Thursday, October 9, 2008

BT Openreach Announces FTTC Test Sites

Openreach -- BT's local access network division -- announced two sites for operational pilots of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) to begin in summer 2009. Two exchanges, one in Muswell Hill, London and one in Whitchurch, South Glamorgan, will be used to conduct FTTC pilots involving up to 15,000 customer premises for each area. End user customers in these areas will experience headline speeds of up to 40 Mbps.

The pilots will follow a planned technical trial in the Foxhall exchange area of Kesgrave, Suffolk in early 2009, and the successful launch of the fibre to the premises (FTTP) product at Ebbsfleet Valley in Kent earlier this year.

NextWave Wireless Raises $100 Million in New Capital

NextWave Wireless raised $100 million in new financing through the issuance of senior-subordinated secured second-lien notes ("Notes") to Avenue Capital Management II, L.P. and SOLA.

"This financing will provide the runway we need to execute our strategic plan in an orderly and efficient manner. It will allow us to seek to maximize the value of our assets, including our spectrum, as we implement a global restructuring of our business," said Allen Salmasi, chief executive officer and president of NextWave Wireless.

Separately, NextWave Wireless received a Nasdaq Staff Deficiency Letter indicating that because the company's common stock has closed below the minimum $1.00 per share for the last 30 consecutive business days, the company fails to comply with the requirement for continued listing;
  • In April 2008, NextWave announced that it had retained Deutsche Bank and UBS Investment Bank to sell its U.S. spectrum assets. The company has also retained Canaccord Adams to sell its Canadian spectrum assets.

  • Also in April, NextWave Wireless announced its NW2000 Wave 2-ready family of second-generation mobile WiMAX chipsets designed for high-volume, small form-factor wireless broadband subscriber stations, including CPE modems, PC card modems, laptops, multimode/smartphone handsets and mobile multimedia terminals.

October 13th -- 25 Year Anniversary of the First Commercial Cellular Phone Call

On October 13, 1983 the first commercial cellular call was placed to the grandson of Alexander Graham Bell in Germany from the president of Ameritech Mobile Communications at a ceremony held outside of Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. This transatlantic conversation launched the nation's first citywide commercial cellular system.

The call was placed using the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, which weighed nearly two pounds, was 13 inches long, and had only 30 minutes of talk time.

CTIA noted that there are now more than 262 million wireless subscribers in the United States -- 83 percent of the total U.S. population -- and 3.3 billion active cell phones worldwide. Some other notes:

  • In the first six months of 2008 (Jan. 1 -- June 30) U.S. consumers talked on average a total of 187 billion minutes each month. That is more than 6 billion minutes each day, and amounts to nearly 13 hours (766 minutes) per customer each month.

  • More than 384 billion text messages were reported by carriers this year between Jan. 1 -- June 30 versus 295 billion voice calls. That is 22 billion more text messages than for all of 2007.

  • During the last 21 years, the average wireless subscriber's local monthly bill has decreased by 50 percent, dropping from nearly $100 per month in 1987 to less than $49 in June 2008.

  • More than 150 wireless companies offer wireless service in the U.S. Wireless service revenues reached $138.9 billion at the end of 2007.

Qwest and CWA Reach Tentative Agreement

Qwest Communications and the Communications Workers of America reached a new tentative agreement for a 4-year contract covering about 20,000 of Qwest's 35,000 employees.

Results of a ratification vote over the new agreement by Qwest CWA members are expected by Oct. 31. In total, Qwest employs about 35,000 workers.

The pact follows the announcement on Sept. 30 that CWA-represented Qwest workers had voted down a tentative agreement reached during normal bargaining by both parties Aug. 17.

NDS Provides Conditional Access Protection for Singapore's Mobile TV Trial

NDS is providing the core conditional access (CA) security infrastructure for the world's first commercial trial of the new OMA BCAST SCP standard, an emerging key standard for mobile TV content protection in Singapore.

