Tuesday, November 17, 2009

FCC Identifies National Broadband Challenges

The FCC published a list of gaps in the nation's policies, programs and practices that must be filled before America can take advantage of the technological advantages that universal adoption and deployment of affordable, robust broadband can bring. These gaps range across all elements of the broadband ecosystem, including networks, applications, devices, and end-user adoption.

Key gaps identified by the task force include:

Federal Universal Service Fund (USF) Structure: Doesn't support broadband deployment and adoption despite over $7 billion spent to subsidize telecommunications annually

1. The majority of USF funding supports affordable phone service, not broadband.

2. The four USF programs -- high-cost support for rural phone service, support for advanced services in schools and libraries, support for phone service to low-income
families, and rural health care support -- are not coordinated to maximize deployment opportunities to fill broadband gaps.

3. High-cost funding mechanism rewards inefficiency and funds is not determined by broadband needs.

4. An unsustainable funding mechanism and increased demands for support have doubled the amount paid by consumers since 2000.

5. Accountability is limited for use of high-cost fund for broadband support.

Broadband Adoption Gap: Increases the cost of digital exclusion to society

1. Broadband adoption levels vary widely across demographic groups.

2. Nearly 90 percent of families with incomes of $100,000 or more subscribe to broadband services, compared to 35 percent with incomes of $20,000 or less.

3. Rural households are less likely to subscribe than urban households.

4. Only 40 percent of Hispanic households subscribe, followed by 46 percent of African-American households, while 65 percent of white households subscribe.

Consumer Information Gap: Undermines competition, innovation, and choice

1. Consumers lack information about actual performance of their broadband service compared to the advertised speeds.

2. Consumers can't accurately compare performance of competing service.

3. Application providers lack knowledge of network performance, dampening innovation.

Spectrum Gap: Frustrates mobile broadband growth

1. Smartphone sales are expected to overtake standard mobile phones by 2011.

2. Smart phone subscriptions have increased by 690 percent since 1998, while over-the-air TV viewership decreased by 56 percent.

3. Identifying available spectrum, reallocating it, and assigning it is often a long, multiyear process.

4. Spectrum is also critical for public safety, telemedicine, smart grid, civic engagement applications.

Deployment Gap: High costs can limit broadband deployment

1. "Middle Mile" costs for transit and transport of Internet traffic can cost rural providers up to $150 per subscriber annually, almost three times as much as network operations, and can be a serious barrier to rural broadband.

2. The lack of efficient coordination when digging trenches for fiber and other expensive infrastructure costs dramatically increases the cost of deployment.

3. Other outside plant costs, including pole attachments, also drive deployment gap.

4. Deployment gaps for access to advanced, high-speed broadband occur in the small business market marketplace, in rural areas, and to consumers in many residential neighborhoods across the nation.

Television Set-Top Box Innovation Gap: Hinders convergence, utilization, and adoption

1. The convergence of video, TV and Internet Protocol-based technology is creating a new broadband medium that could drive adoption and utilization.

2. Lack of devices is a major barrier for adoption -- 99 percent of U.S. households have a TV versus 76 percent with PCs.

3. Retail navigation device and set--top-box market competition has not emerged, limiting innovation.

Personal Data Gap: Users need to control their own information

1. Personal data is increasingly digitized and moving to the Internet "cloud."

2. Users have little control over their personal information.

3. Ensuring privacy and security will enable a new generation of applications, and improve top national priorities that would benefit by secure but accessible personnel

The task force developed the list of challenges from data gathered in a series of nearly 40 workshops and field hearings, from over 10,000 comments on the National Broadband Plan
Notice of Inquiry and 15 public notices, and in the analysis of existing studies and data.

FCC Sets 90 to 150 Day Review Limit for Tower Applications

FCC has set new timeframes of 90 days for collocations and 150 days for all other tower siting applications reviewed by state and local governments.

The FCC said its action is aimed at speeding the deployment of next generation wireless networks while respecting the legitimate concerns of local authorities and preserving local control over zoning and land use policies.

Congress specifically requires that state and local authorities act "within a reasonable period of time" on requests for tower siting.

While most state and local jurisdictions currently process tower siting applications in a timely fashion, the FCC found that there are many instances of unnecessary delays. In order to
ensure a timely review of these applications and to prevent unnecessary delay, the FCC interprets a "reasonable period of time" as 90 days for collocations and 150 days for all other towers. If a jurisdiction "fails to act" on the application within this reasonable time period, applicants may file a claim for relief in court within 30 days of the failure to act. The court will then decide what action to take based on all the facts of the case.

