Tuesday, June 30, 2009

CenturyLink Begins Operations

CenturyTel and Embarq completed their merger. The combined company, which will be known as CenturyLink, serves more than 2.1 million broadband customers, more than 440,000 video subscribers and approximately 7.5 million access lines in 33 states, based on operating results as of March 31, 2009.

"The completion of this merger is a significant event for our customers, communities, investors and employees," said Glen F. Post III, president and chief executive officer. "CenturyLink has the advanced networks, the people and the financial stability to deliver the reliable and innovative services that our customers want and need. We look forward to this exciting new chapter in our company's history."

CenturyLink expects to generate annual full run-rate operating and capital synergies of approximately $400 million by 2011. Based on this synergy level and operating results of the two companies for the twelve months ended Dec. 31, 2008, CenturyTel would have had combined revenue of more than $8 billion, combined operating cash flow of over $4.2 billion and combined free cash flow of approximately $1.9 billion.

AT&T, BT and Tata Complete Mulit-carrier Cisco TelePresence Call

AT&T, BT, and Tata Communications completed the industry's first multipoint, intercompany Cisco TelePresence meeting across multiple carrier networks. AT&T, BT and Tata, together with Cisco, demonstrated the technical ability for a Cisco TelePresence user to call others on any carrier network with high levels of security and reliability.

The demonstration, which occurred at the Cisco Live 2009 event, connected the following sites on AT&T, BT, and Tata Communication's networks:

  • AT&T Telepresence Solution sites in Bedminster and Morristown, N.J., and Chicago, Ill.

  • A BT site in Colorado Springs, Colorado

  • A Cisco site at Cisco Live in San Francisco

  • Tata sites in Boston and London

Cisco noted that more than 350 organizations to date have selected Cisco TelePresence for more than 2,300 rooms. Cisco has also installed more than 500 Cisco TelePresence rooms on its own internal network.

"Inter-carrier connectivity is the next step in building out telepresence for improved collaboration for businesses throughout the world. With the AT&T Telepresence Solution we are providing companies today with the ability to interact with customers or other key businesses in a highly-secure environment. Looking to the future, AT&T is committed to working with other network service providers to bring this proof of concept to market as soon as possible," stated Bill Archer, chief marketing officer, AT&T Business Solutions.

MAGPI Deploys Ciena to Link Federal Research Labs

The Mid-Atlantic Gigapop for Internet2 (MAGPI), an Information Systems and Computing organization based at the University of Pennsylvania, has deployed Ciena's CN 4200 FlexSelect Advanced Services Platform. The network delivers high performance connectivity among multiple research labs located at Princeton University's Forrestal Campus and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Energy Sciences Network 4 (ESnet4), which operates over Internet2's nationwide infrastructure. ESnet4 provides the DOE with a dynamic and reliable communications infrastructure and leading-edge network services to foster greater scientific collaboration to support the agency's research projects and goals.

Ciena's CN 4200 is supporting new 10 GbE service, replacing the previous generation of 155 Mbps links. Ciena's CN 4200 enables high-performance optical transport with rapid provisioning, no packet loss and low, deterministic latency.

The State of Utah Connects with Qwest Ethernet

The State of Utah has chosen Qwest Communications to deliver a cost-saving, converged voice and data network.

Qwest has begun connecting 300 locations in Salt Lake City and along Utah's Wasatch Front using Qwest's Metro Optical Ethernet (QMOE) data networking platform. Thirty government sites have already been connected as part of the 3-year, $7.2 million agreement. Qwest's network delivers up to 1 Gbps per site.

AT&T Unveils Embedded 3G Netbook and Laptop

AT&T is now offering Acer, HP and Panasonic netbooks and laptops featuring embedded 3G wireless connectivity. The products are being


Alcatel-Lucent Releases Eco-Efficient DSLAM

Alcatel-Lucent introduced a high-capacity and eco-efficient digital subscriber line (DSL) platform that it calculates will consume up to 25% less power compared to conventional DSL solutions. The reduced power consumption is achieved using the latest generation of DSL line cards, the company's unique distributed DSLAM concept and Alcatel-Lucent's Smart DSL technology.

