Wednesday, June 7, 2006

CableLabs and EuroCableLabs Extend Working Relationship

CableLabs and EURCableLabs have extended their cooperation on the development of cable technology in the U.S. and Europe. The agreement provides EURCableLabs access to CableLabs' DOCSIS and PacketCable specifications and test plans, thereby assuring greater consistency across cable technologies developed for the North American and European markets.

The agreement assures EURCableLabs will have access to draft specifications for DOCSIS and PacketCable, including proposed engineering changes to these specifications, to allow for European adaptations to be included in the specifications while they are being developed. In addition, EURCableLabs will have access to CableLabs' acceptance and compliance test plans which are used as part of the certification and qualification testing process.


Canada's Gold Line Deploys Pactolus SIPware Pre-paid Calling Card Application

Gold Line Telemanagement, Canada's leading provider of calling card services with more than half of the country's $350-million pre-paid long-distance business, selected Pactolus as its exclusive provider of calling card applications. Gold Line has deployed Pactolus' SIPware Calling Card application and RapidFLEX Service Delivery Platform.


WildBlue Signs Wholesale Deals with DIRECTV and EchoStar

WildBlue Communications signed five year wholesale distribution agreements with both DIRECTV and EchoStar Communications for its broadband Internet access via satellite.

DIRECTV and EchoStar currently offer digital television entertainment via satellite to a combined total of more than 27 million customers nationwide.

Each of DIRECTV and EchoStar intends to begin offering WildBlue high-speed Internet service in the coming months across the contiguous United States with further details on availability and pricing of their respective offerings to be forthcoming.

The offerings will be provided separately under the DIRECTV and EchoStar brand names, and sub-branded as "powered by WildBlue." The WildBlue broadband offering will be focused on small town America and rural markets.

"Our agreements with DIRECTV and EchoStar are a turning point for WildBlue," said David Leonard, WildBlue's Chief Executive Officer. "We have worked very hard this year to make our affordable broadband Internet service available to every home and small business across the continental U.S., and we are pleased to be working with DIRECTV and EchoStar to further strengthen our presence nationwide and to extend their respective product offerings as well."
  • In May 2006, AT&T began selling satellite-based broadband Internet access service, powered by WildBlue, to rural customers across its 13-state territory. Rural satellite-based broadband subscribers will have three service packages to choose from, with prices ranging from $49.95 to $79.95 per month, and broadband speed options ranging up to 1.5 Mbps downstream and up to 256 Kbps upstream.

  • WildBlue currently utilizes the Ka-band spot beam capacity over the United States on Telesat Canada's Anik F2 satellite, which was launched by Arianespace in July 2004. WildBlue's service provides two-way wireless high-speed Internet access. The service is being offered by over 280 rural electric and telephone companies affiliated with the NRTC (National Rural Telephone Cooperative). Service began June 2005.

  • WildBlue's next Ka-band spot beam satellite, WildBlue-1, has been scheduled for launch aboard an Ariane 5 vehicle in Q4 2006. WildBlue-1, manufactured by Space Systems/Loral, will approximately triple WildBlue's customer capacity, and is expected to handle WildBlue's continuing rapid customer growth into 2008 and beyond. WildBlue-1 is a 4.7 metric ton high power satellite based on Space Systems/Loral's 1300 spacecraft bus and provides Ka-band spot beam capacity over the contiguous United States.

Sprint and Universal Music Group Host Live Concert for Mobile Phone Listeners

Sprint and Universal Music Group will deliver live country music for the first time with video and audio on mobile phones during a concert tonight from Nashville's Rocketown music venue. The concert features country artists, including Josh Turner, Billy Currington, Julie Roberts and Gary Nichols. The concert will be available for free to all Sprint PCS Vision and Sprint Power Vision customers who have multimedia phones and data plans. These customers can also experience the concert afterwards on-demand.

Cable & Wireless Shifts to Wholesale Broadband Strategy

Cable & Wireless will adopt a wholesale strategy with regard to consumer and small business services delivered over its local loop network. Starting next month, the company's Bulldog division will offer wholesale services to other broadband providers. Bulldog will cease its own proactive sales and marketing to attract new residential or small business customers. It will continue as a retail brand for existing customers.

Cable & Wireless said its local loop rollout plan remains unchanged -- a total of 800 fully un-bundled local exchanges are expected to be online by 30-Sept-2006 (411 exchanges were unbundled as of 31-Mar-2006).

Cable & Wireless will use the local loop network to deliver business-class services, as well as for the wholesale service.
  • In February 2006, Cable & Wireless provided an update on its restructuring plans, saying its UK business plans to reduce its customer base from a total of approximately 30,000 customers to about 3,000 large corporate customers and public institutions. The company hopes that concentrating on fewer, larger customers, and by reducing the complexity in its products, systems and processes, it will be able to increase its margins from 33% today to 40%.

