Wednesday, March 22, 2006

German Regulator Opens Consultation on Bitstream Regulatory Order

Germany's Federal Network Agency has invited comments on its regulatory order for ATM bitstream access. The Agency is planning to commit Deutsche Telekom AG (DTAG) to offer a transparent, non-discriminatory wholesale product, the charges for which will be subject to ex post price controls.

"Now that we have established DTAG's dominance in this wholesale market, we want to oblige it to provide its competitors with a broadband access wholesale product whose service levels the competitors can decide for themselves. Differentiation will thus be possible for competing companies not just via price, but also via quality", Matthias Kurth, Agency President, declared.

Yahoo! Implements Global IP Sound for Voice

Yahoo! is using Global IP Sound's (GIPS') VoiceEngine Multimedia in its Yahoo! Messenger with Voice IM client. The GIPS VoiceEngine Multimedia software handles voice quality issues such as jitter, delay, packet loss and acoustic echo.
  • The GIPS one-end and end-to-end voice quality enhancement software provides capabilities including adaptive jitter buffer and error concealment, high-quality wideband and narrow band codecs, echo cancellers and speech enhancers. The technology provides "better than PSTN voice quality and fidelity" in end-to-end IP communications even under adverse traffic conditions with packet loss.

  • In July 2005, Global IP Sound (GIPS) announced an OEM license agreement with Microsoft for its voice processing solutions. GIPS technology is expected to be used with MSN and Microsoft Office Real-Time Collaboration (RTC) solutions.

  • Global IP Sound, which is based in Stockholm, also supplies its voice quality software to Skype, Ericsson, Nortel, WebEx, Texas Instruments, LongBoard, Inter-tel, PMC-Sierra and others.

Orange France's TV Portal Uses Bluestreak Platform

Orange France, the top wireless network operator in France, will launch the Orange World TV portal using Bluestreak's MachBlueT for Mobile platform. The new mobile TV portal delivers 52 channels across 3G and EDGE and allows end users to access daily program guides for broadcast and exclusive mobile TV channels via their mobile phones.

This is the second rich-media portal deployed by Orange that uses MachBlueT technology; the first service, the Orange League 1 soccer portal, was launched at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona in February.

The MachBlueT platform allows all program information to be loaded on the mobile phone screen while the customer watches television.

U.S. Telecom Transport Revenue Reaches $310 Billion in 2005

Total U.S. telecommunications transport services revenue reached $310.8 billion in 2005 and is expected to reach $324.7 billion in 2006, according to the newly released TIA's 2006 Telecommunications Market Review and Forecast. Total spending on transport services is expected to grow at a 4.6 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), reaching $372.7 billion by 2009. The Market Review and Forecast is an annual study published by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA).

Loss of landline subscribers has hurt the local exchange market, a trend that will continue, though at moderating rates in the coming years. In the transport services market, landline revenue continued to fall in 2005, totaling $192.3 billion, its fifth consecutive year of decline, and wireless continued to grow at double-digit rates, reaching $118.6 billion. Between 2000 and 2005, the landline subscriber base fell 20.4 million. Households have shifted to broadband, canceling second lines for Internet access and for their children, who now rely on wireless. Some households have cancelled their landline subscription altogether and now use wireless exclusively. The introduction of bundled services at flat-rate prices should neutralize one of the advantages of the wireless market. The addition of television distribution combined with broadband Internet access will give current subscribers incentives to retain their landlines.

The number of wireless subscriptions passed landline subscriptions in 2005, reaching 194.5 million and 172.1 million subscribers respectively, and with approximately two-thirds of the U.S. population subscribing to a wireless service, the market still has room for expansion. TIA expects wireless penetration to rise to 88.3 percent by 2009, which would translate into 270 million subscribers. Landline subscriptions will continue to fall, but the rate of decline will moderate as new services such as VoIP and broadband video help landline carriers retain subscribers. By 2009, TIA estimates there will be 111.0 million more wireless subscribers than landline subscribers in the United States. Total spending on wireless services is expected to reach $180.4 billion in 2009, growing at an 11.1 percent CAGR.

