Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Comcast Extends Technical Support for all Connected Devices

Comcast launched a new 24x7 technical support and equipment protection program for consumers needing help with the growing number of home electronics devices – like laptops, home networking equipment, gaming consoles, Wi-Fi enabled smart phones and tablets – that are connecting to Comcast's services.

Comcast Xfinity Signature Support offers customers a single source for troubleshooting and support for their connected devices. Customers can select an enhanced level of technical support with monthly subscription plans and one-time support options. The service is offered in addition to the 24x7 support Comcast already provides for its video, high-speed Internet and phone services.

Cisco Prices $4 Billion of Senior Unsecured Notes

Cisco announced the pricing of three series of senior unsecured notes for an aggregate principal amount of $4 billion. The offering is expected to close on March 16, 2011.Of these notes, $2.0 billion will mature in March 2014 and will bear interest at an annual rate of 1.625%, $1.25 billion will mature in March 2014 and will bear interest at a floating rate equal to three-month LIBOR plus 25 basis points, and $750 million will mature in March 2017 and will bear interest at an annual rate of 3.150%.

Cisco intends to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes.

Nokia Siemens Networks Selected for Qinghai-Tibet Power Grid

Nokia Siemens Networks has been selected to supply optical transmission gear for the Qinghai-Tibet power grid, which is the largest construction project in the region. Nokia Siemens Networks will provide its Surpass hiT 7065 DWDM and Multi-Service Provisioning Platform (MSPP). The company will also supply its all-in-one Transmission Network Management System to optimize State Grid's network operations through centralized control and supervision. Services including installation, project management and system integration form an essential part of the overall scope of the project.

Clearwire's CEO Steps Down

Bill Morrow resigned as CEO and as a director of the board of Clearwire, citing personal reasons. He is being replaced on an interim basis by John Stanton, chairman of Clearwire's board of directors and former CEO of Western Wireless and VoiceStream Wireless. Stanton will continue to serve in his role as board chairman.

Clearwire also announced the following management changes. Erik Prusch, Clearwire's CFO, has been promoted to the newly created position of chief operating officer (COO). In this position, Prusch will be responsible for the company's day-to-day operations, including wholesale and retail sales, marketing, customer service, supply chain, human resources, IT and network operations. In addition, Hope Cochran, Clearwire's senior vice president and treasurer, has been promoted to the position of CFO. Cochran will be responsible for all of the company's financial and investor related functions, including overseeing Clearwire's ongoing fundraising efforts.

The company also announced that Mike Sievert, chief commercial officer, and Kevin Hart, CIO, are both leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.

In a statement, Clearwire said these changes in executive leadership are not expected to impact the company's progress on an agreement with Sprint to resolve wholesale pricing disputes. Clearwire believes that an agreement with Sprint is imminent.
  • Craig O. McCaw resigned as Clearwire's Chairman of the Board of Directors on December 31, 2010.

U.S. Congress: Proposed Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2011

A new "Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2011" has been introduced in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives and co-sponsored by over 140 Representatives and Senators.

The proposed bill provides for a 5-year moratorium on any new discriminatory wireless tax or fee. It does not take away any existing revenue from state or local governments, it simply caps the current taxes and fees.

"Wireless Tax Fairness Act, is about expanding access and innovation in our nation's wireless broadband market," noted Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who represents much of Santa Clara County, California. "By freezing wireless taxes and fees, we hope to spur additional consumer driven development in wireless broadband and to increase access to advanced wireless networks. This legislation is about stabilizing the wireless and giving consumers the opportunity to choose services based on the merits and not on the changing rate of taxation."

"In light of today's challenging economic conditions, it is hard to understand why the average wireless consumer is being charged more than 16 percent in taxes and fees when other taxable goods and services are only 7.4 percent. When you add the fact that policymakers are looking for ways to make affordable broadband accessible for all Americans, it's incomprehensible why 47 states and the District of Columbia charge their wireless consumers a rate that exceeds the general rates for other taxable goods and services," stated CTIA-The Wireless Association President and CEO Steve Largent.

