Sunday, June 7, 2009

AT&T's National Broadband Plan Calls for 100% Coverage by 2014

In a filing with the FCC regarding the national broadband plan, AT&T set a target and timeline of 100 percent broadband by 2014.

"A successful national broadband plan should aim for an Internet that is universal, open, private and safe. It should also foster an environment in which all participants in the Internet ecosystem have the incentive to continue the massive investments required to create more bandwidth, compelling content and applications that will make everyone in the United States want to be connected. Skill and leadership will be required to promote and balance these competing principles," said AT&T's Senior Vice-President of Federal Regulatory, Robert Quinn.

AT&T noted that lthough 8 percent of U.S. households still lack access to terrestrial broadband service, simply increasing the supply of broadband is not a magic bullet. There is a potentially greater challenge on the "demand" side of the equation. According to the most recent data from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, only 55 percent of adult Americans have broadband Internet access service in their homes -- meaning that roughly 40 percent of American households that could get broadband service decline to do so.

Some key points of the AT&T filing:

1. Embrace the Diversity of Broadband. The National Broadband Plan should recognize and embrace all of these platforms, users, and services as part of the broadband ecosystem that will help ensure 100 percent broadband access and deliver the many societal benefits envisioned by Congress in the Recovery Act that will, in turn, promote 100 percent broadband adoption.

2. Engage All Broadband Stakeholders. The Broadband Plan is a plan for the entire nation, not just those entities traditionally regulated by the FCC. It must therefore engage a diverse collection of parties that have roles to play in achieving the 100 percent broadband goals discussed above: the private sector; consumers; public institutions; public-interest advocates; and the government.

3. Promote Broadband Innovation, Investment, and Deployment and Jobs. The private sector has invested hundreds of billions of dollars in broadband-enabled facilities, services, applications, and content over the last decade. This investment has been, and should continue to be the primary engine of broadband growth in the United States.

4. Provide Targeted Government Support for Broadband Deployment Where Needed. There will be some remote areas of the nation where the private sector alone will not be able to shoulder the financial burdens of deploying broadband facilities required to achieve 100 percent broadband access. In those circumstances, the government should provide targeted assistance, including acting on pending proposals to reform the universal service program (and the related intercarrier compensation regime) to provide support for broadband deployment.

5. Remove Impediments to Broadband Adoption. The National Broadband Plan must address the impediments that have kept some populations offline. The Plan must engage many stakeholders --both inside and outside the government--to provide training and public access to broadband services; economic assistance for the acquisition of broadband services and equipment; and incentives for the development of technology and content aimed at specific users' needs.

6. Encourage Maximum Utilization. The National Broadband Plan must encourage the deployment of more efficient and cost-effective--smarter--broadband networks, services, applications, and content as efficiently as possible. As broadband becomes more ingrained in our everyday lives--from web surfing to video conferencing to smart grids to e-commerce and e-government to telemedicine and beyond--networks will need to dynamically provide the performance capabilities required by the increasingly diverse array of services, applications, and content traveling over them.

7. Enhance Cybersecurity and Online Safety. Ensuring 100 percent broadband access and enabling 100 percent adoption will be an utterly wasted effort if the National Broadband Plan does not also include a robust strategy for ensuring cybersecurity and online safety. As broadband services play an increasingly instrumental role in virtually all facets of our cultural, economic, social, and governmental institutions, a secure and safe online environment is an imperative.

Fanfare Adds Virtual Testbed to its iTest

Fanfare released the latest version of iTest, its flagship test automation product, featuring new Virtual Testbed (VTB) capabilities.
The VTB features in iTest 3.4 enables testers to build test cases before devices exist, beginning the quality process months earlier than before. Testers can also leverage a VTB for test development by using virtual replicas of real devices and costly test equipment.

Fanfare said its Virtual Testbed will help cut capital expenditures by helping organizations better utilizing their lab assets and infrastructure. The VTB capabilities also enable testers to work remotely.

Among several other new features, iTest 3.4 includes:

Scheduling and Test Suites -- Test management is streamlined in 3.4 by allowing users to quickly identify and group multiple tests as a test suite and schedule them to run at a certain time or on a recurring basis, further accelerating the rate and efficiency of testing. This feature is available in iTest Team and iTest Enterprise editions.

New and Improved Integrations -- Layer 2-3 and 4-7 testing is enhanced with support for Ixia's IxNetwork and Spirent Avalanche. The Avalanche integration provides a rich user interface inside of iTest for users to interact directly with Avalanche. For users of iTest's HPQC integration, there is now batch publishing of tests and reports to HPQC. This optional module is available for $1,000 each per year.

iTest 3.4 is now generally available.

