Thursday, November 25, 2004

Powell Warns SBC on VoIP Termination Charges

FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell issued a public statement warning SBC Communications against imposing traditional tariff access charges on VoIP providers or to discriminate against its VoIP competitors. The statement was issued in response to SBC's new interstate connectivity service, known as TIPToP.

TIPToP is a new SBC service that gives VOIP providers the capability to connect traffic to PSTN based voice services. Specifically, TIPToP provides switch port interfaces, which enable trunk groups, transport, SS7 Initial Setup (ISUP), and SS7 Transaction Capabilities Access Part (TCAP) queries for Local Number Portability (LNP) and Customer Name and Address (CNAM). The TIPToP port interface is a TDM trunk side switched circuit interface using SS7 signaling. The TIPToP port interface physically connects the SBC Access Tandem to the TIPToP customer's point of presence in the LATA which connects to the TIPToP customer's IP Gateway Device.

In a public statement, Powell wrote "SBC's tariff makes clear that TIPToP is not a mandatory offering and VoIP providers may continue to utilize alternatives to exchange their traffic. Should we conclude that this tariff is being used to justify the imposition of traditional tariffed access charges on VoIP providers or to discriminate against SBC's competitors, the Commission will take appropriate action including, but not limited to, initiating an investigation of SBC's interstate tariff and any other tariff that proposes similar terms. Nothing in this tariff should be interpreted to force a set of compensation relationships on VoIP providers and their connecting carriers either at this Commission or in other venues."http://www.fcc.gov

Nokia Hails ETSI Agreement on Mobile TV

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has selected DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcast - Handheld) as the standard in Europe for mobile TV services. DVB-H leverages traditional broadcasting standards to enable the simultaneous transmission of multiple television, radio and video channels to mobile handheld devices. To receive DVB-H transmissions, handsets require an additional integrated receiver.

Nokia welcomed the ETSI agreement and said it plans to bring a commercial mobile TV handset with integrated DVB-H to market globally in 2006.

"DVB-H is a groundbreaking technology that will facilitate the widespread adoption of mobile TV around the world. We are delighted that ETSI has adopted the DVB-H standard for Europe and started the trend for the global adoption of DVB-H," said Richard Sharp, Vice President, Rich Media, Nokia.

To overcome battery limitations and signal reception challenges, DVB-H uses a variety of techniques including time-slicing to reduce a device's average power consumption, cell identifiers to support quicker signal scan and frequency handover as well as methods to improve signal strength in the mobile environment. DVB-H technology is being piloted in the United States by Crown Castle and Nokia. The pilot has started in October in the Pittsburgh, PA, area and it aims to prove and test the feasibility of DVB-H technology and related service systems in the U.S.

Germany to Issue "032" Numbers for VoIP

Germany's Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Posts (RegTP) published allocation rules for national VoIP numbers. The national numbers will use the "032" prefix and are defined like local numbers, but -- similar to mobile numbers -- are not linked to a particular locality.

Telephone service providers can now apply to RegTP national numbers in blocks of 1,000. To give everyone a fair chance, all applications received by 10 January 2005 will be regarded as having been received at the same time. According to the plans, the first allocations will then be made in that same month.

The allocation rules can be seen on RegTP's website in German.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Telstra Appoints Senior VP of Global Accounts

Telstra appointed Andrew Morawski to the position of Senior Vice President of Sales and Global Accounts, where he will be responsible for global sales initiatives in the United States, Australia, India, Hong Kong, China, United Kingdom, Singapore and Japan. He currently manages the US-based sales initiatives of Telstra. Prior to assuming this position, Morawski was Vice President of Enterprise Sales with Telstra Incorporated in the US. Before joining Telstra, Mr. Morawski held the positions of Regional VP of Sales and Director of Sales Operations at Prism Communications Services, a subsidiary of Comdisco.

France Telecom and Intel to Develop Solutions for the Digital Home

France Telecom and Intel have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the joint development of new solutions for Digital Home. The two companies will work together on the evolution of Home Communication Services gateways and wireless home connectivity solutions driven by broadband connectivity.

The partnership includes the setting up of research and development teams; joint financing of R&D; a possible limited period of exclusivity, the sharing of intellectual property directly resulting from the strategic alliance. http://www.francetelecom.com
  • In recent months, France Telecom has announced several strategic partnerships with leading systems companies, including with Alcatel for the joint definition and implementation of a Next Generation Network Architecture (NGN/IMS) towards a converged fixed/Internet/mobile network.; with Ericsson, in order to jointly develop IP Multimedia Services for the consumer market; with Marconi's Wireless Business Unit focused in RF mobile technologies; with Motorola, for Seamless Mobility Solutions; with Nokia for rich media solutions on mobile terminals; and with Siemens, to jointly develop a New Generation Network Architecture for mobile/fixed networks.