Xangati Extends its Application Mgt System for Broadband Services

Xangati has extended its Application Management 2.0 solution with a new Broadband Subscriber Intelligence capability that enables service providers to track cumulative usage patterns of their subscribers.

Xangati Broadband Subscriber Intelligence can alert service providers to the percentage of bandwidth their subscribers are using; and, what applications they're running to consume that bandwidth. Information such as this provides service providers with the necessary intelligence to validate usage plans, revenue and cost estimates, and ensure the highest return possible from their extensive network investment.

Xangati noted that many service providers are currently contemplating bandwidth caps for their broadband services even though surveys have shown that the vast majority of consumers don't approve of this practice. Data mining the rich information found on a service provider's own network, with the Xangati solution, helps analyze whether usage-caps make sense for their unique subscriber base; and if so, how to most effectively tier that model.

Xangati said that data mining for one particular service provider showed 1% of their customer base consumes more than 40% of their upstream bandwith; and 20% consumes almost 100% of all bandwidth.

Xangati Broadband Subscriber Intelligence is available immediately as part of the Xangati solution.

Kineto Announces Combined VoLGA/IMS Client for Voice Over LTE

Kineto Wireless introduced a software client that supports both VoLGA (voice over LTE via Generic Access) and IMS voice for LTE handsets.

Expanding on Kineto's previously announced VoLGA Software Developer's Kit (SDK), the new client enables handset manufacturers to integrate a combined VoLGA/IMS voice client and accelerate LTE handsets to market. In addition, the client can be upgraded over the air through standard procedures to support new and evolving functionality, providing operators, as well as subscribers, a future-proof solution. Kineto's combined VoLGA/IMS voice client is compliant with the VoLGA Forum's release 1.0 specifications and is planned to support the recently announced "One Voice" IMS telephony profile.

Kineto said an important requirement for any LTE handset is concurrent support for both the interim VoLGA and longer-term IMS voice solutions. Operators around the world will adopt IMS voice on different timelines, so LTE handsets must support the interim approach along with IMS to provide an effective roaming solution. Kineto's combined client is the industry's first to provide this comprehensive solution.

"It is inevitable operators migrating to LTE will need to support more than one voice option," said Uwe Jan├čen, senior vice president of core networks at Deutsche Telekom. "While the long-term approach for LTE voice remains IMS, many operators will require an interim voice solution, and we see VoLGA being the best approach, by far. As both are based on the same radio mechanisms, there is a natural evolution from VoLGA to IMS, which is nicely demonstrated by the integrated client."http://www.kineto.com
  • Earlier this month, leading global telecom players announced a "One Voice" initiative to push for a standards-based solution for voice and SMS over LTE networks. The companies have jointly developed a technical profile for LTE voice and SMS services. This profile defines an optimal set of existing 3GPP-specified functionalities that all industry stakeholders, including network vendors, service providers and handset manufacturers, can use to offer compatible LTE voice solutions.

    Specifically, the technical profile document defines a minimum mandatory set of features a wireless device (the UE) and network are required to implement in order to guarantee an interoperable, high quality IMS-based telephony service over LTE radio access. 3GPP Release 8, which is the first release supporting LTE, is taken as a basis for the profile. An annex to the main profile has also been drafted to deal with scenarios where IMS voice service must coexist with the current circuit switched infrastructure.

Aztech Selects PMC-Sierra Solutions for GPON ONTs

Aztech, a broadband equipment manufacturer based in Singapore, has selected PMC-Sierra's solutions for its new GPON Optical Network Terminal (ONT) design. Aztech's GPON 200E4 - 4 Port Gigabit Bridge ONT is built around PMC-Sierra's PAS7401 SoC and targets residential and SOHO deployments.

PMC-Sierra's PAS7401 product line integrates a GPON MAC, a VoIP subsystem, an embedded controller and GigaPASS bridge performing advanced classification, queuing and filtering, with wire-speed throughput at all packet sizes. The reference designs come with complete GPON ONT software, featuring GPON functions, QoS bridging, VoIP, SIP and OMCI.

PMC-Sierra also provides a four-port GPON OLT SoC, the PAS5211, for Central Office equipment, and a GPON Gateway device, the MSP7162, for Customer Premises equipment.

