Wednesday, June 24, 2009

BT and Tata Communications Sign Global Voice Agreement

BT and Tata Communications announced a major voice services agreement that will allow two of the world's largest providers of voice and IP services to mutually benefit from shared resources as part of a global supply arrangement.

Through the five-year agreement, Tata Communications will become BT's primary supplier of International Direct Dial (IDD) and other voice termination services outside BT's own footprint countries and BT will become Tata Communication's main distribution channel for its IDD traffic into the UK, expanding into other markets across Europe as the relationship matures.

By providing each party with access to additional capacity and flexibility, the relationship will allow BT and Tata Communications to benefit from each others' strengths as they develop and grow their businesses in their respective markets.

Brian Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of BT Wholesale Markets, said: "Tata Communications is a leader in the international wholesale voice business, making them a perfect partner to help us achieve additional economies of scale to those of our own. We look forward to maximizing the opportunities this relationship presents to both organizations as we expand our portfolio of wholesale products and services and ultimately strive to become even more competitive with our pricing."

Michel Guyot, President of Global Voice Solutions, Tata Communications, said: "We are proud to become BT's primary supplier of international voice termination services. The agreement will increase both partners' competitiveness and will enhance our respective service offerings. We are also very excited to have BT as our main distribution channel in the UK as we are confident that BT's resources and strong knowledge of the European market will be of great benefit to Tata Communications."

3Com Marks its 30 Year Anniversary

This week, 3Com is celebrating 30 years since Ethernet-inventor Bob Metcalfe incorporated the company.

The company noted a number of achievements. Starting with the first commercial TCP/IP for UNIX, and then the introduction of the first "Thicknet" Ethernet Transceiver, the 3C100, 3Com's 30-year timeline is dotted with customer-driven technology innovations such as:

  • The world's first Ethernet adapter card for the PC

  • The world's first commercial network operating system, Etherseries

  • Commercialization of Ethernet bridging which later evolved into Ethernet switching

  • Use of Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) to lower the cost and complexity of networking

  • The Ethernet stackable hub and switch

  • The invention and commercialization of Power over Ethernet (PoE)

  • Creation of IRF (XRN) virtual chassis stacking technology

  • Commercialization of voice-over-IP

Mzima Picks Ciena's Carrier Ethernet Service Delivery Portfolio

Mzima Networks has selected Ciena's Carrier Ethernet Service Delivery (CESD) portfolio for its next-generation IP network. Mzima offers a unique combination of route-optimized transit and private peering for customers requiring the highest levels of performance and reliability. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Mzima will leverage one of Ciena's connection-oriented Ethernet technology options, specifically choosing a Provider Backbone Bridging--Traffic Engineering (PBB-TE) implementation. Ciena's CESD portfolio combines intelligent devices and software to deliver the full range of Ethernet services, simplifying the process associated with provisioning, service activation, and quality routing across Mzima's network.

For Mzima, Ciena said the implementation of PBB-TE combined with its Ethernet Services Manager (ESM) -- a carrier-grade, automated service activation, creation, and management platform -- enables significant acceleration and automation of service activation. Additionally, it minimizes the number of backbone device configurations while expanding Mzima's Operations, Administration and Maintenance (OAM) capabilities.

President Obama Nominates Meredith Baker for FCC Commissioner

President Barack Obama nominated Meredith Atwell Baker to be an FCC Commissioner, for the remainder of the term expiring June 30, 2011, that was previously held by Kevin J. Martin.

Meredith Attwell Baker most recently served as Acting Assistant Secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration from 2007 to January 2009. She was previously Vice President at the firm of Williams Mullen Strategies, where she focused on telecommunications, intellectual property, and international trade issues. Earlier, she held the position of Senior Counsel at Covad Communications from 2000 to 2002, and Director of Congressional Affairs at the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) from 1998 to 2000.

President Obama has also nominated Mignon L. Clyburn, of South Carolina, to be an FCC commissioner for the spot previously held by Deborah Taylor Tate.

Alcatel-Lucent: Consumers Spend on Broadband Even in Tight Economy

Broadband services appear to be nearly recession-proof, with 84 percent of consumers identifying broadband as an essential network service and therefore the least likely target for spending cuts, according to a series of recent studies sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent . The studies also showed that more consumers globally are planning to subscribe to and/or upgrade their broadband services, even while reducing spending in other areas.

Alcatel-Lucent said key factors driving this preference include a desire to reduce the cost and travel time associated with commuting, coupled with a preference for greener alternatives. In developed countries, respondents also noted a growing dependence on the Web as an information source, business tool, social network and entertainment venue.

"This clearly shows that people across the world rely on broadband services as a central part of their social and economic lives," said Tim Krause, Chief Marketing Officer for Alcatel-Lucent. "As the world looks at ways to address the twin challenges of economic growth and climate change, our research shows that broadband and the digital economy must absolutely be at the top of decision making agendas."

Tellabs Enhances its Optical Transport System

Tellabs introduced a new optical transport for its 7100 Optical Transport System, which is part of Tellabs Business Services and Wavelength Services solutions. The new optical transport network multiplexer module offers guaranteed quality video delivery.

The module makes timing and service transparent and offers protection options. It supports flexible service connections with any-rate interfaces for 100 Mbps to 2.7 Gbps and video signals such as SDI, HD-SDI and DVB-ASI.

The Tellabs 7100 system supports Carrier Ethernet, SONET/SDH and optical transport technologies over a dynamic, reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer (ROADM)-enabled network.