Mobile telecommunications providers M1, SingTel and StarHub are working with MediaCorp, the country's leading media company, to run the three-month trial. Alcatel-Lucent's Mobile Interactive TV solution powers the DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld) platform for the trial. The trial includes mobile devices from Samsung and Smartcard Profile-compliant SIM cards from Gemalto.

NDS said its solution is based on its "NDS Unified Headend" architecture, which provides a single point of rights management for all video broadcasts, irrespective of the delivery networks or the rendering devices. The new platform supports multiple mobile broadcast profiles and multiple handsets simultaneously and cost-effectively, centralizing content distribution from a single headend for consumption on multiple devices.

Teliasonera International Carrier Launches Media Distribution Service

TeliaSonera International Carrier launched a new media distribution service over its global IP network aimed at content holders and broadcasters.

The new TeliaSonera International Carrier Media Distribution Service will offer a complete end-to-end service for upload, storage and distribution of video content to the end user over the TeliaSonera International Carrier IP backbone. The service will also handle all aspects of content management, business models, DRM, security, reporting, statistics and end-user interfaces.

The company said the new service is complementary to its fiber-based contribution network designed for the transport of real-time, broadcast quality video content.

Verizon Business Achieves Multinational Certification From Cisco

Verizon Business has achieved Multinational Certification from Cisco for Europe, making it one of only a select group of companies to achieve the pan-European Cisco certification. The certification requires expertise in four key specializations: unified communications, routing and switching, security, and wireless LAN. In addition, Verizon Business has integrated Cisco Lifecycle Services into its offerings.

Deutsche Telekom to Establish New Data Privacy Standards

Deutsche Telekom affirmed its intention to significantly improve data privacy in the interest of its customers by increasing transparency and optimizing data privacy standards. A new Data Privacy Board department will be established to send out a clear signal in terms of the significance of data protection in today's information society. To this end, data privacy, legal affairs and compliance are to be combined and significantly reinforced as one area of responsibility.

In addition, Deutsche Telekom is launching major initiatives to increase customer data security throughout the Group. These include:

  • Deutsche Telekom will provide online information about data protection incidents undergoing criminal investigation. Thus, Deutsche Telekom will take the lead in meeting the obligation to furnish information, a subject which is still being debated at the political level.

  • A yearly data privacy report will be launched and supplemented by a half-yearly interim report. The first report is scheduled to be published in the first quarter of 2009.

  • In the future, Deutsche Telekom will voluntarily have its customer systems certified by independent providers (such as TÜV IT). In addition, independent security companies will be asked to systematically analyze the systems and search for weak spots.

  • The setting up of an independent data privacy council comprising leading experts from supervisory bodies and independent organizations will ensure a critical dialog with renowned experts.

  • Responsibilities in customer care will be defined more strictly and access to data decreased. Data access will be systematically logged and administrators more monitored.

  • Access of external sales partners and staff to DT systems will be restricted. Currently, PIN/TANs are being introduced for accessing sensitive databases in order to prevent unauthorized access from external processors to our systems.

  • An "expiry date" for user IDs is being introduced so that user IDs regularly expire and have to be renewed. In addition, the use of fixed IP addresses is being increased so that employees and sales partners may access the systems only from specific computers.

  • The widespread introduction of terminal systems will prevent decentralized storage of customer data.

  • In order to protect the data of particularly vulnerable individuals there are plans to develop a concept in cooperation with the Federal Criminal Police Office and the police.

"We are not aiming for a program that will be completed in three to five years. Rather we are establishing a new fundamental and permanent approach to data privacy", says René Obermann, Deutsche Telekom's CEO.

KPN Broadcast Services Expands Net Insight Deployment

KPN Broadcast Services is expanding its existing national multi-service media network to also provide TV feeds from the top 18 football stadiums in Holland. The network is based on Net Insight's Nimbra platform and has been operational since the beginning of 2006, providing services like video, data and audio connectivity between all major TV-studios in the Netherlands, all TV feeds for the digital terrestrial TV and mobile TV services.

