Monday, January 31, 2005

Skype Reaches 23 Million Downloads, Adds Mac Version

Skype announced that it now has more than 23 million registered users and is adding more than 130,000 new users per day. The company also released software versions for Mac OS X and Linux.

Alcatel Supplies DSL in Oman, Yemen

Omantel, the incumbent operator in the Sultanate of Oman, has deployed the Alcatel 7300 Advanced Services Access Manager throughout the country to offer advanced broadband services to their residential users and enterprise customers. Commercial services were launched at the beginning of November 2004.

Separately, Alcatel has been selected by Yemen Telecom to supply equipment for a DSL network. The first phase of the agreement covers the installation of 3,000 DSL lines, which will be put into commercial operation this month.

Hong Kong Broadband Net Offers 100 Mbps Residential Ethernet

Hong Kong Broadband Network Limited (HKBN) has launched a 100 Mbps residential broadband service based on Cisco Systems' Metro Ethernet, IP and optical network solutions. HKBN is installing more than 10,000 Cisco LAN switches and more than 800 Cisco routers in buildings throughout Hong Kong. Category 5e copper cables are wired from the LAN switch cabinet to the apartments of each target customer. Fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) was deployed between the buildings using the Cisco ONS 15454 Multiservice Transport Platform (MSTP) and Cisco Catalyst 4507R Switches. The companies said HKBN's optical backbone is architected to support up to 64,000 Gbps.

Currently, HKBN has established an end-to-end, fully vertical and horizontal broadband coverage to 3,100 residential and 600 commercial buildings, passing a total of 1.2 million homes. It plans to expand to 1.8 million homes passed, which is more than 80% of total homes in Hong Kong, and to 1,500 commercial buildings. At least 90% of HKBN's total homes pass is expected to be serviced by self-owned fiber by mid-2005.

HKBN its also planning to launch a 1 Gbps residential broadband service as early as June 2005.

Meru Wins GSA Contract for WLAN and VoWLAN

Meru Networks was awarded Federal Supply Schedule contract approval by the General Services Administration, enabling U.S. federal agencies, the Department of Defense, and state and local government agencies to purchase Meru voice and data products for Wi-Fi (802.11) wireless LAN applications. The company expects government agencies will benefit from converged voice and data WLANs.

U.S. Marine Corps Selects's Promina, SHOUT Platforms

The U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command has selected's Promina multiservice access and SHOUT900 IP telephony platforms for domestic and overseas deployment in the Joint Enhanced Core Communications System (JECCS). The initial order for 11 JECCS units is valued at approximately $3 million.

JECCS, a Humvee-mounted multifunctional communications system, enables deployed forces to establish mobile network connectivity between land and sea operations. The system leverages the Promina platform to provide both secure and non-secure voice and data telecommunications services, local area network and network management services, messaging services and satellite capabilities for Marine Expeditionary Units in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Camp Pendleton, California and Okinawa, Japan.

Verizon Launches iobi to Small Businesses in NYC, New England

Verizon launched iobi Professional for small businesses in New York and New England. The IP-based service provides individuals with call-management, voice mail, e-mail and other communications services using their PCs, the Web or a voice portal. Additional features include dynamic call log, address book, calendar, text messaging, e-mail messaging, instant SuperPages and personal directory number lookup, an always-on weather display, and access to calling-party maps.

Iobi Professional operates over a variety of Verizon wireline services including basic business lines, Centrex, ISDN, FTTP and others. The service is priced at $11.95 per month.
  • In September 2004, Verizon announced the market launch of "iobi Home" (pronounced eye-OH'-bee), a new control panel service that lets residential customers manage their home PSTN line, call lists, directories, calendars, email, and voice mail using web tools. Iobi can be accessed in any one of three ways - by software downloaded on a personal computer; by logging on to the iobi Web site; or by telephone using a voice-recognition portal. The computer-based software provides the most robust functionality, including on-screen caller ID, online call direction and tracking of calls and voice messages. Using their mouse, consumers can answer, forward or send a call to voice mail in real time; find out where the caller is on a pop-up map; store the number in an address book; play a voice message; and forward voice messages as sound files via e-mail. Pricing is set at $7.95 per month. Verizon Home Voice Mail is recommended for full product functionality.

