Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cisco Announces First Dividend in its History

For the first time since its IPO in 1990, Cisco will pay a quarterly cash dividend to its shareholders. A quarterly dividend of $0.06 per common share will be paid on April 20, 2011, to all shareholders of record as of the close of business on March 31, 2011. Future dividends will be subject to Board approval.

"As the role of the network expands across the IT sector, Cisco's leadership position in the markets we serve is strong, and the time is right for Cisco to pay our first-ever cash dividend," said Frank Calderoni, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Cisco. "This dividend complements our leading position, and is an important part of our commitment to bring value to shareholders."

Telstra Postpones July 1 Vote on NBN Partnership

Due to ongoing negotiations, Telstra will not be able to complete work necessary to bring the proposed A$11bn deal with the NBN Co. to a shareholder vote on July 1. The company cited statutory requirements for the delay and said it is now looking for a later date. Telstra characterized the ongoing negotiations as continuing "to progress well."
  • In February 2011, Telstra provided an update on negotiations with NBN Co. concerning the National Broadband Network. Key commercial terms of the deal have been now been finalized. NBN Co. would gain access to Telstra facilities and there would be a progressive migration of Telstra traffic onto the National Broadband Network. The deal is expected to deliver approximately $9 billion in post-tax net present value to Telstra.

    Telstra has provisionally agreed commercial terms relating to copper network decommissioning, dark fibre and duct usage, exchange usage, certain roll-out arrangements and other matters with NBN Co. The parties are working to complete the associated operational details and ensure all contingencies are addressed as part of the documentation process which is expected to be completed in the near future.

FCC Approves CenturyLink+Qwest Deal with Conditions

The FCC approved the pending merger of CenturyLink and Qwest Communications, with the following binding and enforceable conditions:

Broadband adoption program for low-income consumers
  • Launch major broadband adoption program focused on connecting the millions of
    low-income consumers in the combined company's 37-state territory.
  • Offer qualifying households broadband starting at less than $10 per month and a
    computer for less than $150, and keep the window open for five years for
    qualifying consumers to sign up.
  • Make a significant annual commitment to marketing, outreach, and digital literacy
    training, and include detailed reporting on outcomes and an independent analysis
    of the program's effectiveness.

Broadband deployment
  • Significantly increase the capacity of the Qwest network, bringing broadband
    with actual download speeds of at least 4 Megabits per second (Mbps) to at least 4
    million more homes and businesses, and at least 20,000 more anchor institutions,
    such as schools, libraries, and community centers.

  • Significantly increase availability of higher-speed broadband: The company will
    more than double the number of homes and businesses that can get 12 Mbps
    broadband, and more than triple the number that can get 40 Mbps broadband.

Advancing Universal Service Fund reform
  • Phase down three forms of support designed for smaller companies, which the
    company currently receives from the federal Universal Service Fund.

Protection against potential transaction-related harms
  • No increase in enterprise service prices for 7 years in a few dozen buildings where
    the companies currently compete (Minneapolis, Minn., and Olympia, Wash.).

  • Safeguards for smooth transition of operations support systems, to protect
    wholesale customers.

  • Ensuring the merger does not harm interconnection agreements with competing
    phone carriers.

  • Maintenance of wholesale service quality.

CenturyLink offers voice, video, and data services in 33 states, serving
approximately 7 million access lines and 2.2 million broadband customers in its region.
CenturyLink also operates as a competitive local exchange carrier in certain local and regional

Qwest operates as a local exchange carrier serving 10.3 million lines in a 14-state region; has 3 million broadband customers; and sells wireless, video, and extensive wholesale services through its subsidiaries. Under the deal, Qwest will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of CenturyLink.

The companies expect to close the merger and combine operations on April 1, 2011, subject to receipt of the remaining necessary regulatory approval. As previously announced, the combined company will use the name CenturyLink and its stock will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under CenturyLink's current symbol, CTL. Qwest shares outstanding at the end of the business day immediately prior to the close date will convert to CenturyLink shares on the close date at an exchange rate of 0.1664 share of CenturyLink for each share of Qwest.http://www.fcc.gov

Xilinx Ships First 28nm FPGA

Xilinx has begun sampling its Kintex-7 K325T Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), marking the industry's fastest product rollout of next generation programmable logic devices built with 28nm technology.

Xilinx said its Kintex-7 K325T device is the first FPGA in this class to deliver the highest number of channels per dollar at less than 12 watts of power for LTE wireless radio cards and next generation wireless base stations. Kintex-7 FPGAs provide the optimized price performance required for flat panel displays, ultrasound equipment and many other applications and includes high-bandwidth, low jitter serial transceivers to address price sensitive wired communication applications. The Kintex-7 K325T FPGA is the first of 28 devices that make up the 7 series FPGA that includes the Artix-7 and Virtex-7 FPGA families.

"In parallel with the development of the first 28nm FPGAs Xilinx refined the Xilinx ISE design tools to enable faster runtimes, enable designs that use up to 2 million logic cells, and shorten migration of AXI protocol-compliant IP initially developed in Virtex-6 and Spartan®-6 FPGAs to the 7 series from weeks to hours," said Bruce Kleinman, Corporate Vice President of Platform Marketing at Xilinx. "As a result of these efforts Xilinx has been able to bring up the first 7 series targeted design platform within hours with a fully operational design that demonstrates the key benefits of the 7 series devices."http:/

NETGEAR to Acquire Westell Technologies' CNS Business

NETGEAR will acquire the Customer Networking Solutions (CNS) division of Westell Technologies, which supplies broadband networking products to U.S. telecommunications service providers, for approximately $33.5 million in cash. The CNS family of products enable high-speed transport and networking of voice, data, video and other advanced services over existing copper and fiber.

NETGEAR is acquiring a select team of Westell employees, including the CNS sales and marketing team, most of its customer base, its core CNS product and test engineering teams, nineteen patents and pending patent applications, proprietary technologies, current products, and products in development. The business relating to the assets that NETGEAR is acquiring generated approximately $39.5 million in net revenue for Westell during the twelve month period ended December 31, 2010.

Westell will retain certain customer relationships as well as its HomeCloud product line.

"This transaction will position NETGEAR as a leader in the U.S. telecommunications service provider home network equipment market. The addition of the CNS customer base that we are acquiring will allow us to accelerate our service provider revenue growth and strengthen our market position among North America Telecommunications operators. We believe that following completion of integration of the CNS business into NETGEAR that the transaction will not have an adverse impact on our overall company operating margins," said Patrick Lo, Chairman and CEO of NETGEAR.