Despite the overall market decline, cable-operator telephone revenue will grow at double-digit rates. Non-cable CLECs will record the largest declines; incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) will see their local revenue decrease at slower rates through 2008 and edge up in 2009. For the forecast period as a whole, TIA projects local exchange services revenue to fall at a 0.6 percent CAGR to $115.8 billion in 2009 from $118.5 billion in 2005.

Long-distance or toll service revenue has been declining since 2000, falling from $109.6 billion in 2000 to $73.8 billion in 2005, a 33 percent drop. The market was hurt by weak economic conditions, by the reduction in landline subscribers and by the migration of traffic from landline to wireless. With landline carriers now bundling local and long-distance services at a single flat-rate price, the historical long- distance model of per-minute charges will fade. This will eliminate the cost incentive for landline subscribers to make long-distance calls on their wireless devices when a landline alternative is available. The domestic long-distance landline calling volume is expected to begin to expand in 2007. For the forecast period as a whole, long-distance revenue will rise at a 0.9 percent compound annual rate, reaching $76.5 billion in 2009.

The overall landline network services market in 2005 was 15.8 percent lower than in 2000. However, the 2005 decrease of 1.4 percent was the smallest in five years. Although landline services revenue is expected to continue to decline over the next two years, decreases will moderate further, and in 2008- 09 the market will expand. By 2009, revenue will total $192.3 billion, climbing back to the level of 2005.

Siemens Supplies HSDPA for Vodafone Germany

Siemens has supplied High Speed Data Packet Access (HSDPA) technology for Vodafone's German network using the W-CDMA standard. As Vodafone recently announced, the mobile broadband service is being launched under the name "UMTS Broadband," initially in Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hanover and Munich, at speeds of up to 1.8 Mbps. There are also plans to roll out HSDPA technology quickly in all 1,800 German towns and cities supplied with W-CDMA.

Tut & Verimatrix Partner on IPTV

MBO Video is deploying an IPTV service utilizing Tut Systems' Astria content processor (CP) and the Verimatrix Content Authority Systems (VCAS). Tut Systems' Astria Content Processor (CP) platform serves as the core video processing system for MBO Video's 192 channel MPEG-2 digital headend, currently serving 10 video service providers throughout the states of Oklahoma and Missouri. MBO Video's recent announcement to add MPEG-4 AVC video to their headend will yield better picture quality while significantly lowering the bandwidth required for MPEG-2 video. The addition of VCAS enables MBO Video to protect video content delivered to multiple downstream operators using one centralized server to both encrypt and watermark premium content.

The companies said the MBO Video win is the latest in a series of mutual customer wins, but the first in which Tut Systems acted as the prime vendor for the VCAS solution under a recently signed reseller agreement.


Asia-Netcom Adds 40 Gbps Lit Capacity to Cable System

Asia Netcom completed a major network upgrade that will bring a 50% increase in lit capacity to its pan-Asia submarine cable systems, EAC.

As part of the upgrade, 10 Gbps was lit up on each of EAC's four fiber pairs, effectively adding 40 Gbps of new bandwidth to EAC's existing 80 Gbps. The EAC system spans 19,500 km within Asia connecting Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong and soon, China.

The additional capacity will support Asia Netcom's extensive service and product portfolio, which includes MPLS-based transport and network solutions, a Tier 1 Internet backbone, as well as traditional connectivity solutions such as international private lines and ATM and Frame Relay.

WiMAX Forum Issues New Certifications

The WiMAX Forum issued it latest set of product certifications based on the defined Frequency Division Duplexing (FDD) system profile operating in the 3.5GHz frequency spectrum. The WiMAX Forum member companies and products to complete certification and interoperability testing include Airspan's MacroMAX base station and EasyST subscriber station solution, Axxcelera's ExcelMax base station, Sequans Communications' SQN1010-RD subscriber station solution, Siemens' WayMAX@vantage base station and subscriber station solutions, and Wavesat's miniMAX subscriber station solution.

WiMAX Forum's certification laboratory, CETECOM Spain, worked with each WiMAX equipment supplier to conduct an extensive series of stringent and extensive test procedures, consisting of protocol conformance, radio conformance and interoperability testing. To date, 14 fixed WiMAX products have received the WiMAX Forum Certified seal in the two months since the program first started certifying equipment.

