Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Alabama's Largest Telephone Cooperative Selects Occam

Alabama's Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative has selected Occam BLC Networks' 6000 System to upgrade its access network to a single voice, data and transport network. Previously, the Alabama-based telco had three separate networks, one for transport, one for delivering TDM voice and one for delivering DSL.

Farmers began delivering DSL service using IP rather than ATM. The cooperative began upgrading its outside plant with shorter copper loops more than three years ago and decided to replace some of its older Paradyne, now Zhone Technologies, DSLAMs.

Farmers Telecommunications believes that it will make a complete transition to an all Ethernet- and IP-based network eventually moving to a softswitch architecture and fiber to the premise (FTTP) as the demand for advanced broadband services such as gaming, peer-to-peer and interactive video grows.

Founded in 1952, Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative is Alabama's largest member-owned, telephone cooperative, serving close to 20,000 subscribers in seven exchanges across DeKalb and Jackson counties.

. http://www.occamnetworks.com

T-Com Rolls Out Dual Mode GSM + WiFi Phone

Deutsche Telekom's T-Com division introduced its new "T-One" dual phone that combines GSM with VoIP + WiFi capabilities. The mobile phone is programmed to use WiFi whenever possible.

T-One is the first joint product between T-Com and T-Online since the merger of T-Online with Deutsche Telekom, which was finalized about two months ago.

"Integration of the fixed and wireless networks offers our customers a new dimension of usability," said Burkhard GraƟmann, T-Com's board member for Marketing.

Sycamore Revises Acquisition Terms for Eastern Research

Sycamore Networks announced a revised agreement to acquire Allen Organ's majority-owned subsidiary, Eastern Research, Inc., an innovative provider of network access solutions for wireline, wireless, and private network operators.

Under the new deal, Sycamore will pay $80 million in cash to Allen Organ shareholders and the minority shareholders of Eastern Research.

The original deal contemplated a $92.5 million transaction, comprised of approximately $84.5 million in Sycamore stock and $8 million in cash, based on trailing average closing prices of Sycamore's stock at the time. The boards of both companies approved the revised agreement. http://www.sycamorenet.com
  • Sycamore first announced plans to acquire Eastern Research in April 2006.

  • Eastern Research' product portfolio spans multiservice cross-connects and access gateways that aggregate, groom, and manage bandwidth in access portions of wireline and wireless infrastructure networks. Its customer base include Tier 1 fixed line and mobile network operators, utility companies, government agencies, and military networks. The company is based in Moorestown, New Jersey. For calendar year 2005, Eastern Research had revenue of approximately $62 million.

AMCC Reports Revenue of $69.7 Million, Positive Trends

AMCC reported revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2007 was $69.7 million compared to $67.0 million reported in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006 and $64.7 million reported in the first quarter of fiscal 2006.

The company's cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments at June 30, 2006 totaled $336.1 million, an increase of $400,000 over the comparable balance at March 31, 2006.

"We delivered the top end of our revenue guidance and we continue to be encouraged by solid customer traction and a good ramp on our design wins," said Kambiz Hooshmand, president and chief executive officer.

AMCC noted that its audit committee is still reviewing the company's historical stock option grant practices and related accounting. Finalized financial results are pending this review.

FCC Affirms Broadband over Powerline Rules

In response to several industry petitions for reconsideration of current regulations, the FCC affirmed its rules for Access Broadband over Power Line (Access BPL) systems while maintaining safeguards against harmful interference to existing radio services. The BPL rules were established in October of 2004.

Specifically, the FCC:

  • Affirms its rules regarding emission limits for BPL, including its determination that the reduction of emissions to 20 dB below the normal Part 15 emissions limits will constitute adequate interference protection for mobile operations;

  • Denies the request by the amateur radio community to prohibit BPL operations pending further study and to exclude BPL from frequencies used for amateur radio operations;

  • Denies the request by the television industry to exclude BPL from frequencies above 50 MHz;

  • Affirms the July 7, 2006 deadline for requiring certification for any equipment manufactured, imported or installed on BPL systems, with the proviso that uncertified equipment already in inventory can be used for replacing defective units or to supplement equipment on existing systems for one year within areas already in operation;

  • Affirms the requirement that information regarding BPL deployment must be provided in a public database at least 30 days prior to the deployment of that equipment;

  • Adopts changes regarding protection of radio astronomy stations by requiring a new exclusion zone and amending consultation requirements for these stations; and

  • Adopts changes to provide for continuing protection for aeronautical stations that are relocated.