CWA: National Broadband Plan Must Include Public Hearings

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) issued its own recommendations for a national broadband plan. Key recommendations in the CWA filing include:

  • A series of public hearings in communities across the country that will help provide guidance for the national plan from a broad group of citizens, businesses and communities.

  • Benchmarks that are ambitious, but achievable, with an initial goal of 10 megabits per second downstream and 1 megabit per second upstream. CWA is calling for specific benchmarks to increase broadband speeds to the home over a six-year period.

  • Establish tax incentives that encourage private businesses to build out and upgrade universal, advanced networks. Encouraging and accelerating the deployment of these advanced networks is an extremely cost-effective policy.

  • Safeguard consumers and create quality jobs by requiring public reporting for deployment, actual speed, price and quality of service, and insisting that employers adhere to all labor laws and standards, including workers' rights to bargaining collectively and form a union.

HP, Intel and Yahoo! Build "Open Cirrus" Cloud Computing Test Bed

HP, Intel and Yahoo! announced that three new research organizations will join "Open Cirrus", a global, multiple data center, open source test bed for the advancement of cloud computing research. The new entities, which include the Russian Academy of Sciences, South Korea's Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute and MIMOS, a strategic research and development organization under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in Malaysia, were revealed today at the first Open Cirrus Summit.

The Open Cirrus cloud computing test bed, which was launched in July 2008, was created to promote open collaboration among industry, academia and governments by removing the financial and logistical barriers to research in data-intensive, Internet-scale computing. The test bed, which has more than 50 research projects currently underway, simulates a real-life, global, Internet-scale environment and gives researchers an unprecedented ability to test applications and measure the performance of infrastructure and services built to run on large-scale cloud systems.

Qwest to Keep its Long Haul Network, Reaffirms 2009 Guidance

After a strategic review of its long distance network, Qwest Communications has decided to keep it as corporate asset. The company said it received unsolicited indications of interest from potential purchasers and then followed-up by launching a competitive bidding process. Although there was significant interest in this process from prospective buyers, the company and its Board of Directors have determined that the long distance network asset holds far more value to Qwest shareholders and is more strategically important to Qwest and its customers than is the alternative of pursuing a transaction.

Qwest also reaffirmed its guidance for the full year 2009, expecting adjusted free cash flow to be $1.4 to $1.5 billion, full year adjusted EBITDA of $4.2 to $4.4 billion, inclusive of an expected increase in non-cash pension and OPEB expense of $200 million, and capital expenditures of $1.8 billion or lower.

Dell'Oro: DVR-Equipped Set-top Box Shipments Contract 20% in Q1

The number of DVR-equipped, pay-TV set-top box unit shipments contracted 20 percent year-over-year in the first quarter this year and accounted for one-third of the total set-top box shipped during the quarter, according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group.

This contraction in the first quarter may be attributed to several factors. "First, the economy is reducing the demand for premium services such as DVR functionality," said Greg Collins, Vice President at Dell'Oro Group. "Second, growth in the set-top box market is coming from Europe and developing regions where DVR functionality is still new and not yet embraced by consumers. Third, multi-room DVR's are at the very early stages of impacting demand for integrated DVR's. Multi-room DVR's offer end-users greater functionality and ease of use by eliminating the need to manage content on multiple set-top boxes. Furthermore, since the hard drive is often the most expensive and most failure-prone component of a set-top box, multi-room DVR's also offer service providers lower capital and support costs," he finished.

The IP STB market was the only segment to grow year-over-year in the first quarter with Motorola and Cisco holding top spots. ZTE captured the third position with strong sales of inexpensive, standard definition products to China where IPTV is starting to gain momentum.

Fujitsu Debuts 2nd Gen 40 Gbps Interfaces for FLASHWAVE 7500

Fujitsu Network Communications has released the second-generation 40 Gbps interfaces for its FLASHWAVE 7500 Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer (ROADM). The new adapters use an innovative Adaptive Differential Phase Shift Keying (ADPSK) modulation scheme and Fujitsu patented Variable Dispersion Compensation (VDC) to enable up to 1.6 Tbps of capacity. The FLASHWAVE 7500 ROADM is an optical hubbing and transport solution widely deployed in traditional telecom carrier and cable operator networks to support core network consolidation, metro/regional capacity relief, and triple-play service delivery.