Cisco Authorizes Up To $5 Billion in Additional Stock Repurchases

Cisco Systems' Board of Directors authorized up to $5 billion in additional repurchases of its common stock. Cisco's board had previously authorized up to $35 billion in stock repurchases. There is no fixed termination date for the repurchase program.

"We evaluate our use of cash on a regular basis to determine the best way to optimize the value to our shareholders," said Dennis Powell, Chief Financial Officer, Cisco Systems. "Today, our share repurchase program allows us to return cash to our shareholders, while at the same time provides the flexibility to aggressively invest in the business for additional growth and differentiation within our overall corporate strategy."

Since the inception of the repurchase program in September 2001 through the close of Cisco's third quarter fiscal year 2006 on April 29, 2006, the company had repurchased and retired approximately 1.8 billion shares of common stock at an average price of $18.21 per share for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $32.6 billion, with a remaining authorized amount of approximately $2.4 billion.

AOL Offers Free Active Security Monitor

AOL launched Active Security Monitor, a free downloadable program that continuously checks the status of key security programs - including anti-virus, firewall, spyware protection, wireless security, and Windows/browser updates - on a user's home computer. Active Security Monitor assigns a Security Score to each PC on the user's network, and it offers specific recommendations based on the scan's results to improve user security.

Specifically, Active Security Monitor examines each computer on a user's home network in eight important areas: firewall, virus protection, spyware protection, Windows/browser updates, wireless security, P2P software, and PC utilities.

Active Security Monitor was developed in partnership with Sereniti.


VSNL Offers Ethernet Connecting North America, Europe, Asia & India

Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) launched Dedicated Global Ethernet private line service connecting major cities throughout North America, Europe, Asia and an extensive footprint connecting 120 cities in India.

Dedicated Global Ethernet offers bandwidth between 2 and 1,000 Mbps with the flexibility to upgrade the bandwidth on an as-needed basis without service interruption.

VSNL International said its service combines the flexibility and features of Ethernet with the proven reliability and high performance of SDH/SONET to create a robust, highly secure, carrier grade Ethernet Private Line (EPL) service.

VSNL is offering a single, end-to-end Service Level Agreement and dedicated global support in every country served. Dedicated Global Ethernet is carried across VSNL's extensive global and India fiber optic infrastructure.

Dedicated Global Ethernet is complemented by VSNL's Global Ethernet over MPLS, which offers point-to-point, point-to-multipoint and multiple classes of service for global and India Ethernet WANs. Available now, Global Ethernet over MPLS will be formally launched in the coming months.

VSNL's Global Network spans 4 continents, comprises major ownership in 206,356km of terrestrial network fiber and subsea cables, and offers the greatest diversity to, and within, India.

VSNL is a part of India's Tata Group.

  • In July 2005, India's Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) agreed to acquire Teleglobe International in a deal valued at $239 million.

  • Also in July 2005, VSNL completed its acquisition of the Tyco Global Network (TGN), a state-of-the-art undersea cable network that spanned 60,000 km (37,280 miles) and the continents of North America, Europe and Asia. With the acquisition of TGN, VSNL is now one of the world's largest providers of submarine cable bandwidth. VSNL acquired the network for $130 million (not including the assumption of certain liabilities). In addition to the submarine cables, the Tyco acquisition gave VSNL 30 Points of Presence in 12 countries in North America, Europe and Asia. VSNL also has business operations in Sri Lanka and Nepal and is soon entering South Africa.

Verizon and DIRECTV in New Venture to Offer Wholesale "Triple Play"

Verizon and DIRECTV will form a new venture to enable Verizon wholesale customers to sell a package of voice, DSL and DIRECTV services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The packaged offering will be available to telecom service providers that utilize Verizon's Wholesale Advantage voice service. Verizon expects to make the bundle available to wholesale customers in July.

"The triple-play offer for wholesalers enables DIRECTV to reach a new segment of customers with an attractive array of services that will more effectively compete with the local cable provider," said John Suranyi, president, DIRECTV sales and service.

  • In February 2006, BellSouth signed a five-year exclusive marketing alliance with DIRECTV, allowing it to offer digital satellite entertainment service to its customers.

  • Also in February 2006, DIRECTV confirmed that it is preparing to launch a Broadband Video by the end of the year that would deliver content-on-demand to a DVR. Hundreds of hours of popular content would be available for download via satellite, and thousands of hours would be available for download via broadband over the Internet.

