability and scalability improvements for video ingest, streaming, and storage. Motorola has shipped more than 500,000 on-demand video streams worldwide on the B-1 platform.

SeaChange's Axiom Core 4.0 leverages open application programming interfaces to host the widest range of innovative applications and components, including third-party servers like Motorola's. Axiom automates and optimizes the use of streaming, storage and network resources to ensure service to millions of television subscribers.

Internet2 FiberCo Partners with Ciena

Internet2 FiberCo, a fiber holding company formed to support dark fiber initiatives for U.S. research and higher education, and Ciena are partnering to provide a suite of customized professional services and optical networking equipment solutions to assist Internet2 members with planning, installing, and managing their advanced network infrastructures. FiberCo will offer Ciena's basic and professional services to provide Internet2 members end-to-end solutions and support for any and all components of their dynamic research networks, including network management and maintenance. The range of offerings includes: network architecture and design, installation, vendor-neutral engineering support, staging and implementation services, and program management.

Additionally, FiberCo can offer Internet2 members a wide range of products within Ciena's FlexSelect Architecture to provide optical transport and switching capabilities that enable dynamic Ethernet lightpath connectivity. These product offerings include the CN 4200 FlexSelect Advanced Services Platform, the CoreDirector Multiservice Optical Switch, the CN 2000 Storage and LAN Extension Platform and the CoreStream Agility Optical Transport System.


Motorola's Board Issues Stock holder Letter Against Carl Icahn

Motorola published a open letter too all stockholders in connection with the company's upcoming Annual Meeting of stockholders. In the letter, Motorola advised against electing Carl Icahn to its Board, saying his responsibilities appear to be to investors in his own business, which may conflict with his ability to represent all stockholders of Motorola. The Board said it unanimously determined that Icahn is "not the right person to serve as a Motorola director."

Vonage Files Motion to Vacate Court Decision

Vonage filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington D.C. to vacate and remand the U.S. District Court's decision finding Vonage infringed on certain Verizon technology.

Vonage cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week in the KSR v. Teleflex case, which establishes a new test for determining when an invention is too obvious to warrant patent protection.

"We are very encouraged by the Supreme Court's decision and the giant step it represents towards achieving much-needed patent reform in this country," said Jeffrey Citron, Vonage chairman and interim chief executive officer."

"Everyone knows you can't patent an orange, but you can - and someone likely already does - hold the patent for an orange picker," said Sharon O'Leary, Vonage's executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary. "According to the Supreme Court's ruling, if you patent an orange picker, and then someone else comes along and puts a glove on it to protect the oranges against bruising, you can't patent this new invention as "novel" as it is just an obvious improvement of the original invention. The Supreme Court's decision thus focuses on keeping only what's truly novel and original protected by patents."

BBC Confirms Plans for Web TV Service

The BBC Trust granted approval to plans for launching on-demand audio/video services, following a trial involving over 10,000 participants. The BBC iPlayer will allow users to download programs that were broadcast in the past seven days and to store them for up to 30 days. Internet simulcasts will also be offered.
  • The BBC first announced plans to launch an Internet video player application in August 2005.

  • In March 2007, Google announced that the BBC will post some of its video content on YouTube in a non-exclusive deal.