BT to Manage THALES Network Services

BT was awarded a five-year contract by THALES Group, an international electronics and systems group serving the defense, aeronautics, security and services markets. Under the deal, BT will manage all fixed voice and data network services for THALES and its subsidiaries in 42 countries. BT will take over all operational management of their services and some of the existing contracts, and will manage the gradual migration of those services towards an IP platform, enabling progressive and controlled introduction of VoIP.

Sun Microsystems Offers Grid Computing & Storage Services

Sun Microsystems launched a new "Sun Grid" utility initiative aimed at radically changing the way customers select, acquire and use next-generation IT infrastructure. Sun's new utility offerings include the Sun Grid compute utility and the Sun Grid storage utility. In the coming months, Sun will also roll out additional Sun Grid offerings for the desktop and developer communities. Sun is in the process of rolling out Sun Grid Centers worldwide; initial locations include Virginia, Texas, New Jersey, Canada and Scotland. Sun expects these centers to be fully operational later this year.

Sun Grid is expected to appeal to some corporate customers in industries such as financial services and oil and gas.

  • The Sun Grid compute utility -- provides customers with fully virtualized CPU memory and high-performance storage connected through a secure networked grid, at a price of $1/cpu-hr. Customers can use it for jobs such as Monte Carlo simulations, protein modeling, reservoir simulations, mechanical CAD simulations and similar non-transactional workloads. The Sun Grid compute utility will deliver a standard computing grid, powered by AMD Opteron processor-based systems, Solaris 10 OS and N1 Grid Engine, to help provide customers optimal performance, functionality and security.

  • The Sun Grid storage utility -- supports customers' grid jobs at a price of $1/GB-mo or can be used independent of the compute utility.

SunRocket Selects Netrake for National VoIP Service

SunRocket has selected Netrake' session border controller for its flat-fee residential VoIP phone service. Netrake provides the ability to seamlessly support Hosted Firewall and NAT traversal for offering new, advanced IP services to customers behind enterprise and residential firewalls. Financial terms were not disclosed.

SunRocket's all-inclusive annual home phone service features a unique Bottom-Line Pricing model. Special features include distinctive ringing for multiple household members, find me/follow me, do not disturb, and a browser-based Web account manager. SunRocket's service also provides 911 emergency calling and a built-in monthly allowance for international calling and directory assistance.
  • Telco Systems and Sylantro have each previously announced contracts with SunRocket.

  • Nokia Venture Partners is the lead investor in privately-held SunRocket.

NBC Universal and CinemaNow Sign VOD Deal

CinemaNow signed a deal with NBC Universal to deliver first-run pay-per-view and library titles, including movies and television event programming, on a streaming basis via the CinemaNow Web site.. Content partners for CinemaNow's video-on-demand service now include 20th Century Fox, Disney, Lions Gate, MGM, Sony, Warner Bros., and over 200 other licensors. The company has distribution rights about 6,500 titles.

Infonet Establishes Subsidiary in Hong Kong

Infonet Services has established a wholly-owned subsidiary in Hong Kong. The company has been providing services in Hong Kong since 1980 through its partner PCCW (previously known as HKT). PCCW will continue to act as a reseller of Infonet services to local enterprises based in Hong Kong.
  • In November 2004, BT agreed to acquire Infonet, a provider of international managed voice and data network services, for $965 million (excluding Infonet's net cash balance of $390 million, the aggregate value of the deal is $575 million). Infonet, which is based in El Segundo, California, has local operations in 70 countries and claims 1,800 multinational customers -- including Siemens, Nokia, Bayer AG International, IBM and Hilton International.

Covad Release Q4 Network Metrics

Covad Communications release key operating statistics for Q4 2004, including:

  • the addition of 8,300 DSL lines, bringing total lines in service at year end to 533,200 lines, a 3% increase from 517,000 at the end of 2003.

  • Covad ended with 567 VoIP business customers representing approximately 20,500 VoIP stations.

Telstra BigPond Deploys Juniper Networks E-Series

Australia's Telstra BigPond has chosen Juniper Networks' E-series edge routing platforms to provide connectivity to customers of BigPond's DSL service. At BigPond, the E-series edge routing platforms are being deployed as Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) networking servers to support existing and future subscribers on the Telstra network. L2TP is a secure remote access technology designed to protect sensitive data on DSL and other broadband connections. Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • Telstra BigPond is Australia's largest ISP.

