Thursday, March 25, 2010

FCC Approves Transfer of SkyTerra to HCP

The FCC approved the transfer of control of SkyTerra to Harbinger Capital Partners. SkyTerra is building two new satellites for a next generation ancillary terrestrial network, which will offer ubiquitous mobile + satellite communications across North America for public safety, homeland security, aviation, transportation and entertainment. Dual-Mode handsets would work on both 700 MHz public safety terrestrial networks and on satellites when terrestrial networks are unavailable or inaccessible. The first of two SkyTerra next-generation satellites is planned for launch this year.

Harbinger said it plans to use SkyTerra's spectrum in concert with its other investments in radio frequencies to implement an open next generation terrestrial network and mobile satellite system. The new network could lead to increased competition in mobile broadband services, a goal supported by the FCC's newly released National Broadband Plan.

Philip Falcone, Chief Executive Officer of HCP said that, "The FCC's broadband policies have given us the confidence to make a series of investments that will bring new competition and innovation to all Americans. This announcement by the FCC sets the stage for the launch of our business plan whose objective is nothing less than to revolutionize how Americans use and experience wireless communications in the 21st century."

On a separate item, the FCC's International Bureau also granted SkyTerra's application for a modification of certain terms of its ancillary terrestrial component (ATC) authorization. This approval allows SkyTerra to implement its Cooperative Agreement with Inmarsat and deploy a robust terrestrial mobile broadband network, which will be integrated with SkyTerra's satellite network.

Nokia to Acquire Novarra for Mobile Browser and Services Platform

Nokia agreed to acquire 100% of the outstanding shares of Novarra, a privately-held company based in Chicago that offers a mobile browser and service platform. Novarra has more than 100 employees.

Nokia expects a new service offering utilizing the Novarra technology platform to be available later this year.

"Connecting the next billion consumers to the Internet will happen primarily on mobile devices," said Niklas Savander, Executive Vice President, Services, Nokia, "and delivering an optimized internet experience on our devices is core to our mission. By driving innovation in all segments of our portfolio, we are building one of the largest consumer audiences for web services and content. Novarra's Internet services technology delivered on the world's most widely-used mobile platform, Nokia's Series 40, will help us achieve this."

IEEE to Support Serial 40 Gbps Ethernet Over Single Mode Fiber

The IEEE has begun work on a new amendment to the 802.3 Ethernet standard to enhance the 40 Gbps Ethernet physical layer (PHY) capabilities already under development in the IEEE P802.3ba 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps Ethernet project.

The project, which is known as IEEE P802.3bg, aims to provide multiple system operators and telecommunications operators with an IEEE 802.3 Ethernet 40 Gbps serial PHY that provides optical compatibility with existing carrier 40 Gbps client interfaces. It is sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society's Local and Metropolitan Area Networks Committee and will be developed by the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group.

"This project is to build upon the current IEEE P802.3ba 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps Ethernet project to create a new PHY for 40 Gbps Ethernet operation that is optimized for carrier networks," says David Law, Chair of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group. "The ongoing liaison relationship between the IEEE 802.3 Working Group and ITU-T Study Group 15 will help to ensure interoperability between standards developed by the two organizations."

Cable & Wireless Splits into Two

Cable & Wireless Worldwide began trading as an independent company on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker CW. Cable&Wireless Worldwide provides managed voice, data and IP-based services and applications to large corporates, multinational companies, governments, carrier customers and resellers across the UK and around the globe. It operates an extensive fibre network across the UK, as well as a multiservice NGN with connectivity to 153 countries.

Cable & Wireless Communications also began trading as an independent company on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol CWC. Headquartered in London, Cable & Wireless Communications is composed of four operating units - the Caribbean, Panama, Macau and Monaco & Islands. It operates as a full-service telecommunications provider offering mobile, broadband, and domestic and international fixed line services, as well as enterprise and managed service solutions. As of September 2009, these operations (including subsidiaries and joint ventures) provided services to approximately 8.3 million mobile, 0.6 million broadband and 1.8 million fixed line customers.

The original Cable&Wireless traces its history to a number of British telegraph companies founded by Sir John Pender in the 1860s. In 1866, a Pender-led consortium laid the first submarine cable across the Atlantic Ocean. In subsequent years, submarine cables were laid from the United Kingdom throughout the British Empire. These operations were later merged with the Wireless Telegraph Company founded by Marconi in 1929 to form the Imperial and International Communications Company. During the Thatcher years, Cable&Wireless was one of the first privatizations.

AT&T to take $1 Billion Accounting Charge for Health Care

AT&T will take a non-cash charge of approximately $1 billion in the first quarter of 2010 to reflect the impact of the new health care legislation signed into law by President Obama. In an SEC filing, AT&T said the new legislation will result in an additional tax burden on the firm and therefore it is evaluating prospective changes to the active and retiree health care benefits offered by the company. AT&T currently has about 282,000 employees.