In addition, the Tellabs 7100 system is now Interoperability Certified by EMC, an industry-recognized interoperability vendor. It can support Storage Area Network (SAN) applications meeting the industry requirements for high-quality services performance delivery.

Julius Genachowski Confirmed by Senate for FCC Chairman

The U.S. Senate confirmed Julius Genachowski as the new chairman of the FCC. The FCC also confirmed Robert McDowell, a Republican, for a second term as FCC commissioner.

The previous FCC chairman, Kevin Martin, a Republican, stepped down following the inauguration of President Obama.

Genachowski, who served as technology advisor to the Obama campaign, holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School (1991), where he studied with Barack Obama. Genachowski is cofounder and Managing Director of LaunchBox Digital and Rock Creek Ventures, and a Special Advisor at General Atlantic. He was a senior executive for eight years at IAC/InterActiveCorp, where his positions included Chief of Business Operations and General Counsel. He has served on the Boards of Directors of Expedia,, Ticketmaster, Website Pros, and The Motley Fool.

In government, Genachowski served at the Federal Communications Commission as Chief Counsel to Chairman Reed Hundt, and earlier as Special Counsel to FCC General Counsel (later Chairman) William Kennard. He was a law clerk for United States Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter and, before that, for Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. (ret.).

Genachowski received a J.D in 1991 from Harvard Law School (magna cum laude), where he was co-Notes Editor of the Harvard Law Review, and a B.A. in 1985 from Columbia College (magna cum laude). Genachowski was raised in New York, and now resides in Washington DC.

FCC Approves CenturyTel and EMBARQ Merger

The FCC approved CenturyTel's pending acquisition of EMBARQ. The merger is expected to be finalized on July 1, 2009.

In its approval, the FCC concluded that the proposed transaction is unlikely to harm competition or potential competition in those local
markets where the two companies currently compete. The FCC also stated that it not concerned that the merger will have significant anticompetitive effects in the three local markets where CenturyTel currently competes with Embarq for enterprise customers.

To gain approval, the companies have made a number of voluntary commitments to the FCC, including a pledge to "integrate, and adopt for CenturyTel CLEC orders, the automated [OSS] of Embarq within fifteen months of the transaction's close," and in the interim, to "devote additional resources to its existing manual CLEC order processing system to ensure that all local number portability requests are
promptly processed." Applicants also commit to processing CenturyTel's wholesale LNP orders through Embarq's OSS.

Furthermore, CenturyTel and EMBARQ specifically committed to substantially increase the broadband service available to consumers in the areas they serve over the next three years. The companies pledged to offer retail broadband Internet access to 100 percent of the merged company's retail single-line residential and single-line business access lines within three years of the transaction closing date. To meet this commitment, the merged company has committed to make available retail broadband Internet access service with a download speed of 768 kbps to 90 percent of such lines within three years using wireline technologies.128 The merged company will make available retail broadband Internet access service in accordance with the Commission's current definition of broadband to the remaining 10 percent of lines using alternative technologies and operating arrangements, including but not limited to satellite and terrestrial wireless broadband technologies.

"We have committed to the FCC that we will remain focused on infrastructure development and broadband deployment after completion of the merger," said Tom Gerke, EMBARQ's chief executive officer. "Our combined company is committed to investing in our communities and providing our customers high-quality, reliable communications and expanded broadband services."

The FCC memorandum and order approving the merger can be found on the FCC website.

  • The new company formed by the merger of CenturyTel and EMBARQ will be known as CenturyLink. Full deployment of the brand is expected to occur in the months following closing. As markets are converted to the new brand, customers will receive advance notification and CenturyLink will begin to appear on building signage, company vehicles and marketing materials.

AT&T Releases iPhone Apps for U-verse TV Scheduling, Navigation

AT&T released an iPhone application that lets its U-verse TV customers schedule recordings on their DVR.
The U-verse TV Mobile Remote Access App for iPhone and iPod touch also lets customers search U-verse TV program listings from the full program guide, view descriptions of selected programs, schedule program or series recordings, manage or edit scheduled recordings, and delete stored DVR content.

The launch of the new U-verse TV Mobile Remote Access App follows several DVR enhancements that are currently being rolled out to U-verse TV customers, including an exclusive new Total Home DVR feature that allows customers to schedule and delete recordings from any U-verse receiver in the home -- all from a single DVR.

Earlier this week, AT&T also released a turn-by-turn GPS navigation app for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

AT&T Navigator features regular map updates, speech recognition, ETA updates, more than 10 million business listings, real-time traffic alerts, one-touch rerouting and daily gas prices. The service is priced at $9.99 a month.

Clearwire Acquires Licenses from Oneida

Clearwire has acquired certain wireless licenses previously held by Oneida Communications Group and its financial backer, the private equity firm of Catalyst Investors. Catalyst began acquiring wireless licenses through its ownership of Oneida in 2006 and sold the majority of Oneida's spectrum holdings to Sprint Nextel in 2008. With this final transaction, Catalyst said it achieved a 38 percent annualized return on its investment.

Oneida was funded by management, Catalyst and Northwood Ventures to capitalize on the advent of 4G broadband wireless technology by acquiring a footprint of wireless licenses in various markets in the United States. Harold Furchtgott-Roth, former FCC Commissioner and Catalyst Operating Partner, served as the Company's co-founder and Chairman of the Board.

One Minute Video: What's Next For Carrier Ethernet?

presented by Umesh Kukreja, Alcatel-Lucent