  • Denies the request by the aeronautical industry to exclude BPL operating on low-voltage lines from frequencies reserved for certain aeronautical operations;

  • Denies the request by the gas and petroleum industry to be considered as public safety entities;
http://www.fcc.govIn October 2004, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the FCC have concluded that the interference concerns of licensed radio users can be adequately addressed under the Part 15 model. Specifically, the FCC order:

  • set forth rules imposing new technical requirements on BPL devices, such as the capability to avoid using any specific frequency and to remotely adjust or shut down any unit;

  • established "excluded frequency bands" within which BPL must avoid operating entirely to protect aeronautical and aircraft receivers communications; and established "exclusion zones" in locations close to sensitive operations, such as coast guard or radio astronomy stations, within which BPL must avoid operating on certain frequencies;

  • established consultation requirements with public safety agencies, federal government sensitive stations, and aeronautical stations.

  • established a publicly available Access BPL notification database to facilitate an organized approach to identification and resolution of harmful interference.

  • changed the equipment authorization for Access BPL systems from verification to certification; and

  • improved measurement procedures for all equipment that use RF energy to communicate over power lines.

AMCC to Acquire Quake for 10 GigE PHYs

Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (AMCC) agreed to acquire Quake Technologies, a developer of 10 Gigabit Ethernet PHY technology, for approximately $69 million in cash (net of the estimated cash and receivables that AMCC expects to assume in the deal).

Quake's silicon is designed in and shipping to the leading vendors of enterprise networking gear.

Quake Technologies was founded in 2000 and is based in Ottawa, Canada.

"Quake is the worldwide leading provider of 10GE PHY silicon. They have captured significant designs with the leading vendors in the Enterprise and Data Center markets," said Kambiz Hooshmand, president and CEO of AMCC. "This acquisition allows AMCC to obtain an early entrance and strong presence into this rapidly expanding, high volume market."http://www.amcc.com
  • In July 2006, Quake Technologies announced the availability of the industry's first integrated physical layer IC for all SFP+ 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GE) applications. Quake's QT2035S is the first silicon device to integrate a standard XAUI-interface 10G Ethernet PHY, with complete SFP+ signal processing support.

    SFP+ modules, by virtue of being 40% smaller than XFP modules, allow for full-density 48-port designs. Elimination of redundant electronics in the module reduces power consumption by at least 500mW per port while dramatically lowering end-user costs.

  • In April 2006, Quake Technologies reached the milestone of more than 300,000 10 Gigabit Ethernet Physical Layer ICs (PHYs) shipments to date.

  • Quake first entered the 10GE PHY market in 2001 with a serial-to-XAUI device.

Vodafone Italy Selects Lucent for HomeZone Local + Mobile Service

Vodafone Italy has deployed a Lucent intelligent network solution for a "Vodafone Casa" service that allows subscribers to use their mobile phones both as home phones and as a mobile device, enabling subscribers to pay the same lower tariffs for mobile calls as for calls originated when at home.

The "Vodafone Casa" service, which replaces fixed telephone service, uses Lucent's "SurePay" Real Time Rating and Charging Suite, which enables the carrier to determine where a call is originated. A subscriber can define their HomeZone area and benefit from a different tariff when originating calls from their home area. Subscribers benefit from a single number, single service for all of their communication needs -- whether at home or on the go.

Lucent's SurePay suite is a converged pre-paid and post-paid billing solution that provides support for a wide variety of voice, data, content charging and e-commerce services. The system also features real-time rating and call-control capabilities -- including call screenings and announcements of account status. It also supports data and content charging via Diameter, the on- line charging interface specified by 3GPP standardization body for the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) service delivery architecture.