Three new 40 Gbps units are now available for the FLASHWAVE 7500 ROADM, including the 40 Gbps Transponder, 4:1 Muxponder, and 40 Gbps Regenerator. Primarily intended for 40 Gbps core router interconnection services, the 40 Gbps Transponder provides a full-band tunable network interface and an OC-768 client interface. Supporting four 10 Gbps client interfaces, the 4:1 Muxponder provides an efficient method for aggregating 10 Gbps traffic and quadrupling the capacity of existing 10 Gbps-based networks. The 40 Gbps Regenerator provides electrical signal regeneration for long spans, eliminating the cost and complexity involved with the use of back-to-back transponders.

All units support ITU G.709 Optical Transport Network (OTN) standards for mapping client signals, optical layer performance monitoring, alarm indication signals, and Enhanced Forward Error Correction (EFEC) for improved optical performance. A Fujitsu-patented VDC device is incorporated into each module, permitting 40 Gbps transmission over wavelengths originally designed to have a maximum speed of 10 Gbps. With this flexibility, network planners who face capacity shortages on existing networks can now effectively increase wavelength capacity fourfold and offer new 40 Gbps services without requiring changes to their existing 10 Gbps wavelengths and networks.

"As a leading researcher and systems developer in the photonics industry, Fujitsu continues to advance high-speed optical technology and innovation," said Bill Erickson, senior vice president of planning and development at Fujitsu Network Communications. "With the introduction of our second generation 40 Gbps units we're improving optical performance and reducing the physical size of the 40 Gbps units by 50% as compared to our first generation 40 Gbps cards previously announced in June 2007. Our sizeable investment in core optical R&D provides Fujitsu with a substantial advantage in the development of high speed photonics."

Boingo Wireless Sees WLAN Spike from iPhone Users

Boingo Wireless published some key data points and statistics from its public Wi-Fi network:

  • iPhones and iPod Touches represented almost 23% of all devices accessing Wi-Fi in all Boingo owned and operated networks in airports, ferries and convention centers during May 2009, second only to Windows XP and ahead of Windows Vista and Macintosh laptops.

  • iPhone unique visitors were up nearly 380% from May 2008 to May 2009, making it the fastest growing platform just ahead of the Nokia eSeries smartphones (372% growth).

  • The average number of minutes used by a Boingo iPhone or iPod Touch account is 292 per month; that figure is on the rise, up 28 percent since January 2009. Broken down into hours, people spend nearly five hours per month using Wi-Fi on their iPhone or iPod Touch.

Internet Innovation Alliance Comments of National Broadband Strategy

The Internet Innovation Alliance issued its recommendations for a national broadband plan. Key points from include:

  • "Focus on what we know while we learn what we need to know. We know roughly 10 million households lack any broadband options, and connecting them requires billions of dollars. By contrast, policy makers need greater qualitative information on why many Americans are choosing not to subscribe to broadband where it is available. The National Broadband Strategy should embrace new innovative programs, but not rush decisions that will benefit from the broadband mapping currently underway.

  • Tap local knowledge. States and localities have much to offer to the broadband discussion. Federal officials should work closely with Mayors, Governors and community leaders, seeking every opportunity to empower those on the ground who are closest to the challenges and most creative in customizing answers.

  • Enable Entrepreneurs and Plan for Major Innovations. Federal investments in broadband should never lock communities or the market into specific technologies or standards. While government planners should reflect previous experience, such as the benefits of connecting libraries and community technology centers, they should also enable game-changing technologies to transform the landscape.

  • Implement sustainable solutions. We must take care to avoid new entitlement programs, connecting communities and individuals with broadband offerings that they can never afford to maintain. Government investments that lack sustainable funding are not sound investments in our future. Similarly, federal regulations to direct one-time grants should complement, not imperil, the $60-$80 billion annually invested by private actors in the telecommunications marketplace."

Eutelsat's Tooway Satellite Raises Speeds to 3.6 Mbps

Eutelsat Communications will increase the speed of its Tooway consumer broadband satellite service to 3.6 Mbps from 2 Mbps for no added cost. Maximum uplink

speeds have also increased to 384 kbps for all customers. In addition, overnight usage volumes will be discounted by 50% between midnight and 6am GMT to reward use of the satellite network at times of traditional low usage.

The Tooway solution consists of a small satellite dish and a modem connected to the PC.

In 2010, Eutelsat plans to expand the service with additional broadband access up to 10 Mbps. These revolutionary broadband speeds will come from the launch of KA-SAT, the dedicated new satellite from Eutelsat specifically designed for broadband delivery in Europe. The satellite, which has the combined capacity of 40 traditional satellites, will enable Eutelsat to serve up to two million European homes at a similar speed, price and quality to terrestrial ADSL2 services.

