Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Optus Australia Tests LTE 2100 MHz, Acquires Licences

SingTel's Optus division has tested LTE operating in 2100 MHz spectrum using equipment from Nokia Siemens Networks.

The field testing, which occurred in Sydney, Australia, used pre-commercial LTE USB dongles over 10 MHz of spectrum. The test achieved peak download speeds of over 50 Mbps and upload speeds of 20 Mbps. The companies also noted that the LTE trials, conducted in metropolitan Sydney, showed significantly reduced network latency, improved connectivity and enhanced mobile streaming capabilities when compared to 3G. Lab tests reached speeds of up to 73Mbps over 10 MHz of spectrum.

The LTE trials were part of Optus ongoing commitment to Australian consumers and businesses to deliver a stable, reliable and robust mobile network service to improve the user experience.

Separately, Optus announced that it is the first mobile network operator to successfully acquire new regional spectrum licences in a combination of 10 MHz and 5 MHz of paired spectrum in the 2100MHz band at almost 1000 sites across regional Australia. This includes Bendigo in Victoria; Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Townsville in Queensland; Tamworth, Wagga Wagga and Port Macquarie in New South Wales.

The spectrum acquisition in regional areas complements Optus' recent acquisition from Qualcomm of an additional 10 MHz paired spectrum in the 2100 MHz band in all eight capital cities.

"The release of this regional spectrum, in advance of expected new spectrum allocations in the 700MHz and 2.5GHz bands in the coming years, will help us to continue to transform the playing field in the regional communications market. As well as strengthening Optus' position to challenge the incumbent by improving capacity and coverage in previously under-serviced areas," stated Andrew Buay, Managing Director, Optus Products and Delivery.
  • In the twelve months up to 31 March 2010, the number of Optus 3G services increased by almost 40 per cent from 2.58 million to 3.61 million, inclusive of Optus mobile broadband customers which increased more than 86 per cent to 907,000.

FCC to Consider Wireless Backhaul Barriers

At its next meeting on August 5th, the FCC will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking to remove regulatory barriers to the use of spectrum for wireless backhaul and other point-to-point and point-to-multipoint communications.

FCC to Invest $400 /million annually in Rural Healthcare Broadband

The FCC announced plans to invest up to $400 million annually to enable doctors, nurses, hospitals and
clinics to deliver health care to patients in rural areas using broadband facilities. The initiative is one of four programs in the Universal Service Fund administered by the FCC.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would bring affordable broadband connectivity to more than 2,000 rural hospitals and clinics. The FCC said it can do so without increasing the projected size of the overall universal service fund.

FCC Explores Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) Spectrum

The FCC kicked off a proceeding to help make 90 megahertz of prime spectrum available for mobile broadband deployment by considering the use Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) spectrum in three bands -- the 2 GHz band, Big LEO band, and Lband.

A new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) outlines two proposals that would remove regulatory barriers to terrestrial (i.e. land-based) use and promote additional investments in the MSS bands, while retaining sufficient market-wide MSS capability. First, it proposes to add co-primary fixed and mobile allocations to the 2 GHz band. This allocation modification sets the stage for more flexible uses of the band by terrestrial services. Second, it proposes to expand existing secondary market policies and rules to address transactions involving the use of MSS bands for terrestrial services. This would create greater predictability in bands licensed for terrestrial mobile broadband service.

Vodafone to Make its Location based Services Software Open Source

Vodafone Group announced plans to make its location based services software open source. The company said its aim is to offer other organisations the opportunity to use a code base which has been developed over the past decade so that they can build new and innovative navigation products which widen choice for consumers.

"Given our decision to stop developing turn by turn location based services as part of our core business, it seemed an obvious choice to make the code we own open source" said Pieter Knook, Director of Internet Services at Vodafone Group. "We look forward to seeing its continued use in all sorts of different applications in the future."

Australia's NBN Picks Contractors for First Sites

Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) awarded construction contracts for three of the five first release sites for its FTTH rollout. These are Silcar Pty Ltd, Armidale NSW; Transfield Services, Minnamurra/Kiama Downs, NSW and ETSA Utilities, the South Australian power distribution network operator in Willunga. In the fourth site, Ergon Energy will construct the passive optical fibre network in Townsville. For the fifth site, Brunswick in Victoria, NBN Co is in discussions with Telstra on the potential design and construction solutions that may be possible making use of the Telstra infrastructure.