Lucent's services organization conducted the network integration for this project, providing the deployment and network migration services to help Vodafone Italy introduce the new capabilities on its multi-vendor network and launch the commercial offer.


Verizon Wireless Ships EV-DO Modems

Verizon Wireless announced the availability of Novatel Wireless' WWAN PCI ExpressCard/34 for use on its BroadbandAccess 3G Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) network. The card is also backward compatible with Verizon Wireless' NationalAccess network, allowing use outside of the EV-DO coverage area.

Verizon Wireless also began offering AirLink's line modems for use on the EV-DO network.

Customers with any monthly Verizon Wireless voice plan can receive unlimited BroadbandAccess for Internet browsing, e-mail and intranet access for an additional $59.99 monthly access. For non-voice customers, BroadbandAccess is available for $79.99 monthly access for unlimited use for Internet browsing, e-mail and intranet access.

Sprint Nextel Misses Estimates, Wireless Subscriptions Reach 51.7 million

Sprint Nextel reported consolidated Q2 revenue of $10.0 billion, an increase of 76 percent on a reported basis and 5 percent compared to pro forma revenues in the 2005 second quarter. For the quarter, diluted earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations were 10 cents, compared to 22 cents per share for the second quarter of 2005. The year-ago results do not include the Nextel operations or the acquired PCS affiliates and results from Local have been classified as discontinued operations in all periods presented.

Some highlights:

  • Long Distance revenues were better than expected, but Wireless revenue gains from a larger subscriber base and demand for data services were offset by an increased number of customers adopting lower priced voice service plans and lower pre-paid pricing.

  • Sprint cited lower post-paid performance. Wireless acquisition and revenue trends are expected to cause full-year net operating revenues and Adjusted OIBDA to be below prior targets.

  • Wireless added 708,000 retail subscribers including 210,000 post-paid and 498,000 prepaid customers under the Boost Mobile brand. With the purchase of Nextel Partners, the total base is 51.7 million, an increase of 17% from the year-ago period. In the past 12 months, organic growth in the total subscriber base was 5.2 million.

  • Total retail gross additions were approximately 3.8 million, compared to 3.5 million a year ago and 4.1 million in the first quarter. Post-paid gross additions were 2.7 million, a decline of 10% sequentially and 8% year-over-year. Sequentially, declining sub-prime credit gross additions offset increased prime credit additions.

  • Post-paid churn in the quarter was 2.1%, matching the first quarter of 2006. Boost churn was 6.0% in the quarter, versus a normalized rate of 5.4% in the first quarter.

  • Direct post-paid ARPU was under $62, a decline of 6% from a year ago and 1% sequentially. The annual decline is due to lower average monthly voice price plans and reduced overage charges offset by strong growth in data. About a third of the annual ARPU decline is attributable to acquisitions of affiliates. Sequentially, lower average monthly voice price plan revenues were partially offset by higher data revenues. Boost ARPU was under $34 in the quarter due to lower pricing and lower average usage, compared to $36 in the first quarter and $38 for the year-ago period.

  • Data service revenues increased nearly 70% compared to the year-ago period and contributed $7.25 to direct post-paid ARPU, compared to $7.00 in the first quarter. The company announced today that it will expand its 3G broadband wireless services to an area covering 200 million people by year end and that it will begin to deploy the next step in 3G technology beginning in the fourth quarter.