  • DirecTV currently has over 15 million customers, 2.5 million DVRs in service and one million HD customers. The company added 1.2 million net subscribers in 2005, down from 1.2 million net subscribers in 2004. By the end of 2007, DirecTV will have 11 of its own satellites in service, providing it with the capacity of 3,200 channels, including 1,650 HD channels (mostly Ka-band). This will enable 150 national HD channels and local HD programming in nearly all markets across the country.

China Netcom to Sell Asia Netcom, Undersea Cable System

China Netcom agreed to sell all of its Asia Netcom assets to an investor group led by Ashmore Emerging Markets Liquid Investment Portfolio and also including Spinnaker Global Opportunity Fund Limited and Clearwater Capital Partners, for approximately US$402 million. Completion of the deal is conditioned on regulatory approvals.

Since China Netcom purchased the former Asia Global Crossing and launched Asia Netcom in 2003, the company has emerged as a top regional provider of IP- based communications solutions. It operates a subsea cable system, EAC, as well as extensive terrestrial backhauls and telehouses, that serves key Asian markets.
  • In March 2006, 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.

  • In January 2006, Asia Netcom selected Lucent Technologies to upgrade its pan-Asian submarine cable network, known as EAC. Lucent will replace EAC's existing platform with the Lucent LambdaUnite Multi-Service Switch (MSS). With the LambdaUnite MSS platform and its support for ASON (Automatically Switched Optical Networks)/GMPLS (Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching) technology, Asia Netcom will be able to adopt a meshed, network architecture on the optical layer, and offer a wide variety of "Class-of-Service" options as part of its optical transport services.

AOL and Warner Bros. Expand 'In2TV'

AOL is expanding "In2TV", its free TV over the Web service, with two new channels: "Gone But Not Forgotten TV," showcasing recent, but prematurely cancelled series, and "Get Real TV," a reality TV channel. "In2TV" also adds twelve new series including many episodes that have never aired on television and more than a dozen new video features.

SIRIUS Signs Space Systems/Loral to Augment Satellite Constellation

SIRIUS Satellite Radio reached an agreement with Space Systems/Loral, a subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications for the design and construction of a new satellite.

SIRIUS FM-5 is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2008 and will carry an X-band uplink and S-band downlink payload. The companies said the satellite will be one of the most powerful ever constructed, with end-of-life power capability at more than 20 kilowatts. SIRIUS FM-5 is based on SS/L's flight proven 1300 platform and will have a specified service life of 15 years. It will carry a range of technologies, including a 9-meter unfurlable reflector, which will allow for highly-concentrated transmissions to small, advanced devices.

SIRIUS plans to launch the satellite on a Proton rocket under a contract previously announced between SIRIUS and International Launch Services (ILS).

The aggregate cost of designing, building, launching and insuring the launch of the satellite will be approximately $260 million. As part of its commitment to SIRIUS, Loral has agreed to provide a $100 million vendor financing facility. http://www.sirius.comhtttp://

SR Telecom Signs Sagem for WiMAX Distribution

SR Telecom, a supplier of licensed OFDM-based WiMAX solutions, signed a Sales Cooperation Agreement with Sagem Communication, a member company of SAFRAN Group. Sagem will market and re-sell the SR Telecom symmetryMX line of WiMAX products.

With this agreement, Sagem and SR Telecom will build on their joint- marketing efforts and focus on telecommunications service providers across Europe and Africa.

SR Telecom has its principal offices in Montreal, Mexico City and Bangkok.


Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Resolute Networks Offers OC-3/STM-1 Circuit Emulation Pseudowire Aggregator

Resolute Networks introduced a Circuit Emulation Solution (CES) aggregation module capable of aggregating up to 2,016 circuit emulation streams into a single device. The module is designed for OEM vendors of Ethernet-based packet switching solutions.

Resolute's CMX-16C3 is a standards-compatible module that includes required CES management and configuration capabilities, as well as GigE and OC-3 physical lines.

Resolute said its module provides a convenient way for OEMs to transition from point-to-point circuit emulation to point-to-multipoint (star) and multipoint-to-multipoint (mesh) topologies.

"At ARRIS, we've already seen a high level of interest in our CPE circuit emulation product, so showing this high level of aggregation capability now with Resolute's new CMX-16C3 is perfect timing." said Bryant Isaacs, President of ARRIS New Business Ventures, with whom Resolute has a strategic OEM relationship.

IDT Telecom and VeriSign to Market Services to Mobile Operators

IDT Telecom and VeriSign announced a multi-year agreement to jointly market advanced services to mobile operators.

IDT Telecom will offer VeriSign's Inter-Carrier Short Messaging Service (SMS), Multi-Media Messaging Service (MMS) and Voice Roaming Settlement and Exchange services in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, Central America and Latin America. The services will facilitate interoperability between disparate carrier networks and devices.