TI Raises Q2 Financial Outlook

Texas Instruments raised and narrowed its expected ranges for revenue and earnings per share (EPS). The company now expects its financial results to fall within the following ranges:

  • Revenue: $2.30 - $2.50 billion, compared with the prior range of $1.95 - $2.40 billion

  • EPS: $0.14 - $0.22, compared with the prior range of $0.01 - $0.15.

GIPS Supplies HD Voice to Korea's KT Networks

Korea's KT Networks will be adding new VoIP HD voice capabilities to its Windows Mobile smartphone using technology from Global IP Solutions (GIPS). KT Networks (KTN) is a Network Integration specialist within the KT Group.

GIPS said its VoiceEngine can provide HD voice quality on mobile phones enabling clear, consistent conversation in addition to optimizing bandwidth on congested networks.

Verizon Submits Recommendations for National Broadband Plan

Verizon submitted a list of 10 suggestions to the FCC for a national broadband plan. Verizon urged the FCC to include the following 10 elements in its recommendations to Congress:

  • A focused effort to encourage broadband demand.

  • A consumer-choice framework.

  • Encouraging continued innovation to improve cybersecurity for consumers and the nation.

  • Pursuing a consumer-focused approach to privacy.

  • Facilitating wireless broadband.

  • Pursuing a pro-growth regulatory approach.

  • Reforming the universal service fund to encourage broadband.

  • Encouraging broadband by encouraging IP-based services.

  • Effective implementation of stimulus programs.

  • Encouraging broadband adoption and deployment through tax reform.

With new iPhone, AT&T Reaffirms Guidance, Confirms HSPA Support

In light of Apple's iPhone 3G S announcement, AT&T reaffirmed its financial guidance for 2009 that targets wireless service OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) margins in the low 40% range. AT&T's cost of customer acquisition for iPhone 3G S and the newly priced iPhone 3G are expected to be very similar to the costs associated with the original iPhone 3G.

AT&T plans to begin selling iPhone 3G S for $199 (16GB) and $299 (32GB) and iPhone 3G starting at $99 (8GB) to new and qualifying customers who sign up for a 2-year service commitment with voice and data plans.

AT&T also confirmed that the new iPhone 3G S will be compatible with High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 technology, which offers theoretical peak download speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps, though actual speeds will vary as these capabilities become available. AT&T plans to begin deploying HSPA 7.2 later this year, with completion expected in 2011. In addition, AT&T is early doubling the wireless spectrum dedicated to 3G in most metropolitan areas to deliver stronger in-building reception and more overall network capacity.

However, AT&T will not be among the first carriers to support the MMS and tethering capabilities of the new iPhone 3G S. A timeline for these capabilities on the AT&T network was not disclosed.

Idaho's Syringa Deploys ADVA's FSP 3000

Syringa Networks, the premier middle mile provider serving the state of Idaho, is upgrading its network with ADVA Optical Networking's FSP 3000 platform. This new installation significantly upgrades Syringa Networks' existing 4x2.5Gbps DWDM technology with 40x10Gbps capability, thereby increasing capacity by 40x throughout its 2000km regional fiber-optic network across southern Idaho.

ADVA noted that the deployment of Raman amplifiers has reduced the number of amplification sites necessary from 29 to 21. This generates savings in both real estate and energy. Additionally, these new efficiencies free existing network equipment to be redeployed elsewhere, if Syringa Networks so chooses.

Syringa Networks was created in September 2000 by 12 rural telephone companies with the goal of building an extensive fiber-optic broadband network across southern Idaho. ADVA Optical Networking has provided equipment and services to Syringa Networks since 2001.

Hackers Claim to Penetrate T-Mobile USA

A widely circulated posting by an anonymous hacker claims to have penetrated the servers of T-Mobile USA. The hacker boasts of having databases, confidential documents, financial statements and other programs. T-Mobile did not confirm the breach but said it was investigating.

Juniper Adds 100 Gigabit Ethernet Interface for T Series Routers

Juniper Networks introduced a100 Gigabit Ethernet (100 GE) router interface card for its T1600 Core Router. The 100 GE card, which is being demonstrated at Interop Tokyo, leverages technology originally developed to enable the 100-Gbps slots on the T1600 router. The network interface card will comply with the forthcoming 802.3ba specification (ratification is expected in 2010). Juniper expects beta versions of the product to be ready this year and for commercial shipments to begin in the first half of next year.

Juniper said it has seen considerable interest from wireless and wireline service providers to tying together major metro networks at native 100 Gbps rates. T-1600 routers equipped with the new 100 GE cards could be connected using new DWDM platforms with 100 Gbps wavelength capability from multiple vendors.