Motorola Passes Key TD-LTE Functionality Trial

Motorola is the first company to successfully complete and pass the time-division duplex long-term evolution (TD-LTE) key functionalities test initiated by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). The testing measures high-bandwidth network capacity and a number of key TD-LTE features, demonstrating another milestone of collaborative industry efforts on TD-LTE commercialization. This significant advancement also reaffirms Motorola's commitment to deliver next-generation networks to meet the future needs of TDD spectrum operators in China and around the world.

Motorola said the trial demonstrated:

  • High performance in system equipment platforms such as reaching a peak throughput in excess of 100 Mbps

  • Key TD-LTE functionality, including hand-over, multi-antenna, quality of service (QoS), power control, etc.

  • Adoption of third-party user equipment (UE) test to guarantee standard compliance.

Motorola is now ready to begin multi-site/multi-UE testing through the TD-LTE field trials.
  • MIIT established a TD-LTE working group in June 2009 with China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, as well as other key industry partners including system manufacturers, chipset manufacturers and terminal equipment manufacturers, taking a leadership role to provide a stronger driving force for the TD-LTE industry chain.

  • Motorola hastwo R&D centers in China. Motorola's Wireless Broadband Access Solutions (WBAS) Hangzhou Center and Wideband Base Transceiver Systems (WBTS) China Center have been working with Chinese operators for many years and can provide valuable insights on local needs.

SingTel to Launch LTE Trials with Optus, Globe Telecom, Telkomsel

SingTel will conduct regional LTE trials in Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore in collaboration with Optus, Globe Telecom and Telkomsel. The trials, which are scheduled to commence in the first half of 2010, will take place over a period of six to nine months. The trials will lay the groundwork to establish a regionally compatible LTE network to facilitate growth in the mobile broadband business for the SingTel Group, which now serves a mobile-user base of more than 273 million across its various markets..

LTE base stations and core network equipment will be installed for detailed field tests that will evaluate the features and end-to-end performance of the technology. SingTel will conduct tests for a wide range of scenarios and conditions, including different frequency bands and urban environments.

Six leading network vendors have been invited to participate in the LTE trials: Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, NEC, Nokia Siemens Networks and ZTE.

For the trial, Alcatel-Lucent confirmed that it will provide an end-to-end solution including the radio access network (eUTRAN), the Evolved Packet Core (EPC), IP service routing network elements as well as operation, administration and maintenance (OAM) systems. Alcatel-Lucent will also provide professional services including project management, planning, installation & commissioning, integration and test plan execution.

Telstra Selects Amdocs for BigPond Mobile Portal

Amdocs was awarded a major deployment of its ChangingWorlds personalization technology to support Telstra's BigPond Mobile portal, which provides subscribers with news and information services through mobile devices. Amdocs ChangingWorlds enables easy access to relevant content based on users' specific interests. Customers can be alerted on their mobile device based on their individual preferences and usage.

Amdocs is also working with Telstra on a multi-phase change project to enhance Telstra's operational support systems (OSS) which includes service and resource management, consulting, and integration services.

Verizon Business Targets Network Security for Electric Utilities

Verizon Business unveiled a new suite of professional consulting services to address the cyber security threats faced by electric utilities. Specifically, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) has established critical infrastructure protection (CIP) standards for the nation's bulk energy system. Verizon is offering compliance and readiness assessments to help utilities meet the 2010 NERC CIP requirement to be Auditably Compliant (AC) - the highest level of compliance - subject to spot checks and audits.

"Smart grids require savvy professionals to protect these digital networks from cyber threats," said Rick Noel, vice president and managing director for Verizon Business' global energy and utility practice. "As the power industry employs more Internet protocol (IP)-based controls and machine-to-machine communications to monitor and control power generation, transmission and distribution, we can apply our security, IT and IP communications expertise to help accelerate the adoption of smart grids."

The new consulting services join Verizon Business' existing portfolio of managed security services and professional security services that help utilities identify and mitigate risks to critical cyber assets, including data, applications, IT systems and networks. Under Verizon's security management program (SMP), experts assess and analyze an organization's security practices and procedures.

AT&T and KORE Telematics Team on M2M Certification

AT&T and KORE Telematics will provide a streamlined network certification flow for inbound non-stocked M2M devices from device manufacturers wishing to receive product approval for the AT&T network. KORE is AT&T's largest Value Added Reseller of M2M network services. KORE has fine-tuned the process of Network Certification to include the streamlining of customer pre-qualification, creating a management base for integrators utilizing common module platforms and full understanding of AT&T's approval process.

