Monday, June 4, 2007

DSL Worldwide Surpasses 200 Million Line Mark

DSL's subscriber base worldwide has exceeded the 200 million mark, with almost 20 percent (or 37 million) living in China, according to new figures from The DSL Forum and Point Topic. China is now the largest provider of DSL-based services.

The new milestone represents a 29 percent increase in the number of DSL customers inside the last twelve months.

The DSL Forum estimates that DSL accounts for 65% of all broadband access forms globally and 73 percent of the Chinese broadband

Alcatel-Lucent Wins IP/MPLS Contracts with China Telecom

Jiangsu Telecom and Hubei Telecom, two subsidiaries of China Telecom, have selected Alcatel-Lucent's IP/MPLS gear to expand their IP metro area networks. The multi-million Euro contracts were secured by Alcatel Shanghai Bell. The Alcatel-Lucent IP solution includes the 7750 Service Router (SR).

ECI Telecom Gains MEF Certification

ECI Telecom's Multi-Service Provisioning Platforms (MSPP) -- the XDM and the BroadGate (BG) series -- have been certified to be compliant to the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) technical specifications for delivery of Ethernet services. Testing was carried out by Iometrix testing lab. ECI's XDM and BG platforms were found to be fully compliant to MEF 9 and MEF 14, successfully demonstrating the platforms' readiness to deliver any Metro Ethernet service in conformance with MEF's quality of service attributes for traffic management.

Ericsson Sells Planet EV Planning Tool Business to CTS

Ericsson will sell its Planet EV network planning tool suite and associated business to CTS International for an undisclosed sum. Planet EV is a network planning platform for network design, optimization and data management that was acquired by Ericsson in 2006 along with other business assets from Marconi.

The sale includes the transfer of approximately 60 employees and is expected to close within 30 days.

Ericsson said it will continue to provide its customers with network planning services which combine products and services to increase value to the customer.

CTS is a provider of microwave transmission network planning solutions and has had an ongoing relationship with Ericsson and previously with Marconi that included integration of their microwave tool into Planet EV.

Alcatel Double Capacity of FTTU, Introduces New ONTs

Alcatel-Lucent has enhanced its 7342 ISAM Fiber-to-the-User (FTTU) with new quad port line cards, effectively doubling the system density, and a 10 Gigabits per I/O slot. Release 4.4 also supports VoIP with SIP and H248 and supports IPTV with IGMPv3 for fast TV channel change.

In addition, Alcatel-Lucent introduced three new optical network terminals (ONTs) for residential, multi-dwelling units and businesses, which gives it the widest range of industry leading ONTs for all customer types.

  • The Residential ONT (I-ONT) is ultra-compact and supports 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

  • The compact Multi-Dwelling Unit ONT (M-ONT) is capable of serving up to 12 living units with primary phone lines and either VDSL or Ethernet data. It addresses the Fiber-to-the-Building segment with full quality of service since each VDSL copper user has the same Quality of Service (QoS) as fiber connected GPON users - each VDSL user is effectively treated as if they are a fiber user.

  • The Business ONT (B-ONT) supports voice, gigabit Ethernet and legacy services (TDM E1) with accurate clock-synchronization for mobile backhaul of 2G, 3G, WiMax and business-leased lines.
  • In March 2007, Alcatel-Lucent introduced a 48-port VDSL2 line card as part of Release 3.3 of its ISAM product family, a density especially important in space-constrained cabinets. This is a universal DSL card, which is backwards compatible with ADSL. Alcatel-Lucent's ISAM Release 3.3 products include the 7302 ISAM for central offices and its smaller form factor 7330 ISAM Fiber to the Node (FTTN) optimized for street cabinets. Through the same 48-port VDSL2 line card, services providers can support IPTV subscribers with VDSL2 plus existing ADSL users.

Chunghwa Telecom selects Alcatel-Lucent Ethernet/MPLS

Chunghwa Telecom, the incumbent operator in Taiwan, selected Alcatel-Lucent to provide an Ethernet/MPLS backbone to support its island-wide FTTH initiative. CHT is deploying the Alcatel-Lucent 7450 Ethernet Service Switch (ESS), which provides scalable Ethernet/MPLS aggregation resulting in high bandwidth for high-speed Internet, video and voice services.

Alcatel-Lucent said the new contract is part of CHT's "Optical Era Project" which involves an investment of approximately USD 180 million to construct an island-wide fiber optical network over a five-year period. The final goal of the project is to bring fiber optic connections to 2.4 million subscribers by the end of 2010.
  • In March 2007, Chunghwa Telecom selected Alcatel-Lucent to deploy Taiwan's first Universal WiMAX (802.16e-2005) network in the densely populated metro area of Taoyuan county. Chunghwa Telecom's Universal WiMAX network will fully comply with the IEEE 802.16e-2005 (also called Rev-e) standard for fixed, nomadic and mobile usage. Under the terms of the contract, Alcatel-Lucent will provide its end-to-end WiMAX solution, including 2X2 multiple input/multiple output (MIMO) technology, which can help increase capacity and coverage. Alcatel-Lucent will also be providing Chunghwa Telecom multi-vendor network integration, engineering and installation support.