Sprint Nextel Expands VoIP Business with Time Warner Cable

Sprint Nextel has been selected to help provision Time Warner Cable's Digital Phone service in an additional 14 service areas. Under the five-year deal, which significantly expands the existing relationship between the companies, Time Warner Cable will soon utilize Sprint Nextel's IP Network to offer VoIP service across most of its footprint of approximately 28 million homes-passed, except for Time Warner Cable's systems in New Hampshire and Maine. Sprint Nextel will carry long-distance traffic for Time Warner Cable residential customers and provide turnkey telephone services such as 911 services,
relay systems and operator services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Sprint Nextel said it now serves cable companies with a total of more than 1.2 million VoIP subscribers across more than 1,100 rate centers. Over the next year, the company expects to provide cable telephony wireline services to cable companies serving over 2.5 million subscribers.
  • In November 2005, Sprint Nextel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Advance/Newhouse Communications outlined their plans to form a joint venture to offer "Quadruple Play" services -- video entertainment, wireline voice, and wireless voice and high-speed data services. The joint venture, which is mutually exclusive for three years and has a 20-year term, calls for a combined initial financial commitment of $200 million, $100 million of which will be committed by Sprint and $100 million of which will be committed collectively by the cable companies. The investment is expected to be used to fund the development of the converged services, national marketing initiatives and back office integration.

Sprint Accelerates EV-DO Revision A Mobile Broadband Upgrade

Following successful performance tests in San Diego last week, Sprint has decided to speed up its deployment plan of EV-DO Revision A technology. The company now plans to begin its roll out of EV-DO Revision A service during Q4 2006, with coverage expected to reach more than 40 million people by year end.

Sprint said EV-DO Rev A users should expect faster average download speeds of 450 - 800 kbps; and average upload speeds of 300 - 400 kbps.

Overall, Sprint plans to reach more than 200 million people in the U.S. with mobile broadband data services (both EV-DO Revisions 0 and A) in 220 major metropolitan areas and 908 airports across the country with its Power Vision network by the end of 2006.

By Q3 2007, Sprint's Power Vision network will be completely upgraded to the faster EV-DO Revision A.

Additionally, Sprint has been demonstrating applications such as all IP video telephony, high performance push-to-talk (walkie-talkie service), multi-user video conferencing, real time gaming and video streaming of both content and live web cams simultaneously over the upgraded network.

In conjunction with the rollout of the upgraded mobile broadband network, Sprint will market a variety of EV-DO Revision A compatible devices, starting first with connection cards offered in PCMCIA Type II, USB, and ExpressCard form factors. These devices will also work on the current Sprint Power Vision network.

Nortel Reports Q2 Revenue of $2.74 billion, up 5% YOY

Nortel Networks reported Q2 revenues of $2.74 billion, up 5% year over year. Q2 net earnings were $366 million, $0.08 per common share on a diluted basis.

Mobility and Converged Core Networks revenues were $1.59 billion, an increase of 7 percent compared with the year-ago quarter and an increase of 12 percent sequentially.

Enterprise Solutions and Packet Networks revenues were $1.07 billion, a decrease of 1 percent compared with the year-ago quarter and an increase of 23 percent sequentially.

Deferred revenues decreased sequentially by $14 million and backlog increased by approximately $194 million.

"Our second quarter performance underscores both the challenges and good progress we are making with Nortel's transformation. On the plus side we saw strong order growth of 22% and increased sales momentum but gross margin was up only modestly and not at the 40% target we have set for ourselves," said Mike Zafirovski, president and chief executive officer, Nortel.

AOL Offers 5 GB of Online Storage for Free to All Web Users

Starting in early September, AOL will make 5 GB of online storage available for free to all Web users. The storage offering, powered by AOL's "Xdrive" service, allows users to access their files from any PC or mobile device with a Web connection, share them with others by granting file/folder permission, move them via drag-and-drop tools, automatically back up important files or folders, and auto-upload any e-mail attachments they receive via major providers. There will be no charges for user to upload or download.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

DiVitas Raises $15 Million for Enterprise FMC Platform

DiVitas Networks, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, raised $15 million in series B funding for its enterprise-class fixed-mobile-convergence (FMC) platform that enables seamless roaming between Wi-Fi and cellular networks.

The platform, which is currently in beta testing, is being designed to work with in any corporate WLAN environment, with any PBX, and over any type of fixed, mobile, or wireless network. A light, client application would run on the dual-mode handset.

DiVitas said the key mission for its forthcoming platform is to provide the cost advantages of seamlessly bridging cellular calls over to lower cost WLANs while enabling enterprises to retain control of this process. This would include the ability to monitor media quality in order to specify when and how handoffs should occur, and the ability to implement advanced security. Security capabilities include application-layer authentication, authorization and access control, session-layer end-to-end encryption, packet filtering and bandwidth policing, network-layer STUN, NAT/Firewall Traversal and automatic pre-authentication.