Thomson Acquires EADS DCS' Video Over IP activity

Thomson has acquired EADS DCS' Video Over IP integration business. Based in Lyon, France, the EADS DCS team has expertise in the design, systems integration and management of IT infrastructure above the IP layer (system administration, messaging, portals and web services), with an emphasis on TV and Video On Demand (VOD) over xDSL solutions.

Thomson said the team adds systems capability to its IP integration service for its telecom and network customers. Thomson believes there is significant demand from its clients for expertise in these services, which currently comprises a broad range of telephony equipment, DSL (gateway) modems and IP set-top boxes.

Ireland Sets Goal of 100% DSL Coverage by 2007, High Growth Rate

eircom, the incumbent carrier in Ireland, achieved its year-end target of 100,000 broadband connections as of 17-November-2004. eircom's retail division has signed up 77,000 customers. eircom's wholesale division accounts for 23,000 connections. Two thirds of its broadband base today is residential with one-third business.

eircom also announced a new target of 500,000 DSL broadband connections by December 2007, which would position Ireland above the EU average for DSL broadband penetration. The company said Ireland has become one of the fastest growth markets for broadband in the EU due to its eircom's aggressive marketing and promotional campaign. eircom currently has in excess of 3,000 customers signing up for broadband each week.

eircom also announced today that it plans to achieve 90% Broadband coverage in Ireland by March 2006 and is calling on government to deliver the remaining 10% so that Ireland can have 100% Broadband availability by 2007. Coverage today stands at over 74% and is set to reach 80% by March 2005, ensuring that every town in Ireland with a population over 1,500 will be connected to broadband.

SingTel and KPN Offer Global MPLS VPNs

Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) and KPN announced an interconnection agreement for their respective IP-VPN MPLS services. The interconnection enables SingTel and KPN to leverage each other's extensive networks in their respective markets in Asia Pacific and Europe. Together, both companies offer coverage to more than one thousand PoPs that cover all major businesses in logistics, healthcare, manufacturing as well as financial centers of the world. The companies will align their marketing and sales efforts to enhance delivery of their networking solutions to their respective enterprise customers.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Alcatel Opens R&D Centre in Genoa, Italy

Alcatel is opening an R&D center in Genoa, Italy focused on broadband networks systems. Initially, in new facility will have 50 engineers and specialized technicians. who are going to be even doubled in the next three years.

SingNet Appoints New CEO

SingNet, the wholly-owned Internet subsidiary of Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), announced the appointment of Mr. Hui Weng Cheong as CEO, replacing Ms Ooi Lay Yong, who will focus on consumer sales and SingTel's retail business. He continues in his role as SingTel's Vice President (Consumer Products) and oversees the development of new services for mobile, Internet, broadband and telephone businesses.

Cegetel Launches Ethernet WAN Services with Alcatel

Cegetel, an alternative national fixed telecommunications operator in France, launched IXTRANS -- a new, high speed and secure data service for large and medium enterprises. IXTRANS is a secure data service based on PDH, SDH and Ethernet interfaces. Aimed at applications such as interconnection of local area networks, videoconferencing and storage networking, the service supports Ethernet connections at varied bandwidth ranging from 2 Mbps to 10 Gbps. IXTRANS is commercially available across France.

Cegetel is using Alcatel's Optical Multi-Service Node (OMSN) systems equipped with data functionality. The deployed systems are managed by the Alcatel 1350 management suite

Citrix Acquires Net6 for SSL VPN Appliances

Citrix agreed to acquire privately-held Net6, a developer of secure access gateways, for approximately $50 million in cash.

Net6, which is based in San Jose, California, offers an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Access Gateway and an Application Gateway with a Voice Office Suite. The Application Gateway delivers applications to users of IP telephones from leading IP PBX vendors including Avaya, Cisco, Mitel, NEC, Nortel Networks and Siemens. The Net6 Voice Office Application Suite enables enterprises to further leverage their IP telephony investment and increase workforce productivity by delivering converged applications to the screens and speakers of IP telephones.

Citrix said these products are complementary to its existing access infrastructure portfolio. http://www.citrix.com
  • Net6 has approximately 30 employees and more than 150 customers.