Ofcom Proposes to Deregulate BT retail Phone Cost Controls

Ofcom, the official telecom regulator in the UK, proposed that all phone companies, including BT Group plc, be free to set their own prices and compete for customers in future. The changes, which are subject to public consultation, would take effect from 1 August 2006.

Ofcom noted that the proposal comes 22 years after price controls were first imposed when the UK telecoms market was liberalized. Ofcom said new technology and the growth of competition have transformed the phone market; average call prices have fallen by more than 50% since 1996. Key developments in the market include:

  • Competing providers: more than 10 million households use providers other than BT for their phone calls, including more than 4 million households on cable networks [source: Ofcom Communications Market Report February 2006]

  • New technology: Industry estimates suggest that there are now more than 500,000 active VoIP users in the UK. VoIP services offer a significantly lower-cost alternative to traditional fixed-line calls. As more than 10 million households now benefit from broadband connections, VoIP services are likely to grow rapidly over time.

  • Competitive local access investment: Local Loop Unbundling enables a range of providers to offer customers voice, broadband and video services over existing phone lines. By February 2006 the number of lines unbundled exceeded 300,000.

Given this, Ofcom believes it is now appropriate to consider allowing existing retail price controls to lapse as increasingly effective competition between providers continues to drive down costs to consumers. These developments are also taking place against a background of continued growth in the market for mobile services. 31% of all UK voice call minutes originated from mobile phones rather than from fixed-lines, from July to September 2005. [source: Ofcom Communications Market Report February 2006.]

France Telecom Launches Wholesale Voice Service

Starting next month, France Telecom will begin providing a wholesale voice service.

France Telecom said it will provide third-party competitors with a complete telephone service, including the line subscription, most of the services related to the subscription and all calls, irrespective of the destination, including special services (audiotel, directory enquiries, etc.). The wholesale telephone line subscription offering will be available for analog access from 1st April 2006; it will be extended to individual and grouped ISDN access as well as grouped analog lines from 1st July 2006.

Danish Utility Selects Wave7 for Ethernet PON

Sydfyns Elforsyning (SEF), a major utility company based in Svendborg, Denmark, announced a major FTTP PON network that is currently the largest such system installed in northern Europe. Wave7 Optics and SEF announced further that 1,200 residential customers have been connected to the network and are receiving a suite of voice, RF video and data services. SEF expects to have more than 5,000 customers "on net" by the end of this year. Eltel Networks is managing the project as the equipment installer and integrator.

ECI Telecom Announces Mini MSPP

ECI Telecom introduced its BroadGate-20B, a miniature optical service access platform that functions as Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) for enterprises, utility companies and cellular operators. The BroadGate-20B is the entry-level unit featuring a scalable architecture with the ability to add more interfaces and new services as needed.

It can be used to deliver a mix of Ethernet, SDH/SONET, PDH and PCM services with QoS and Service Level Agreement (SLA) assurances. It uses ECI's LightSoft network management system to provide full remote management capabilities with support for multiple interfaces and traffic types.

Continuous Computing Expands in India

Continuous Computing Corporation opened a newly relocated Research and Development facility in Bangalore, India. The company originally opened an India office in July 2004 with just ten employees and now currently employs over 80 software and hardware developers.

Continuous Computing provides "Network Service-Ready Platforms" that enable telecom equipment manufacturers to rapidly deploy converged communications.

AT&T Announces Five-Year SONET Contract in Wisconsin

AT&T was awarded a five-year optical and data-networking services contract with Advanced Healthcare, the largest physician-led, multispecialty clinic group in southeastern Wisconsin. AT&T will expand Advanced Healthcare's bandwidth through implementation of a fully redundant SONET ring to six locations throughout the state. With the additional bandwidth, Advanced Healthcare will be able to consolidate large amounts of voice, data and video traffic from its various locations to a single, fail-safe platform. The network will also support an X-ray Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), which can store, display and transmit all types of digital medical images.

