Monday, February 16, 2015

Virgin Media UK Plans £3 billion Cable Network Expansion

Virgin Media (UK) unveiled  "Project Lightning" -- a plan to extend its fiber-rich cable network to approximately four million additional premises over the next five years. The expansion will increase's Virgin Media addressable market by almost a third; from around half of the country today to nearly 17 million premises by 2020.

Virgin Media, which is a subsidiary of Liberty Global plc, expects to invest an additional £3 billion in Project Lightning.  The project will be financed mainly through incremental borrowings.

Virgin Media offers broadband speeds of 152 Mbps.  It also features an advanced interactive television service, bringing together broadcast TV, thousands of hours of on demand programming and the best of the web in a single set-top box.

“Our next-generation fibre-rich networks reach 50 million households across Europe, enabling our customers to discover and experience the endless possibilities of the digital world. After a record operating performance, Project Lightning is a significant investment that demonstrates the confidence we have in Virgin Media and the UK as a place to do business,” stated Mike Fries, Liberty Global Chief Executive Officer.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I welcome this substantial investment from Virgin Media which is a vote of confidence in our long-term economic plan to support business and create jobs by building a superfast nation backed by world-class infrastructure. Together with this Government’s rollout of superfast broadband which has now reached more than two million UK homes and businesses, this additional private investment will create more opportunities for people and businesses, further boosting our digital economy and helping secure a brighter future for Britain.”

Liquid Telecom Raises $150M for African Fiber Network

Liquid Telecom, a telecom group operating long-haul fiber network in southern and eastern Africa, announced $150 million in new funding to expand its infrastructure. The new funding was structured by Standard Chartered.

Liquid Telecom, which is controlled by African telecoms company Econet Wireless, has already built 18,00 0km of fiber across 15 nations, including Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The network offers connectivity to the five main sub-sea cable systems – WACS, EASSy, SEACOM, SAT 3 and TEAMS.

AT&T Launches GigaPower across the Kansas City Area

AT&T launched its "GigaPower" all-fiber Internet network in in parts of Kansas City, Mo., parts of Leawood, Lenexa, Olathe, Overland Park, Kansas and in surrounding communities located throughout the metro area. The service boasts Internet access speeds of up to 1 Gbps.

Additionally, AT&T announced plans to expand the service to Independence, Mo. and Shawnee, Kansas.

“We’ve moved quickly to bring more competition to the Kansas City area for blazing-fast Internet speeds and best-in-class television service,” said John Sondag, president of AT&T Missouri. “But this is just our initial launch. We look forward to continuing to expand our AT&T GigaPower network in the Kansas City area where there are strong investment cases and receptive customers.”

With this announcement, the AT&T GigaPower network is now available across parts of the Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Kansas City, Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem markets. AT&T previously announced plans to deliver U-verse with AT&T GigaPower in parts of 11 additional markets – Atlanta; Charlotte and Greensboro, N.C.; Chicago; Cupertino, Calif.; Houston; Jacksonville, Fla.; Miami; Nashville, Tenn.; St. Louis and San Antonio.

Brocade Intros IP Storage Switch for EMC Connectrix

Expanding on its longstanding OEM relationship with EMC, Brocade announced an an IP storage switch EMC's Connectrix family of network switches.

The Connectrix VDX-6740B switch can be used to separate IP storage traffic from other data traffic, providing greater reliability and efficiency to legacy deployments where storage traffic and all other network traffic share the same network infrastructure. It provides connectivity for a broad array of EMC high-end and mid-range NAS and iSCSI storage platforms. It supports load-balanced, multi-pathing for optimal performance and efficiency, and features deep on-chip buffers.

"Legacy IP network designs were never intended for today's New IP applications, such as cloud, mobile, social and big data," said Jason Nolet, senior vice president, data center switching, routing and analytics products group, Brocade. "Through our extended partnership with EMC, customers can now realize the improved performance, resiliency and agility of a dedicated IP storage network for the growing mission critical nature of their IP storage-based applications."