The order from KPN Broadcast was placed through Net Insight's Dutch partner Alphatron Broadcast Electronics and the equipment will be delivered during the fourth quarter 2008.

Bell Canada and TELUS Select NSN for Next Gen Wireless Network

TELUS has selected Nokia Siemens Networks to provide equipment for its next generation wireless network. Separately, Bell Canada also confirmed the selection of NSN for this project.

Initially based on High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technology, the network will transition to fourth generation technology based on the emerging, global long-term evolution (LTE) standard. A full national launch is expected by early 2010. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"After a comprehensive review, TELUS has selected NSN to provide their Converged Core including circuit, packet and harmonized subscriber management and their radio base station portfolio because of NSN's advanced solutions and their global carrier presence and reputation," said Eros Spadotto, executive vice president of Technology Strategy at TELUS.

Nielsen Online Forms Joint Venture with Beijing Zhongqian

Nielsen Online and Beijing Zhongqian Wangrun Information Technology Co., Ltd., the operator of ChinaRank, have formed a joint venture for Internet measurement and analysis services in China.

The new venture, CR-Nielsen, has been officially licensed to operate in China and is the first company to support the delivery of standardized Internet measurement services in China.

China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the state network information center of China, estimated that there are 253 million Internet users in China (June 2008).

CR-Nielsen reported the top 15 Web sites in China, which attracted more than 28 million unique browsers each between Sept. 8 and Sept. 14. In the search category, Baidu dominated with 171 million unique browsers, more than double the volume of Google's 81 million unique browsers. In addition, finance and video sites attracted significant audiences during the reporting period.http://www.nielsen-online.com

SureWest to Sell Wireless Towers to Global Tower Partners

SureWest Communications reached an agreement to sell its more than 50 owned wireless communications towers to Global Tower Partners, which owns or master leases more than 8,900 sites, including more than 3,000 owned towers throughout the United States.

The purchase price is based on tower cash flow and is payable with respect to commenced tenant leases. SureWest said it expects that the final aggregate purchase price will be in the range of $9.5 to $10.2 million.

SureWest plans to use the net proceeds from the transaction to continue the expansion of its high performing fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband network in both its Sacramento and Kansas City regions.http://www.surewest.com
  • In addition to divesting the assets of its Wireless business for $69.0 million, SureWest sold its Directory Publishing business to GateHouse Media for $110 million in early 2007. In February 2008, SureWest acquired Everest Broadband, Inc., a broadband leader in the Kansas City region, and more than doubled the company's triple-play residential subscriber base and facilitated the rapid expansion of its business services.

Bell Canada and TELUS Collaborate on 3G/4G Strategy

Bell Canada and TELUS agreed to collaborate on their next generation wireless networking strategies, including plans to make a significant investment in 3G upgrades while confirming a common approach to migrate to the evolving 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard. Bell said it is seeking to reduce cost and time to market by adopting a network overlay strategy that leverages its existing national network-sharing agreement with TELUS. That agreement was originally established in 2001 to ensure national mobile data services, especially in rural and remote areas.

"Bell's transition to the global 4G LTE standard with a combined EVDO and HSPA network path aligns us with more than 30 major carriers worldwide planning a similar move to LTE," said Stephen Howe, Senior Vice President, Wireless Network and Chief Technology Officer for Bell Mobility.

"As the next evolution in our multi-network strategy, this initiative will position TELUS to actively participate in the future global LTE eco-system and leverage economies of scale, offer timely access to handsets, and enhance global roaming relationships and revenues," said Darren Entwistle, TELUS President and CEO.http://www.bce.ca

SiRF & Qualcomm Sign Mutual Patent Non-Assertion Agreement

SiRF Technology, a leading provider of GPS-powered location platforms, and Qualcomm signed a mutual Patent Non-Assertion Agreement covering each party's patent portfolio.

"As an innovation driven company, we respect Qualcomm's vast intellectual property portfolio," said Kanwar Chadha, founder of SiRF Technology. "We believe that this agreement between leading innovators of AGPS enabled location technology