Level 3 Launches Channel Partner Program in Europe

Level 3 Communications has launched a channel partner program in Europe to encourage resellers to offer its VoIP and other services to their small and medium-size business customers. The program will debut in the UK and will expand into other European markets over the course of 2005.
Commencing early 2005, Level 3 will initially focus its partner-recruitment and sales efforts around (3)Tone Business, its hosted VoIP offering for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Zarlink Gains Compliance for Circuit Emulation Processors

Zarlink Semiconductor announced that its line of Circuit Emulation Services (CES)-over-Packet processors fully comply with the latest recommendations for TDM circuit transmission over MPLS and Metro Ethernet networks. The MPLS & Frame Relay Alliance (MFA) recently released implementation agreement MFA 8.0.0, which addresses the encapsulation formats and setup and teardown of connections for carrying TDM circuits across MPLS networks. The MFA's new agreement simplifies TDM transport over MPLS, allowing network operators to move towards a single, converged network delivering voice, video and data services.

The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) also ratified new technical specifications for carrier-class Ethernet. Specification MEF 8 defines the implementation for emulating PDH (Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy) circuits over Metro Ethernet networks, and outlines requirements for employing CES over Metro Ethernet networks as defined in the earlier MEF 3 technical specification. MEF 8, along with new specifications addressing test procedures and network management for Ethernet services, will guide the rollout of Metro Ethernet as a carrier-class service delivery technology.

Zarlink's three-device ZL50111 high-density and three-device ZL50120 low-density families of CES-over-Packet processors seamlessly "tunnel" from one to 32 streams of TDM voice, video and data traffic, with associated timing and signaling, across MPLS, Ethernet and IP networks. All six devices are in full production.

Polycom and Edgewater Team on Enterprise Video Firewalls

Edgewater Networks and Polycom are expanding their co-development and marketing partnership beyond VoIP solutions to those that now simplify the deployment and management of audio and video communication systems connecting across organizations and firewalls for enterprises and service providers. The two companies also announced the availability of open, H.323 standards-based solutions for Network Address Translation (NAT)/Firewall traversal for IP-based video communications, as well as solutions validated as interoperable with other proprietary firewalls and session border controllers popular in the market. The H.323-based Edgewater solutions are available for all Polycom systems. http://www.edgewaternetworks.com
  • Edgewater Networks offers a line of EdgeProtect session border controllers providing specialized security, NAT/Firewall traversal services and passive call quality monitoring for service providers; and a line of EdgeMarc VoIP CPE appliances.

Monday, November 22, 2004

MetaSwitch Appoints VP of Technology Strategy

MetaSwitch named Martin Taylor as Vice President of Technology Strategy. Previously, Taylor was CTO at CopperCom from shortly after its founding in early 1998 until late 2002. He was the chief architect of CopperCom's Voice over Broadband system and led the effort by the ATM Forum to create a standard for VoB interoperability. Following CopperCom's acquisition of DTI Networks, Taylor shaped the technology roadmap for the company's Class 4/5 softswitch product. Prior to CopperCom, Taylor was VP Network Architecture at Madge Networks.

WSJ: Telecom Giants Oppose Cities on Web Access

Verizon Communications lobbied the Pennsylvania General Assembly to include as part of a newly passed broadband bill a special provision that would ban cities from providing Wi-Fi services with the service territory of a local exchange carrier, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Pennsylvania bill is currently awaiting the approval or veto of the state's governor. If approved, the new law could be a blow to the City of Philadelphia, among others, that are planning or deploying widescale municipally-owned Wi-Fi networks. According to the article, Verizon argued that it is unfair and unwise for the government to compete with the private sector.

UK Regulator Publishes Spectrum Framework Review

Ofcom, the official telecom regulator in the U.K., published the Spectrum Framework Review - its strategy for securing the optimal use of the civilian radio spectrum. Spectrum has traditionally been centrally allocated and managed by the regulator. This has resulted in an inefficient system that has limited the innovation and development of higher-value services.

Ofcom's Spectrum Framework Review sets out four key recommendations:

1. Allow the market to decide the best use for new spectrum allocations.

2. Allow licence holders to trade spectrum in an open market and change the use they make of spectrum rights to develop new technologies and offer different services to customers (also known as liberalisation).

3. Clearly define the rights of spectrum users, giving them the confidence to plan for the future.

4. Increase the amount of licence-exempt spectrum which allows businesses to develop and bring to market new technologies and services without the need for a licence.

Ofcom gradually plans to apply this market-led approach to over 70% of the radio spectrum (currently 0%). However, Ofcom will continue to maintain control over spectrum licences where:

  • Signals cross international boundaries;

  • International mobility is critical, or

  • the UK has agreed to harmonise spectrum use in line with important multi-national accords.

Beginning next month, spectrum trading will begin in the UK with the following licence classes:

  • Analogue public-access mobile radio

  • National paging

  • Data networks

  • National and regional private business radio

  • Common base stations

  • Scanning telemetry

  • Fixed terrestrial links

  • Fixed wireless access.

Additional licence classes will become tradeable next year.

See also