TIA Estimates U.S. Telecom Spending at $784.5 Billion, up 7.9%

Total spending in the U.S. telecommunications industry rose 7.9% in 2004 to an estimated $784.5 billion -- a significant improvement from gains of 3.6% in 2003 and 1.9% in 2002 -- according to TIA's 2005 Telecommunications Market Review and Forecast. The increased spending was driven by an increase in equipment and software revenue and double-digit increases in wireless services, services in support of equipment, and specialized services.

TIA is predicting that the U.S. telecom market will continue growing at a projected 9.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2008, reaching $1.1 trillion. Some highlights of TIA's annual report include:

  • A 5.2% increase in total equipment and software revenue marked the first gain after three consecutive years of decline. From 2000-2003, equipment and software revenue fell $30.5 billion, a cumulative 17.4% decrease, led by the network equipment segment. In 2004 the network equipment market began to emerge from its slump and recorded a 4.7% advance reaching $15.8 billion.

  • Network equipment revenue is expected to increase 9% in 2005 to reach $17.3 billion and achieve a 8.4% CAGR 2005-2008, reaching $22 billion in 2008.

  • The enterprise equipment market expanded 5.9% to $99 billion in 2004, more than the combined gain of the previous three years. In the enterprise market, replacement of legacy equipment and the shift to IP and convergent systems is boosting most segments of equipment spending. Total spending on enterprise equipment is expected to reach $105.6 billion in 2005, a 6.8% increase over 2004.

  • Spending on transport services increased slightly by 3.4% in 2004 reaching $298.7 billion. Local exchange revenues were essentially flat at $124 billion in 2004, but are expected to grow at faster rates in subsequent years as landline providers continue to introduce bundled services at flat rates and to offer VoIP -- diminishing the price advantage enjoyed by wireless. The shift to VoIP will be the key driver in both enterprise and residential markets. The number of VoIP access lines jumped to 6.5 million in 2004 from 3.8 million in 2003 and is expected to expand rapidly, rising to an estimated 26 million by 2008.

  • Toll service spending fell 4.2% to $72.8 billion, its fourth consecutive annual decrease as the shift from wireline to wireless in long-distance traffic continued. Offsetting this decline in 2004 was a 14.6% increase in spending on wireless services to $101.9 billion. Wireless services is one of the key market drivers and continues to gain traction as carriers introduce more data services such as online video games, high-speed third-generation (3G) wireless services, Wi-Fi technology and WiMAX. TIA expects wireless services revenue to increase at a 10.4% CAGR to $151.1 billion in 2008.

  • Internet access revenue rose 12.5%, fueled by rising broadband penetration. Broadband subscribers increased from 5 million in 2001 to more than 32 million in 2004, and TIA expects broadband to surpass dial-up in 2005 and to reach nearly 57 million subscribers by 2008. Overall spending on Internet access services is predicted to increase at a 6.8 CAGR to an estimated $35.3 billion by 2008.

  • Total international telecommunications spending (not including U.S. figures) reached $1.4 trillion in 2004, up 10.2% over 2003. The international telecommunications market is expected to grow faster than the U.S. market, boosted by high growth in wireless services and broadband access. Overall international telecom spending is expected to reach $2 trillion in 2008, growing at a CAGR 10.6% 2005-08.

  • Broadband access is predicted to be the key driver of equipment spending in the international markets, tripling in the next four years and rising to $100.8 billion by 2008. Growing demand for broadband, along with the introduction of IP networks, the rollout of 3G and Wi-Fi services will boost the equipment market. International spending on telecommunications equipment is predicted to increase by 7.4% in 2005 to $256 billion and then to grow at high single-digit rates through 2008.

Ericsson to Resell Critical Telecom's Remote Ethernet DSLAM

Ericsson will integrate Critical Telecom's GEmini Remote Ethernet DSLAM into its global Ethernet DSL Access (EDA) broadband portfolio to help service providers deliver such new generation broadband access services as IPTV.

The new Gemini Ethernet Remote DSLAM provides integrated GigE backhaul (with two GigE ports) in an environmentally-hardened, compact unit that can be deployed inside of remote cabinets. The unit can be installed without the need for local power or for building out a new cabinet or pedestal. A single units offers 24 ports of non-blocking ADSL2+ services. Multiple units can be combines inside a single, fiber-fed cabinet to offer up 192 ports of ADSL2+. Critical Telecom predicts this scalability will enable its design to address the "sweet-spot" in new access network upgrades.

Ericsson has more than 60 contracts around the world for its Ethernet DSL Access solution.