Compared to aggregated 10 Gbps or 40 Gbps, Juniper said the new 100 GE interfaces would deliver improved scalability and economics. In particular, bandwidth demand is being driven by the proliferation of 10 GE links, necessitating 100 GE in the core.

Juniper noted that over 500 of its T1600 Core Routers have been shipped to date to over 220 customers worldwide.

'Verizon is targeting 2010 for commercial deployment of 100G,' said Glenn Wellbrock, director of Optical Transport Network Architecture & Design, Verizon. 'The trials conducted in our network to date have focused on proving that our existing optical transmission systems are ready to support 100G. What has been missing so far is a true 100G client-side core router interface, so we are encouraged to see Juniper announcing 100 GE interfaces for its T1600 routers. Given the growth in our FiOS, wireless and IP services, 100G is critical for the core of the network to scale efficiently and simply. By adding 100 GE interfaces to the T1600, Juniper is providing the capability to leverage existing assets to scale the core with maximum operational efficiency.'

Google Submits Ideas for National Broadband Plan

In a filing with the FCC, Google outlined its idea for a National Broadband Plan. Google believes that all American households should have access, by 2012, to at least 5 Mbps upload and download speeds over broadband. The company submitted four proposals to help advance this vision:

  • Install broadband fiber as part of every federally-funded infrastructure project. Google argues that laying fiber -- or even simply installing the conduit for later fiber deployment -- during the construction or repair of roads and other public works projects will dramatically reduce deployment costs.

  • Deploy broadband fiber to every library, school, community health care center, and public housing facility in the United States to help alleviate the digital divide.

  • Create incentives for providers to install multiple lines of fiber as new networks are rolled out. The unused fibers could in turn be leased or sold to other network operators, increasing competition along with deployment.

  • Encourage greater wireless broadband and reduce barriers to deployment. Google believes the FCC should encourage use of unlicensed devices in "white spaces" spectrum by eliminating unnecessary requirements and easing interference standards in rural areas where no actual harmful interference would occur.

Infonetics: Strong Quarter for IMS, Steep Decline for Carrier VoIP

Most large Tier 1 service providers are coming to the end of major VoIP projects, and given current access line declines and fixed-to-wireless substitutions, most ILECs and PTTs have put PSTN migration plans on hold and will reassess after the economic storm has passed, according to a newly published report from Infonetics Research. However, worldwide sales of IMS (IP multimedia subsystem) equipment, including HSS (home subscriber servers), CSCF servers, and voice application servers, are forecast to jump 74% in 2009 over 2008. Infonetics' IMS Deployment Tracker shows Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Siemens, and Huawei leading the way with core IMS equipment.

"The service provider VoIP equipment market had a rough first quarter across all product segments and regions, declining 29% sequentially in worldwide revenue. The market pause for VoIP equipment is being exacerbated by the global economic downturn as service providers put VoIP equipment purchases on hold. We are beginning to see a noticeable shift in spending from stand-alone VoIP networks to IMS deployments. While the core IMS equipment segments, CSCF and HSS, are still small compared to the service provider VoIP market, deployments remain strong in EMEA and Asia Pacific. The core IMS equipment market had an impressive quarter with $63.7 million in revenue," said Diane Myers, Infonetics Research's directing analyst for service provider VoIP and IMS.

Intel Invests $43 Million in Japan's UQ for WiMAX Rollout

Intel Capital invested $43 million (JP ¥4.15 billion) in Japan-based UQ Communications, a provider of WiMAX mobile services.

UQ Communications will utilize the funding to continue the nationwide expansion of UQ WiMAX service in Japan, with the commitment to provide WiMAX coverage to 90 percent of the country by 2012. UQ Communications recently launched trial service of its UQ WiMAX in Tokyo's 23 wards, Yokohama and Kawasaki, and the Haneda Airport (Tokyo International Airport). UQ Communications will formally launch UQ WiMAX service on July 1.

"Intel Capital's investment in UQ Communications is one of our most significant commitments in developing the WiMAX ecosystem around the globe," said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital and Intel executive vice president. "UQ's WiMAX deployment in Japan is a spectacular example of technology innovation being put to work."

"UQ Communications values Intel Capital's investment to help expand our WiMAX service in Japan," said Takashi Tanaka, CEO of UQ Communications. "We look forward to further collaboration with Intel and Intel Capital."

One Minute Video: CyberSecurity

One Minute Video presented by Greg Oslan, Narus, Real-Time Traffic Intelligence