NTT to Acquire Dimension Data for Enterprise Services

NTT agreed to acquire Dimension Data, an international provider of IT infrastructure services, for approximately £2.1 billion in cash, representing an 18% premium to the company's stock on the preceding day.

NTT Group is the largest provider of fixed and mobile voice-related services, internet protocol/packet communications services, sales of telecommunications equipment, system integration and other telecommunications related services in Japan and operates one of the largest telephone networks in the world.

Dimension Data is a recognized global leader in the provision and management of specialist IT infrastructure solutions. Dimension Data plans, builds, supports and manages IT infrastructure solutions for over 6,000 clients in 49 countries around the world. Dimension Data Shares are listed on the Official List of the London Stock Exchange and have a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange. The company has about 11,500 employees and has major operations in both the UK and South Africa.

NTT said the acquisition extends its strategy of pursuing international business opportunities and increasing revenue from value-added services for enterprise solutions on a global basis. By leveraging the complementary strengths of NTT and Dimension Data, NTT believes the enlarged group will be well-positioned to establish a leadership position as a comprehensive ICT services provider that offers significant value to its clients.

IBM Introduces Network IPS Appliance

IBM is introducing a new security network intrusion prevention system (IPS) that consolidates intrusion prevention with data and web application security into a single, optimized appliance. The hardware appliance comes preloaded and preconfigured with IBM security software and extends the capabilities of the IBM X-Force research team to deliver high-performance network security at lower costs.

IBM said its appliance allows clients to manage a variety of network security capabilities, such as automated Virtual Patch technology that can sense and block network threats, client-side application protection, data security, web application protection and application control.

"Effective threat and vulnerability management needs to focus on preventing problems, not responding to them," said Steve Robinson, general manager, IBM Security Solutions. "Through our new intrusion prevention system, IBM is helping organizations save valuable time and money by giving them a single view of security to better thwart potential threats before their networks can be compromised."

TIA Lobbies Against Changes to Current Broadband Regulatory Structure

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) is urging the FCC to maintain the current, long-standing regulatory status of broadband Internet access service. TIA believes that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's recent "Third Way" proposal to reclassify broadband under a new regulatory regime "would imperil American jobs as manufacturers face an uncertain regulatory climate, dampening investment in an industry that has been tapped by President Obama and Congress as a driver for economic recovery. U.S. global competitiveness would suffer, as would American consumers of broadband services and broadband-enabled technology."

TIA noted that the broadband marketplace has greatly benefited from the Commission's current (but longstanding) regulatory approach to broadband Internet service as an "information service."

"The regulatory certainty associated with Title I oversight has been a key driver in promoting a robust Internet ecosystem and in encouraging significant investment in the deployment of broadband infrastructure during the past decade," said Danielle Coffey, TIA Vice President for Government Affairs.
  • In May 2010, CC Chairman Julius Genachowski outlined a "Third Way" for regulating Internet traffic and services -- a new legal framework aimed at restoring the status quo consensus that existed prior to the court decision that vacated the FCC's authority to regulate the way Comcast manages peer-to-peer traffic on its network.

    Genachowski said he supports a light-touch regulatory approach that encourages investment in network infrastructure but that gives consumers "basic protection against anticompetitive or otherwise unreasonable conduct by companies providing the broadband access service (e.g., DSL, cable modem, or fiber) to which consumers subscribe for access to the Internet."

    However, the Comcast decision sharply reduces the FCC's ability to protect consumers and promote competition using its "ancillary" authority, and creates serious uncertainty about its basic oversight functions as well as its ability to pursue the broadband-related policies.

Globecomm Awarded $8.7 Million Ka-Band Infrastructure Contract

Globecomm Systems announced an infrastructure contract from a foreign government valued at $8.7 million.
Specifically, Globecomm will design and install multiple Ka band antennas and related subsystems for the unnamed country. The contract scope includes a turnkey RF electronics install for fixed and vehicle mounted Ka band
terminal systems, monitoring & control software which will control all subsystems and allow remote monitoring and
control from distant operational centers and life cycle support.