  • In December 2006, Chunghwa Telecom selected Alcatel-Lucent's IMS-compliant solution for real-time, high-quality video telephony and video conferencing services between fixed broadband networks and 3G mobile networks. The service, which is now commercially available, will allow more than three million of CHT's ADSL subscribers to make high quality video calls between the operator's fixed and mobile broadband networks. Alcatel-Lucent's solution to CHT is based on elements of its IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) solution including the5020 Softswitch with its Call Session Controller (CSC) for multimedia session control and the 8690 Video Telephony Application Server for multimedia applications.

Taiwan's Chunghwa Selects Teknovus for GEPON

Chunghwa Telecom, the incumbent carrier in Taiwan, has selected Teknovus' Gigabit Ethernet Optical Network (G-EPON) chipsets for its FTTH deployment. The network will be used for broadband services including premium video services such as IPTV, along with VoIP and high-speed data services. Deployments are underway.

Teknovus said its chips and software met Chunghwa's QoS requirements on 1X64 fully loaded PON networks while adhering to low power usage parameters.

In January this year, Chunghwa Telecom announced it plans to invest NT$60 billion (US$1.85 billion) over the next five years to provide better broadband services to homes. The number of Chunghwa consumers using its optical fiber network is expected to reach 500,000 by year-end 2007 and 2.4 million by 2010.
  • As of the end of March 2007, Chunghwa reported 285,111 MOD (media on-demand IPTV) subscribers.

Micrel Announces New 2.5 Gbps GPON ONU Transceiver

Micrel introduced a single chip programmable SERDES (Serializer/Deserializer) that supports multiple Passive Optical Network (PON) standards and rates including asymmetric Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) with data rates up to 2.5 Gbps on the receive side and 1.25 Gbps on the transmit side.

Micrel's SY87725L SERDES chip offers complete clock recovery and data retiming circuitry, along with an integrated 4-bit serial-to-parallel data converter, on the receive side. On the transmit side, it also includes a synthesizer with an integrated 4-bit parallel-to-serial data converter. Micrel said its device is targeted at BPON/GPON/GEPON/EPON applications in the growing Fiber-to-the-Home and Fiber-to-the-Premises markets. The SY87725 is currently available in volume and is priced at $9.95 for 1K quantities.

TI and Network Physics Collaborate on IP Quality Management

Texas Instruments and Network Physics announced a development initiative centered on delivering optimized end-user experiences for VoIP and IPTV services.

The initiative will leverage TI's "PIQUA" quality management system to help service providers and enterprise IT managers deliver important real-time visibility into performance related problems and provide automated corrective actions that can be deployed to mitigate some of the challenges with delivering IP-based services.

TI's PIQUA system, which is based on the company's digital signal processor (DSP) technology and embedded software solutions, provides a real-time distributed system of quality management elements that monitor the quality of IP-based services. PIQUA can collect data from a variety of endpoints, including user devices, IP set-top boxes and residential and media gateways. These endpoints use DSPs to execute software, which encode voice and perform the signal processing required to facilitate the transmission of voice between various networks. The PIQUA system automates the process of gathering IP endpoint performance metrics and converts this data into real-time actionable information.

The integration of PIQUA software with the NetSensory Solution Insight for VoIP 2.0 from Network Physics is done via standard protocols such as RTCP-XR by communicating call quality metrics, including TI RTCP-XR extensions for reporting echo quality metrics. The NetSensory tool combines valuable endpoint information and correlates it with other network data to provide network operators and enterprise IT managers with an outstanding set of metrics for actionable and rapid resolution, ensuring high quality services.

"TI's PIQUA system is a standards-based, embedded capability in IP endpoints, including CPE devices and access and infrastructure media gateways, which gathers and reports real-time operational and experiential data from equipment used to deliver services such as VoIP and IPTV," said Debbie Greenstreet, director of service provider strategic marketing, Texas Instruments.

FTS Supplies Business Control & Billing Software for Vodafone Iceland

Og Fjarskipti (Vodafone Iceland) will overhaul its billing system using FTS' Leap Billing and Leap Business Control Engine (Leap BCE) solutions, enabling next generation services with real time customer interaction. Vodafone Iceland will use FTS' solutions as the platform to support all current and future charging, billing and real-time customer interaction needs as part of a renewal of its entire BSS environment under a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) paradigm. In addition, FTS will be responsible for overall project migration. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Motorola Invests in VOCEL for Mobile Push Marketing Service

Motorola Ventures has made an investment in VOCEL, a start-up based in San Diego that is developing wireless push technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

VOCEL's INCA (Interactive Commerce Accelerator) wake-up mobile marketing service provide opt-in personalization, wake-up discovery, and one-click purchasing, which is designed to stimulate new data users and increase revenue for mobile operators and content publishers. INCA personalizes each marketing message through a sophisticated inference and recommendation engine that analyzes user-supplied demographics and past buying habits to select content that each subscriber is most likely to buy.