"AT&T is driving wireless capabilities into a wide variety of devices beyond traditional handsets for businesses," said Chris Hill, vice president, mobility product management, AT&T Business Solutions. "Leveraging our global network, service delivery platforms, and expertise, we are enabling the deployment of M2M solutions that fit our customers' needs across a range of industries and accelerating time-to-revenue for our customers and partners. Working with KORE Telematics, we can bring even more non-stocked M2M devices onto the AT&T network in an efficient manner."

Infonetics: Mobile Backhaul Equipment Market Estimated at $5.9 billion

Mobile backhaul equipment investments jumped a healthy 59% in 2008 to $3.7 billion worldwide and is predicted to grow another 60% jump in 2009 to $5.9 billion, according to Infonetics' latest Mobile Backhaul Equipment and Services report, which also tracks mobile backhaul connections, installed cell sites, and service charges.

Infonetics expects more than 1.6 billion new mobile subscribers and about 700 thousand new mobile broadband subscribers between 2009 and 2013, which will require more base stations, more cell site connections, higher backhaul capacities, and equipment for each cell site connection. While Ericsson continues to lead the microwave mobile backhaul equipment market with about a quarter of worldwide revenue, there remains plenty of opportunity for smaller, more nimble players such as Harris-Stratex, Ceragon and DragonWave to drive innovation and eat into the market share of the larger players.

"We see no letup in the mobile backhaul equipment market, as service providers around the world continue to upgrade their networks to handle the rapidly growing number of mobile broadband subscribers and their bandwidth-heavy habits. More than 100 operators are now deploying HSPA, with a coming wave of HSPA+ upgrades, WiMAX, and LTE, all to handle the skyrocketing mobile data traffic. And the most cost-effective way to do that is to transition from TDM to packet IP/Ethernet, which is driving the mobile backhaul equipment market," explains Michael Howard, principal analyst for carrier and data center networks at Infonetics Research.

Octasic Teams with RADVISION on Mobile Video Gateway Solution

Octasic has added RADVISION's 3G-324M stacks to its recently enhanced Vocallo Media Gateway (MGW) solution for the fast-growing mobile video market.

The Vocallo MGW provides a complete video processing solution, controlled via a packet-based API without requiring any DSP programming. Each video stream can be configured independently to adapt content to the appropriate format for each mobile subscriber. In addition to supporting 3G-324M gateways, the enhanced Vocallo MGW can address many video market segments simultaneously, including video messaging adaptation and optimization, video mail servers, on-demand transcoding, mobile video conferencing, video surveillance, and Interactive Voice and Video Response (IVVR).

The inclusion of RADVISION's 3G-324M stacks allows Octasic to meet current needs for 3G handset users, and further increases the spectrum of mobile video services its Vocallo MGW solution supports.

Vocallo MGW supports transcoding of H.263, MPEG-4 and H.264 video codecs; provides an adaptive jitter buffer and coordination with audio streams, and a full set of wireless and wireline audio codecs.

"Enhancing our Vocallo MGW with RADVISION's stacks extends our reach in the mobile video gateway market to include today's 3G handsets," says James Awad, product manager at Octasic. "By relying on the industry expert for this protocol, our customers can rest assured that all interoperability testing has been completed, allowing them to focus on the development of video gateway solutions to address today's expanding 3G market."http://www.octasic.com/en/products/vocallo/video.phphttp://www.radvision.com

BT and Polycom Form UC Partnership

BT announced a 3-year partnership with Polycom focused on delivering unified conferencing solutions within enterprises and public sector organizations around the world.

Under the new global agreement, the companies will combine Polycom's voice and video communications and telepresence solutions with BT's managed services and global, high-speed MPLS network. The solutions will include jointly developed innovations that enable business-to-business collaboration for multinational companies, large organizations, and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The companies have already collaborated on software that brings BT's Bridge Connect services to the scalable Polycom RMX conference infrastructure. This joint development on the Polycom RMX also allows BT to deliver VNOC services and intercompany B2B services, through BT's Global Video Exchange, in support of Polycom immersive telepresence solutions. Additionally, Polycom RMX has been chosen by BT in the company's initiative to upgrade existing video bridging infrastructure.