Motorola Solutions Acquires Emergency CallWorks for NG9-1-1 Software

Motorola Solutions announced its acquisition of Emergency CallWorks, a privately-held developer of Next-Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) call-taking software for public safety. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Emergency CallWorks, which is based in Birmingham, Alabama, offers a helps police, fire and emergency medical teams better manage critical incidents by allowing more information to flow seamlessly from the public, through a 911 network and command center, to emergency personnel. The solution can be deployed either as an on-site implementation or as a remote hosted solution, making it scalable to even the smallest public safety agencies, which enables access to the latest technology at a predictable price point. Emergency CallWorks was founded in 2006.

“Smart public safety starts with accurately routing and addressing emergency calls from the community,” said Bob Schassler, executive vice president, Solutions and Services, Motorola Solutions. “Emergency CallWorks’ solution provides an advanced, next-generation version of 911 that will be capable of moving beyond voice-only calls by processing multimedia information into the call flow. Its browser-based workstation architecture eliminates proprietary 911 switching hardware, simplifies operations and provides cost-effective system implementation, allowing for remote monitoring, service and support, with continuous delivery of innovative new features.”

IBM and CenturyLink Open Innovation Center in Lousiana

As part of a 10-year agreement between IBM and CenturyLink, IBM will open and staff a new applications development innovation center in Monroe, Louisiana. The facility is expected to create 400 jobs for specialists in application development, application management and system integration.

The State of Louisiana will contribute $4.5 million in funding over 10 years to expand key higher education programs, including the computer science program at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, the cyber engineering program at Louisiana Tech, and the data analytics program at Grambling State University. In addition, the State will provide $12 million for construction of new office space for the use of IBM, which will become an anchor tenant of a privately developed mixed-use complex.

Huawei Appoints Three Non-Executive Directors to UK Board

Huawei has appointed Lord Browne of Madingley as independent non-executive chairman of its UK subsidiary. In addition, two other non-executive directors have been appointed to the board: Dame Helen Alexander, chairman of UBM plc and Sir Andrew Cahn, who served as chairman of Huawei UK’s Advisory Board from 2011 to 2014.

The independent non-executive directors will be responsible for reviewing the performance of Huawei in the UK, where 70 per cent of employees are recruited locally, and providing counsel to the UK Management Team, as well as the standard legal obligations of directors of a UK limited liability company.

  • Lord Browne of Madingley is known for his role as the chief executive of BP between 1995 and 2007. 

Qosmos Debuts Service Classifier Virtual Network Function (VNF)

Qosmos introduced an ETSI-compliant Virtual Network Function (VNF) or software appliance for use in physical, virtualized and in Software Defined Networking (SDN) architectures.

The Qosmos Classifier identifies and extracts traffic information in real time, identifying protocols, types of application, and extracting additional information in the form of metadata. The company said the VNF is especially well-suited to enable intelligent, dynamic service chaining for mobile Gi-LAN environments. Unlike multi-function, legacy traffic steering solutions (e.g. PCEF, TDF, switches, etc.) which allow only limited service chain combinations, the Qosmos Classifier is a dedicated software function with open SDN & NFV interfaces, which makes it easy to programmatically create any type of service combination.

Key technical capabilities:

  • IETF NSH/SCH tagging (upcoming standard), in addition to existing ToS/DSCP marking and vLAN tagging
  • Application and subscriber awareness
  • Application metadata to enrich traffic information in real time
  • OpenStack-compatible northbound interface for provisioning
  • Open interfaces with SDN & NFV environments (OpenFlow, SDN standards, IETF, SFC)
  • Carrier-grade high performance and availability
  • Support for legacy applications to ensure a smooth migration between existing and future architectures

Ericsson Intros 200W DC/DC Module for RF

Ericsson introduced a new 200W DC/DC converter module for radio-frequency power amplifier (RFPA) applications and supplying the voltage to power transistors that are used in new generation of integrated radio amplifiers that use semiconductor technologies such as Laterally Diffused Metal Oxide Semiconductor (LDMOS).

Ericsson said its new eighth-brick formant offers ultra-wide adjustable output voltage from 15 to 33V, which makes it possible to power a wide range of power transistors and also reducing voltages when the RF power amplifier has been into sleep mode, thereby decreasing power consumption. It delivers power up to 200W and an output current up to 6.67A.