Thursday, May 20, 2010

FCC Opens 25 MHz OF Spectrum for Mobile Broadband

The FCC adopted rules that will make available 25 megahertz of spectrum for mobile broadband service in much of the United States.

Specifically, the newly adopted Order amends the Wireless Communications Service (WCS) rules to immediately make 25 megahertz of spectrum available for mobile broadband services. The existing WCS rules constrain operations to fixed services, but the Commission found today that those rules can be revised to allow mobile broadband services without risking harmful interference to neighboring operations.

The FCC also adopted enhanced build-out requirements for WCS licensees, to ensure that the promise of mobile broadband is realized. These requirements are designed to spur investment that will promote the deployment of innovative mobile broadband services across the country.

Together, the Orders establish a regulatory framework for the co-existence of WCS and SDARS licensees in the 2.3 GHz frequency band in the following manner:

  • Mobile and portable broadband devices: Mobile and portable station power levels are permitted up to 250 mW average equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) per 5 megahertz in WCS Blocks A and B and in the portions of WCS Blocks C and D that are separated by 2.5 megahertz from the SDARS band edges; duty cycle limitations and automatic transmit power control (ATPC) will apply; out of-band emissions (OOBE) requirements on WCS mobile and portable devices are also relaxed.

  • WCS base and fixed stations: Base and fixed stations in WCS Blocks A and B are permitted to operate with up to 2 kW average EIRP per 5 megahertz but stations in the C and D blocks remain limited to the 2 kW peak EIRP level currently specified in the Rules; WCS base and fixed stations' OOBE are also relaxed; a notification process with SDARS and coordination process with aeronautical mobile telemetry (AMT) users are also established.

  • Performance requirements for WCS licensees: For mobile and point-to-multipoint services, WCS licensees must serve 40 percent of a license area's population within 42 months, and 75 percent within 72 months. For fixed point-to-point services, WCS licensees must construct and operate 15 point-to-point links per million persons in a license area within 42 months, and 30 links within 72 months, together with a minimum payload capacity to ensure that the spectrum is used intensively. Licensees will not be required to satisfy submarket construction requirements.

  • WCS Coordination with Flight Testing Service. In those license areas where WCS licensees must coordinate with aeronautical mobile telemetry receive sites to serve a significant percentage of a market's total population, alternative requirements apply for mobile and point-to-multipoint services. Specifically, affected licensees must serve 25 (rather than 40) percent of the population within 42 months, and 50 (rather than 75) percent within 72 months.

  • SDARS terrestrial repeaters: Permanent rules are established for the operation of SDARS terrestrial repeaters. Repeaters operating up to 12 kW average EIRP will be authorized under a blanket licensing regime. The Commission also denies petitions for reconsideration of the 1997 SDARS Order filed by the Consumer Electronics Manufacturing Association (CEMA) and the Cellular Phone Taskforce.

The National Broadband Plan recommends that the Commission make 500 megahertz of spectrum available for broadband use in the next 10 years, including 300 megahertz for broadband use in the next five years.

FCC Approves Verizon-Frontier Deal

The FCC approved the transfer of 4.8 million lines in primarily rural and smaller-city areas to Frontier Communications from Verizon Communications.

The FCC believes the transaction will help advance the goals of the National Broadband Plan by bringing broadband to millions of consumers, small businesses, and anchor institutions in 14 states across the West, Midwest, and South.

To gain the approval, Frontier has committed to deploy broadband with actual speeds of at least 3 Mbps downstream to at least 85 percent of transferred lines by the end of 2013, and actual speeds of at least 4 Mbps downstream to at least 85 percent of the transferred lines by the end of 2015, with all new broadband deployment offering actual
speeds of at least 1 Mbps upstream.

In addition Frontier will launch an anchor institution initiative to deploy fiber to libraries, hospitals, and government buildings, particularly in unserved and underserved communities.

Fujitsu and University of Tokyo Develop 25 Gbps Quantum Dot Laser

Fujitsu Laboratories and the University of Tokyo have developed the first quantum dot laser capable of 25 Gbps transmission. Researchers believe the technology can be scaled to 100 Gbps and above.

Quantum dot lasers are semiconductor lasers which employ quantum dots - nanometer-sized semiconductor particles as an active material for lasing. The researchers cite several advantages over other types of semiconductor lasers, such as being less sensitive to temperature fluctuations, while offering tremendous advances over previous semiconductor lasers in terms of lower power consumption, greater transmission distances, and faster speeds.

Quantum well lasers, which have conventionally been used as optical sources for data communications, have a problem of dramatic increases in power consumption attributable to increased driving current when temperatures rise. The quantum dot laser developed by Fujitsu Laboratories and the University of Tokyo uses 3-dimensional (3D) semiconductor nanostructures to produce quantum effects, thus giving it excellent characteristics, including stable operation over a range of temperatures and low power consumption. However, the quantum dot laser had been limited to handling data transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps.

In order to increase the speed of quantum dot lasers, it was necessary to increase the laser's optical gain, which in turn required an increase in the number of underlying quantum dots. New quantum dot fabrication technology was developed and applied. Layers of quantum dots with a higher density than conventionally employed were then stacked, thereby doubling the laser's operation speed and enabling a significant improvement over previous technologies. The result was a quantum dot laser capable of high-speed operations at 25 Gbps.

Fujitsu and Fujitsu Laboratories have developed this technology in an industrial-academic collaboration with Professor Yasuhiko Arakawa's laboratory of the University of Tokyo. Part of this research belongs to a project contracted to the Photonics Electronics Technology Research Association (PETRA) by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), while part of the research was carried out under Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology.