Dell'Oro: PON Market Surges to Record, Driven by China

The PON market posted record revenues of almost $800 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group. The report shows that the continued upward trajectory of the market was driven largely by growing fiber deployments in China.

The top three GPON vendors in the fourth quarter were Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent, and Ericsson. While Chinese vendor, Huawei, remained the top PON supplier in its domestic market, non-Chinese vendors Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson also derived substantial portions of their fourth quarter GPON revenues from shipments to China. Alcatel-Lucent benefited from being a leading supplier for Verizon's FiOS, which also accounted for a significant 15 percent of total GPON revenues.

"We estimate that China accounted for more than half of total GPON revenues in the fourth quarter," said Tam Dell'Oro, President of Dell'Oro Group. "Chinese operators initially utilized EPON when fiber deployments began a couple of years ago, but have increasingly utilized GPON over the last several quarters. We now expect that GPON will become the leading PON technology in China within the next few years due to its higher bandwidth capabilities and functionality," Dell'Oro added.

HP Claims 50% Improvement in Energy Efficiency of Products since 2005

HP has reduced the energy consumption of its products by 50% compared to its offerings in 2005. This is nine months ahead of the aggressive energy-reduction goals made by the company in 2009.

HP also unveiled energy savings research and analysis showing that if all makes and models of printers, notebook and desktop PCs, displays and servers shipped in 2005 were recycled and replaced with new HP energy-efficient models, customers could save approximately $10.4 billion in energy costs, and avoid more than 40 million metric tons of CO2 emissions within a year.

FiberTower Loses a Key Wireless Backhaul Customer

FiberTower, which provides wireless backhaul service for U.S. mobile operators, reported Q4 2010 service revenue of $20.5 million, up 22% compared to $16.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2009. Average monthly revenue per deployed site net of ETL increased 15% to $2,049 in the 2010 fourth quarter from $1,789 in the 2009 fourth quarter. Deployed sites grew 5% to 3,276 at the end of the fourth quarter of 2010 from 3,117 at the end of the fourth quarter of 2009.

However, FiberTower recently announced that it received an early termination notice from a customer, which resulted in the February 28, 2011 disconnection of approximately 220 billing locations and reduced monthly billing revenue by approximately $256,000. The customer is now reviewing approximately 50 additional locations, which generate monthly billing revenue of approximately $88,000, for possible termination on March 31, 2011.

Kurt Van Wagenen, FiberTower's president and chief executive officer, stated, "We have taken immediate actions to reduce costs, including a 10% headcount reduction, to offset this financial impact without compromising continued consistent execution and excellent customer service. While we are not issuing 2011 financial guidance because of the uncertainty described above, we expect to remain Adjusted EBITDA positive in 2011 by continuing to add revenue and control costs. We are planning a $10 to $15 million capital program for 2011, focused on meeting existing customer commitments, supporting customer bandwidth growth, increasing density in existing markets and maintaining our network. The combination of our cash on hand, cost reductions and a more modest 2011 capital budget is designed to offer us sufficient liquidity this year."

NSN Carries 100 Gbps across 4000 km Submarine Cable

Nokia Siemens Networks announced the transmission of 100 Gbps line rate over a record 4,000 km span of undersea cable. The trial of the Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE) solution was performed over a submarine segment between Florida and Puerto Rico for a major submarine cable network. As part of the demonstration, Nokia Siemens Networks also achieved 40G DWDM transmission over a distance of 9,000 km.

Nokia Siemens Networks' SLTE solution based on its hiT 7300 platform increases the capacity of the already deployed undersea cable links by adding 40G and 100G DWDM channel and bandwidth management capabilities to support current and future network requirements. Nokia Siemens Networks' SLTE solution with new transmission capacities of 40G and 100G will be commercially available this year.

"Our global customers are faced with a continuous need to expand their installed network capacity to keep up with the tremendous increase in traffic requirements," said Pathmal Gunawardana, head of Transport Networks business unit, North America, Nokia Siemens Networks. "As we support them in terrestrial network expansions, it made perfect sense to do the same for their global networks as well, which often include submarine cable links. While terrestrial networks increase capacity, these submarine cable links often remain a bottleneck."