VOCEL said its opt-in platform ensures users receive only the content they want, when they want it and simplifies the data purchase experience to a simple, single click.

Click! Selects NeuStar for CALEA Compliance

Click! Network, a Tacoma, Washington-based broadband network of independent local exchange carriers (ILECs) and one of the nation's largest municipally-owned telecommunications systems, has selected NeuStar to support its Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) compliance efforts. Under a one-year contract, NeuStar will provide broadband lawful intercept services to the network.

The CALEA compliance deadline was May 14, 2007 for all facilities-based broadband access providers and interconnected VoIP service providers.

Bell Canada's Privatization Talks Enter New Phase

BCE, the parent company of Bell Canada, announced that another group is entering into discussions to explore the possibility of taking the company private and that members of the group have signed non-disclosure and standstill agreements with BCE on a non-exclusive basis. The consortium includes Teachers' Private Capital, the private investment arm of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Providence Equity Partners Inc.
  • In April 2007, BCE announced a series of discussions with a group of leading Canadian pension funds to explore the possibility of taking the publicly-traded company private. This group will be led by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec and Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments), who have signed a non-disclosure and standstill agreement with BCE on a non-exclusive basis. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. (KKR), a leading global private equity firm, has also signed the agreement and will join the Canadian-led consortium as a minority partner.

  • BCE controls Bell Canada, Telesat Canada and an interest in Bell Globemedia.

Microsoft Shows new Version of Office Live Meeting

Microsoft showed off the new version of Office Live Meeting, which is scheduled for availability in fall 2007. The new version features a simplified user interface and a support for live video, VoIP and rich media.

The 2007 release also supports multiple communication channels, such as enabling the user to integrate two-way conference audio into the meeting, or embedded flash, video and audio files into the presentation.

"The 2007 release of Office Live Meeting is a prime example of Microsoft's software-plus-services in action," said Kim Akers, general manager, Unified Communications Group, Microsoft Corp. "It's important for us to offer our customers choice and flexibility between software that is hosted, such as the next release of Live Meeting, or software that is deployed and managed on-premise, such as the conferencing capabilities in Office Communications Server 2007."

Joost Names Volpi as CEO

Mike Volpi has been appointed chief executive officer, replacing Fredrik de Wahl, who remains at Joost as chief strategy officer.

In February 2007, Volpi resigned his position as senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Routing and Service Provider Technology group. While at Cisco, Volpi also pioneered the company's M&A process, and acquired more than 70 companies during his tenure.

Avaya Accepts $8.2 Billion Buyout from Silver Lake, TPG

Avaya accepted an $8.2 billion buyout offer, or $17.50 per common share, from Silver Lake and TPG Capital, both private equity firms. The price represents a premium of approximately 33 percent over Avaya's average closing share price of $13.17 during the 30 trading days ending May 25, 2007.

The merger agreement provides for Avaya to solicit proposals from third parties during the next 50 days. In addition, the company may, at any time, subject to the terms of the agreement, respond to unsolicited proposals. There would be a break-up fee ranging from $80 million to $250 million depending on the timing of a counter proposal. The companies expect the deal to close in the fall of 2007, subject to receipt of shareholder approval and customary regulatory approvals.

Avaya has some 20,000 employees, including some 2,500 research and development professionals worldwide. The company is a leading supplier of enterprise IP telephony, call center and PBX solutions worldwide.

For its most recent fiscal quarter, Avaya's overall revenues increased 4.5 percent to $1.294 billion compared to $1.238 billion in the same period last year. Sales of products grew 8 percent year over year, led by a 15 percent increase in sales of converged voice applications. Net income was $57 million and earnings per share were 13 cents.
  • In October 2000, Avaya was spun off from Lucent Technologies and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AV.

  • Avaya is headed by Louis J. D'Ambrosio, who previously was SVP and President, Global Sales and Marketing at Avaya. Before that, D'Ambrosio spent 16 years at IBM in senior leadership roles across IBM Global Services, Software, and Sales and Marketing.

  • Silver Lake's investment portfolio includes, or has included, Ameritrade, Avago, Business Objects, Flextronics, Gartner, Instinet, IPC Systems, MCI, NASDAQ, Network General, NXP, Sabre Holdings, Seagate Technology, Serena Software, SunGard Data Systems, Thomson and UGS.

  • In August 2006, Silver Lake Partners joined Bain Capital, Apax Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., and AlpInvest Partners 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.

  • In May 2007, TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners (Goldman Sachs) announced plans to privatize Alltel, , which is the fifth largest wireless carrier in the US serving 12 million customers, in a deal valued at $27.5 billion.