Northrop Grumman Wins DIA SITE Contract

Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under the Solutions for the Information Technology Enterprise (SITE) contract vehicle. The company will provide worldwide IT coverage and technical support services to the government, including system design, development, fielding, and sustainment of global intelligence and command and control assets vital to national security.

Northrop Grumman was one of six large business prime contractors selected for SITE, an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract structure with a ceiling of $6.6 billion, collectively, over five years.

Analog Devices Introduces New Timing Chips for Wireless Basestations

Analog Devices introduced two clock products that, when designed in as part of a complete timing signal chain, improve performance and reduce programming and design complexity in synchronous optical networks and wireless base stations.

The AD9553 clock generator is recommended for low-cost clock translation needs in GPON, SONET/SDH OC-48 (synchronous optical networking/synchronous digital hierarchy), test and measurement, data acquisition, Ethernet, Fibre Channel, T1/E1, broadcast video and other wireless and wired communications applications.

The ADCLK944 is designed to improve SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) performance from data converters in wireless base stations as well as provide low-power, low-jitter performance for SONET/SDH optical networks. More designers turn to ADI than any other supplier for the high-performance data converters and clocking technology required to bridge the analog and digital worlds in today's electronic systems.

Sparkplug Expands Wireless Network in Phoenix

Sparkplug Communications will be expanding its wireless broadband presence in Arizona through the acquisition of certain business assets from MetroBridge Networks, a Vancouver, B.C.-based public company.

Specifically, Sparkplug will acquire MetroBridge's assets operating in Phoenix, Ariz., including all customer contracts, network infrastructure and related assets. The deal increases Sparkplug's Points of Presence (PoPs) in the Valley by 33 percent and bolster its customer base by 13%. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Marvell Posts Quarterly Revenue of $856 Million, Up 2% Sequentially

Marvell Technology Group reported net revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2011 (ended 01-May-2010) of $856 million, a 64 percent increase from $521 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2010, ended May 2, 2009, and a 2 percent sequential increase from $843 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, ended January 30, 2010.

GAAP net income was $206 million, or $0.30 per share (diluted), for the first quarter of fiscal 2011, compared with a GAAP net loss of $111 million, or $0.18 per share (diluted), for the first quarter of fiscal 2010. GAAP net income in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 was $205 million, or $0.31 per share (diluted).

"The results for our first quarter are another clear demonstration that the business goals we put in place over the last year are delivering positive benefits," said Dr. Sehat Sutardja, Marvell's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Sales due to new customer programs and of new products, especially our mobile and wireless products were a significant driver of growth in the most recent quarter. We continue to believe the product development efficiency of our global workforce will enable us to deliver new products in a timely manner that will enable Marvell to grow in excess of the overall semiconductor industry."htp://

STMicroelectronics Shrinks Next-Gen Bluetooth

STMicroelectronics introduced a new design to connect an antenna to a Bluetooth transceiver using a single chip. Two new integrated balun devices can be used to convert the antenna signal to a balanced pair of signals as required by the Bluetooth transceiver. The company said the new devices occupy up to 70% less printed-circuit-board area, simplify design and assembly, and ensure better balanced signal channels with low losses, thereby improving wireless performance.

Harris to Acquire CapRock Communications for $525 Million

Harris Corporation agreed to acquire CapRock Communications, a global provider of mission-critical managed satellite communications solutions for the energy, government and maritime industries, for $525 million in cash, subject to post-closing adjustments. CapRock's audited financial statements for calendar year 2009 included revenue of $359 million; earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $54 million; and operating income of $28 million.

CapRock provides managed communication services including broadband Internet access, VoIP, networking and real-time video delivered to harsh and remote locations around the world. CapRock managed network solutions include multiband, portable and fixed satellite communications services supported by its teleports and network operations centers around the globe. CapRock designs, implements and operates these sophisticated, end-to-end managed network solutions under long-term contracts.

"Acquiring CapRock expands our international presence and customer base, while increasing the breadth of our assured communications offerings. We see increasing demand for outsourced managed communications services that include secure high-availability networks, creating growth opportunities across a variety of markets," said Howard L. Lance, chairman, president and CEO of Harris.

CapRock supports a wide range of customers in the energy, maritime and government industries, including Chevron, Diamond Offshore, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, MODEC, Shell, Transocean, KBR, Green Reefers, Gulf Offshore, Seatrans, Oceaneering, Subsea 7, the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and other federal civilian agencies. The companies has its headquarters in Houston, Texas.

Verizon Expands Fleet of Alternative-Energy Vehicles

Verizon unveiled five hybrid aerial-lift trucks, the first of 160 alternative-energy vehicles that the company will add to its fleet in New York this year.

The five vehicles, also known as bucket trucks, have batteries that help power the engine and also provide the sole power for the mechanical boom that raises a four-sided platform, or "bucket," to enable a technician to work on overhead telephone lines or other equipment. In the traditional versions of Verizon's bucket trucks, the mechanical booms are powered by the trucks' gasoline or diesel engines.

Heavy-duty chargers that plug into an electrical outlet are used to recharge the hybrid trucks' batteries. The batteries will be recharged at night, when power demand from the nation's grid -- generally the cleanest and most efficiently produced energy -- is low.

Verizon noted that it is rolling out more than 1,100 alternative energy vehicles across the country this year, and increasing use of biodiesel and flex-fuel (E85) to power 470 vehicles. The company will operate approximately 250 alternative energy vehicles in New York by the end of 2010.