FTTH Council Endorses Video Franchise Reform

The Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council endorsed legislation in four states (Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, and New Jersey) aimed at streamlining local cable TV franchising rules. The proposed reform would make it easier for new entrants into video delivery services. Recent video franchise reform bill have passed in Texas, Indiana and Virginia.

US LEC Advances its MPLS Rollout

US LEC Corp. announced the expansion of its MPLS VPN service to the cities and surrounding areas of Birmingham and Mobile, Ala., Memphis and Nashville, Tenn., and New Orleans, completing one of the final stages of the company's MPLS VPN roll-out.

The service can be scaled from fractional T1 speeds to DS3 (45 Mbs) to Ethernet Local Loop. US LEC offers both metro and wide-area networking options that allow customers to connect locally within a metro area or across large geographic distances.

In addition to Memphis and Nashville, the company now provides MPLS VPN to businesses in the East Tennessee cities of Bristol, Chattanooga, Cleveland, Johnson City, Kingsport and Knoxville, the Kentucky cities of Lexington, Louisville and Elizabethtown, and the Indiana cities of New Albany, Sellersburg and Clarksville. The addition of Birmingham, Mobile and New Orleans connects the Deep South section of US LEC's network and brings the total number of MPLS VPN-enabled switching centers to 25.

UTStarcom Appoints David King Senior VP Sales/Marketing

UTStarcom announced the appointment of David King as its new senior vice president of sales and marketing, responsible for all aspects of the company's global sales and marketing efforts outside of Mainland China. King will report to Mike Sophie, chief operating officer (COO), and will lead the development, implementation and execution of sales and marketing strategies. Most recently, King was the CEO at Visual Wireless where he secured business with top-tier operators from around the world. Prior to that, as vice president and general manager of wireline systems at Ericsson, based in Stockholm, Sweden, he was responsible for the company's global wireline infrastructure business.

The appointment of David King follows the announcement of Ari Bose, former VP and CIO at 3Com, as UTStarcom's CIO.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

VideoEgg Launches Flash-based Video Publishing/Hosting for Websites

VideoEgg, a start-up based in San Francisco, released an integration kit that lets web publishers integrate a consumer-friendly video-upload service into their websites.

The VideoEgg Publisher is a small browser plug-in that makes it easy for users to capture, encode, upload, and share online video. Sometimes described as a browser-based "universal video adapter," the VideoEgg Publisher reads dozens of video file formats and captures video directly from camcorders, Web cams, and mobile phones.

Videos are uploaded to the VideoEgg Server Network, a geographically distributed network of 18,000 servers powered by Akamai Technologies. Uploaded videos are immediately available for viewing through the Flash-based VideoEgg Player, which does not require external player software like Windows Media or QuickTime.

Webmasters can download the Integration Kit for the VideoEgg Publisher, VideoEgg Server Network, and VideoEgg Player for free. VideoEgg will host the videos indefinitely. The service will be supported by ads.

Entropic Provides Motorola with MoCA Chipset, FiOS Deployment

Motorola will use Entropic Communications' c.LINK) 270 chipset as a key component of the home media networking features of the Motorola QIP and DCT advanced series digital video set-tops. Motorola set-tops with embedded Entropic chips will enable multi-room video and content sharing without the need for additional cabling or installations associated with set-up and truck rolls, and the inconvenience to the consumers.

Verizon Communications is currently deploying Motorola QIP series set-tops as part of its FiOS) TV service, available in selected cities in Texas, Virginia, Florida, California, New York and Massachusetts.

Sun Grid Compute Utility Goes Online

Sun Microsystems began offering Internet access to its Sun Grid Compute Utility in the United States, which provides a compute utility at the rate of $1/CPU-hr.

A portal provides secure access and no long-term contracts are required. Sun is targeting users in diverse industries, including finance, oil and gas, education and life sciences , who need to run complex computational tasks, technical applications, and develop applications.

"Sun is the first and only vendor to make a credible utility grid offering available via the Internet," said Jonathan Schwartz, president and COO, Sun Microsystems. "By delivering computing as a service, Sun Grid helps developers, academics and computing professionals optimize time to results without investment in IT infrastructure. On-demand computing is now truly on demand -- with a credit card and a Web connection, not a complex outsourcing relationship."