IDT Telecom currently uses a number of VeriSign Communications and Database services in the United States, including its Signaling System 7 (SS7) services.

Telefónica Selects Alcatel for Network Buildout

Telefónica de España selected Alcatel to provide access, aggregation and optical networking solutions for its continued broadband rollout. Financial terms were not disclosed.

For broadband access, Alcatel will provide its 7302 Intelligent Services Access Manager (ISAM) platform, which offers interfaces ranging from ADSL 2+ to VDSL.

In the aggregation network, the Alcatel 7450 Ethernet Service Switch will enable Telefónica to offer corporate access services and virtual private networks based on MPLS, on a national level. The solution's unique hierarchical quality of service (H-QoS) capabilities mean that Telefónica can differentiate the traffic it carries, guaranteeing varying classes of service levels, and optimizing bandwidth.

For the transport network, Alcatel will provide its dense and coarse WDM optical networking equipment to deliver triple play services, Storage Area Network (SAN) extension and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. Based on its 1692 Metrospan Edge and 1696 Metrospan, the Alcatel WDM solution enables to multiply up to 32 times the capacity of the rings to transport all types of signals with guaranteed security and quality of service.
  • In May, Ericsson announced that Telefónica de España has selected it as supplier for its metro DWDM optical network.

John Chambers Designated as Chairman of Cisco

John T. Chambers was designated to succeed John P. Morgridge as chairman of Cisco Systems, effective at the company's annual shareholder meeting on November 15, 2006. Chambers will retain his position as CEO.

John Morgridge has served Cisco for over approximately 18 years, initially as CEO, and appointed to chairman of board in 1995. He steered the company through multiple corporate milestones, including its initial public filing in 1990, and helped set the culture of Cisco; one of innovation, empowerment, frugality and giving back.

John Chambers has been president and CEO of Cisco Systems since January 1995. Since that time, Chambers has grown the company from approximately $1.2 billion in annual revenues to approximately $24.8 billion for fiscal year 2005, with market cap growth from approximately $10.4 billion in 1995 to approximately $121 billion today. Chambers joined Cisco in 1991 as senior vice president, Worldwide Sales and Operations. Prior to joining Cisco, he spent eight years at Wang Laboratories and six years with IBM.

Lucent's Universal Packet Mux Offers Optical/Packet Transport

Lucent Technologies introduced its Universal Packet Mux (UPM), a converged optical/packet transport platform designed for high-bandwidth "blended" multimedia services that combine voice, data and video capabilities. The platform will be available for testing this fall and generally available for deployment early next year.

The Lucent UPM integrates WDM, packet, and time division multiplexing (TDM) capabilities on a single platform. It will be a key element of Lucent's Acuity Network Architecture, which will use "service awareness" to adjust dynamically to meet changing bandwidth and QoS requirements. It will work with embedded SONET/SDH, Ethernet and DWDM platforms and provide unified end-to-end control plane and integrated cross-layer management.

The system features 280 Gbps of wire speed packet switching capacity in a single platform, nearly twice the capacity of the nearest competing product. Its packet switch also leverages (software) intellectual property/innovations from Lucent's recent purchase of key assets of Riverstone Networks. The UPM supports 40 Gbps interfaces. By integrating multiple WDM nodes into a single, multi-degree reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexing (ROADM), the system offers high-density and flexible traffic provisioning to help reduce operational and capital expense.

The UPM incorporates an array of technologies developed by Bell Labs, including: WDM; single-step channel provisioning in minutes (SCOT); dynamic gain equalization (DGE); ROADM capabilities that increase network flexibility; automatic power optimization that simplifies operations and maintenance; new Layer 2+ packet-switching capabilities design to interoperate with the platform's TDM/WDM transmission capabilities; and 40G transmission, with ongoing development aimed at 100 GbE.

Lucent said the UPM would offer distinct advantages over previous network transport platforms and cited four service provider applications for the UPM:

  • IPTV/IP Multimedia -- WDM based video distribution, multicast and unicast for flexible and cost-optimized video on demand

  • Carrier Ethernet Services -- aggregation and switching for Layer 2 virtual private network (VPNs), triple play voice/data/video services and MPLS/VPLS data services, scaling from 1 Gigabit Ethernet to 100 Gigabit Ethernet with carrier-grade scalability, protection and administration with differentiated QoS and seamless integration with traditional (TDM) services

  • Fixed/Mobile Convergence -- simplified, cost-optimized backhaul/backbone solutions supporting wireless and converged wireless/wireline networks

  • Wavelength Services -- any channel to any destination mesh for metro to multi-haul applications, SAN extension for business continuity and disaster recovery.