Alcatel-Lucent said its latest ISAM release is also the first commercially-available DSL platform for ETSI markets that delivers 50 Mbps to all users -- with peaks up to 100 Mbps -- using new, third generation VDSL line cards.

"Today, standards exist that allow modems to go in a low-power mode when user traffic is low. However, re-activating these modems causes power fluctuations -- resulting in crosstalk and destabilizing the network," said J├╝rgen Lison, Vice-President of Alcatel-Lucent's ISAM product unit. "Alcatel-Lucent's green DSL provides operators with a unique, end-to-end solution that overcomes these issues -- enabling a significant reduction of the modems' power consumption across a service provider's subscriber base without causing any line stability issues. This is a value proposition that cannot be provided by any other vendor in the industry today."

"Release-4 of the ISAM platform puts Alcatel-Lucent more than one year ahead of its competitors," said Dave Geary, President of Alcatel-Lucent's Wireline Networks activities. "The ISAM platform enables our customers to deliver the most bandwidth-intensive services over their copper architectures, by leveraging -- for instance - last-mile bonding support, which is a first in ETSI markets. We are confident that our ‘more bandwidth with less power' value proposition will again create a big stir in the DSL industry -- just as the launch of the ISAM platform five years ago."http://www.alcatel-lucent.com

NTT DOCOMO Selects Alcatel-Lucent for LTE Backhaul

NTT DOCOMO has selected Alcatel-Lucent' Ethernet transmission solution to provide the backhaul network of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) service. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Alcatel-Lucent said its packet optical gear will provide NTT DOCOMO with cost-effective and flexible Ethernet-based aggregation and transport from the base stations to the core network. Specifically, the Alcatel-Lucent solution, based on the 1850 Transport Service Switch (TSS) and its universal switching technology, will provide multipoint Ethernet connections between cell sites supported by strong operations, administration and maintenance capabilities, as well as carrier-class protection and network management.
  • In October 2008, NTT DoCoMo announced plans to roll-out LTE from 2010, as one of the first adopters in the world. NTT DoCoMo has demonstrated LTE downlink transmission rates of 250 Mbps in outdoor tests conducted by its R&D labs in Yokosuka, just south of Tokyo.

Alcatel-Lucent + Reliance Joint Venture Completes 1st Anniversary

Alcatel-Lucent Managed Services, the first of its kind managed network services joint venture company of Alcatel-Lucent and Reliance Communications, completed its first year of operations. The joint venture was launched in July 2008 to establish a cost-effective delivery hub for global services business.

The initial phase of the JV spanned through July to September 2008 wherein CDMA and GSM operations and maintenance of 5 circles (Maharashtra and Goa, Mumbai, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh) were successfully transitioned. In the second phase, on October 2008, Reliance Communications handed over the rest of India's operations. Alcatel-Lucent Managed Services now manages Reliance's pan India CDMA & GSM network covering approx 80 million subscribers and providing coverage to more than 2 million km2 of area. This makes Alcatel-Lucent the only vendor entrusted with the complete pan India, multi-vendor, multi-technology mobility network operations for a telecom service provider.

The 5-year agreement signed last year by Alcatel-Lucent and Reliance Communications is valued about USD 750 million. It is one of the largest multi-vendor managed services deal in the world and the first for multi-technology managed services in India (both CDMA and GSM).

USDA Makes Available $4 Billion for Broadband Stimulus Projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Obama administration announced the availability of $4 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act loans and grants to help bring broadband service to un-served and underserved communities across America.

The Recovery Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to accelerate broadband deployment in areas of the country that have been without the high-speed infrastructure. Of that funding, NTIA will utilize $4.7 billion to deploy broadband infrastructure in un-served and underserved areas in the United States, expand public computer center capacity and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. RUS will invest $2.5 billion to facilitate broadband deployment in rural communities.