SBC to Link its Brand with Entertainment Services

SBC Communications will begin offering entertainment gifts and other incentives to encourage residential customers to signup for service bundles of local, long distance, DSL, wireless and satellite TV. The incentive include movie and music downloads, PlayStation2 online enabled videogames, and specialized merchandise.

The promotion and advertising campaign are part of an overall initiative to link the SBC brand to premier communications and entertainment services, in advance of the company's introduction later this year of IPTV, VoIP and fast broadband service.

SBC - AT&T Merger to Result in 13,000 Layoffs, Reduced CAPEX

Nearly 60% of cost synergies from SBC's proposed acquisition of AT&T are expected to come from headcount reductions, said senior officials from both companies in a conference call from the investment community. SBC currently has about 163,000 employees, while AT&T has 47,000. The layoffs are likely to affect about 13,000 employees. The job cuts are expected to include 550 engineering positions, 1,100 enterprise data ordering positions, 1,200 enterprise data provisioning positions, 1,500 enterprise care functions, 700 network management positions, 75 access management jobs and an estimated 2,600 job cuts in administrative roles, including legal, HR, finance, PR, advertising, etc. About 1,700 sales positions and 3,400 business operations personnel would also be eliminated in the merger.

In terms of CAPEX procurements, the companies see a 60% overlap between in vendor spend. In its earlier acquisitions (Pacific Bell, Ameritech and SNET), SBC has been able to extract a 10% to 12% supplier concession as it scaled up in size.

The advantages of scale are also expected to work in the merged company's advantage in terms of IP traffic. The merger would combine the largest backbone data provider with the largest local data provider (SBC's DSL and Project Lightspeed). The companies believe they will be positioned as the lowest cost provider.

SBC plans to leverage AT&T's investments in efficiency and automation against the joint company's entire Layer 2 customer base. New efficiencies would also be gained by building work processes around a single network view and not an artificially imposed long haul and local hierarchy.

The companies noted that AT&T's IP backbone carries an order of magnitude more traffic than SBC on a per employee basis. AT&T is over 3X more productive in supporting Frame Relay and ATM ports on a per employee basis. AT&T also carriers over 3X the long distance minutes of use on a per employee basis.

A webcast is archived on the SBC investor relations' website.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Infinera Goes Live with Photonic IC Technology

Infinera, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, announced the first commercial deployment of its Photonic Integrated Circuit technology. Germany's freenet is operating a nationwide network of Infinera DTNs.

Unlike conventional optical systems, which use analog optical devices for key networking functions, the Infinera DTN uses digital technology. Infinera has created its own photonic chips that combine dozens of active and passive devices for managing light. The chips converts all traffic from optical to electronic signals, allowing the DTN to add and drop, multiplex, groom, and protect circuits digitally rather than optically. Infinera's Photonic Integrated Circuits include a 100 Gbps transmitter, which integrates ten lasers, ten 10 Gbps modulators, and an optical multiplexer; as well as a 100 Gbps receiver, which integrates an optical demultiplexer and ten photodiodes. Each enables low-cost optical-electrical conversion on a semiconductor chip.

Infinera is offering an optical transport platform based on its Photonic Integrated Circuits. The
Infinera DTN supports 400 Gbps, i.e., forty 10 Gbps channels in a half rack, and 800Gbps (eighty 10 Gbps channels) in a full rack.. 100 Gbps line cards support a variety of hot-swappable client interfaces including OC-192/STM-64, OC-48/STM-16, 10 Gigabit Ethernet LAN PHY and WAN PHY, and Gigabit Ethernet. The platform runs Infinera's IQ Network Operating System to automate network discovery, configuration, and provisioning via GMPLS.

Infinera said freenet selected its solution because the DTN platform is simpler to operate, delivers services faster, and offer more network flexibility than conventional optical networking systems.
  • Infinera is headed by Jagdeep Singh, who previously founded Lighter Networks, a developer of optical switching equipment that was acquired by CIENA.

  • In October 2004, Infinera raised $52 million in new funding for its Photonic Integrated Circuit technology. The company has raised $205 million to date. Strategic investors in this round include UTStarcom and CTC (Itochu Techno-Science Corporation), both of which are collaborating with Infinera to provide optical networking solutions in Asia. Infinera's investor group includes many of the world's leading venture capital firms as well as a strong group of strategic corporate investors. Venture backers include Accel Partners, Benchmark Capital, JAFCO Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mobius Venture Capital, Sprout Group, Sutter Hill Ventures, Venrock Associates, and Worldview Technology Partners.