NTIA and RUS will be accepting applications for loans, grants and loan/grant combinations to be awarded by each agency under a single application form. Applications will be accepted beginning July 14, 2009, through 5:00 p.m. EDT on August 14, 2009.

This is the first of three rounds of funding the Agriculture and Commerce Departments will provide.

Public workshops in July to share information about the funding availabilities and the application process. Forums will be held in Boston, Mass.; Charleston, W.Va.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Memphis, Tenn.; Lonoke, Ark.; Birmingham, Ala.; Billings, Mont.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Los Angeles, Calif.


CableLabs Publishes Interactive and Advanced Advertising Specs

CableLabs published new set of specifications to further the development of cable advertising and other interactive products.

CableLabs' Stewardship and Fulfillment Interfaces (or SaFI) comprise a set of component specifications that will allow cable companies to provide more innovative types of advanced ads, such as interactive advertising, advertising within existing video on demand platforms, and advanced forms of addressable advertising.

CableLabs said its new SaFI interfaces will allow multi-system operators (MSOs) to offer such ad products with consistent technologies, metrics and interfaces across a national footprint. Consistent metrics will and interfaces will help MSOs deliver timely and usable measurements to their advertising customers. The SaFI specs were developed and will be maintained by a CableLabs Working Group composed of MSO, Canoe and CableLabs technical leads, with selective input from the vendor community.

The SaFI specification includes the following component pieces:

1. Service Measurement Summary Interface (SMSI)--enables MSOs to export information about the execution of a campaign.

2. Interactive Fulfillment Summary Interface (IAF)--provides a means for messaging generated by an interactive application to be exposed to an external entity.

3. Interactive Application Messaging Platform (IAM)--provides a critical interface between interoperable applications (apps distributed to more than one MSO) and MSO systems, defining the common form of messages instantiated by interoperable apps and how MSO systems decode them.

4. Campaign Information Package Interface (CIP)--provides information to the MSOs on the configuration of application messaging processing, such as identifiers relevant to the messages.

Terrestar-1 -- World's Largest Commercial Satellite -- Enters Orbit

Terrestar-1, the largest and most powerful commercial satellite to date, was successfully launched into geostationary orbit aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from the spaceport in French Guiana.

TerreStar-1 will be located at an orbital position of 111 deg. West, offering integrated satellite and terrestrial mobile services across the United States and Canada using conventionally-sized dual mode handsets. The hybrid satellite/terrestrial architecture ensures mobile coverage in rural areas across the continent or in cases where the conventional terrestrial services become unavailable.

The satellite, which weighs a record 6,910 kg and was built at Space Systems/Loral's Palo Alto, California facility, operates in two 10-Mhz blocks of contiguous MSS spectrum in the 2 GHz band throughout the United States and Canada - with a spectrum footprint that covers a population of nearly 330 million. The satellite uniquely features an 18-meter deployable reflector and an S-band feed array with 500 spot beams.

TerreStar has worked with EB (Elektrobit) to develop an integrated satellite-terrestrial smartphone with quad-band GSM and tri-band WCDMA/HSPA capabilities.

In addition to seamless satellite/terrestrial voice handovers, the smartphone is capable of SMS, MMS, IM, Email, Push to Talk and Location Based Services (LBS). Notably, TerreStar will use an all-IP core network, with services based on IMS.

TerreStar is also working to integrate Qualcomm's EV-DO-based satellite communications technology into an Alcatel-Lucent base station. The satellite-adapted EV-DO base stations -- developed by Alcatel-Lucent -- will form key components of TerreStar's integrated satellite-terrestrial network.

"Today's launch is just the beginning of the TerreStar story," said TerreStar President, Jeff Epstein. "We believe there are tremendous opportunities ahead - in both the commercial and government sectors - and we remain focused on our promise to help solve the critical communications and business continuity challenges faced by government, emergency responders, enterprises and rural communities."