In the funding round, lead investor Menlo Ventures was joined by existing investor Clearstone Venture Partners. To date, the company has raised $23 million.
  • DiVitas was founded by president and CEO Vivek Khuller and CTO Venkat Kalkunte. Khuller was previously a venture partner at Clearstone Venture Partners, entrepreneur in residence at Matrix Partners, and an executive at Sycamore Networks and Verizon. Kalkunte formerly worked at Cisco, and was founding engineer of Transmedia Communications, which Cisco purchased in 1999. He also worked at Alteon, Stratacom, and other technology companies.

MovieBeam Cites High Customer Satisfaction

MovieBeam, the movies-on-demand service backed The Walt Disney Company, Cisco Systems, Intel and leading venture capital firms, said that nearly 90 percent of respondents to a recent customer survey were "extremely satisfied," "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with their MovieBeam experience.

The MovieBeam movies-on-demand service provides instant access to a library of protected content stored on a set-top box with a hard drive. New content is delivered via MovieBeam's over-the-air datacasting technology.

The service launched in 29 major metropolitan areas across the U.S. in February.

MovieBeam did not disclose the number of subscribers or its churn rate.

Key findings of their customer survey include:

  • Convenience is the number-one reason people chose to purchase a MovieBeam player, with 86 percent of respondents citing this as a factor in their decision. Sixty-three percent cited "no monthly fees," followed by "no late fees" at 47 percent.

  • Going to the video store was the primary way most respondents (60
    percent) were renting movies prior to purchasing a MovieBeam player.

  • Twenty-five percent were previously using a DVD-by-mail service.

  • Only 14 percent had been using a pay-per-view or video-on-demand service through a cable or satellite provider, and less than two percent had been using an Internet-based video-on-demand service.

  • Nearly 80 percent of respondents said they browse for movies on their MovieBeam player at least once each week, six percent of whom check out MovieBeam every day.

  • More than half of respondents (53 percent) reported that their MovieBeam player is connected to a high-definition television (HD TV).

  • Other components connected to the TV where respondents use their MovieBeam player include a DVD player (89 percent), a cable or satellite receiver (61 percent) and a home theater surround sound system (59 percent).

  • Most MovieBeam players (59 percent) are set up in customers' living rooms, with another 27 percent of respondents citing a "home theater room" as the place they use their MovieBeam player.
  • The MovieBeam datacasting signal rides on top of the existing PBS broadcasting infrastructure and National Datacast's network. MovieBeam's HDD player ensures that there are always 100 movies immediately available, with up to 10 new titles automatically delivered digitally each week -- including select movies in high definition (HD).

Australia's Nextgen to Offer National Ethernet VPLS

Nextgen Networks, a specialist provider of high performance data services, plans to provide Australia's first national Ethernet VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service) connectivity.

Customer benefits will include: the flexibility of a single service at any location, with any-to-any connectivity in a national, secure, multipoint VPN; support for the widest range of IT applications because the Layer 2 Ethernet VPN is protocol transparent to any Layer 3 IP application; customer control of how the network connects to a VPN and how the IP network layer is configured; support for real time and mission critical applications with packaged and standard offering of QoS profiles; and the lowest cost of ownership and operational simplicity with Ethernet connectivity and bundled pricing which is inclusive of most features.

The new network incorporates Alcatel's IP/MPLS-based solutions, including the Alcatel 7750 Service Router, across the seven capital cities of Australia, and setting a new market standard for enabling the delivery of profitable national Ethernet services and high-density aggregation over IP/MPLS-based networks.

Alcatel Supplies Digital Microwave + Optical for Iraqi Nationwide Backbone

Alcatel has been selected to deliver a turnkey high capacity nation-wide microwave backbone to Iraqi Telecommunications & Post Corporation (ITPC), the sole fixed operator in Iraq. Under the EUR 30 million contract, which is being financed by The World Bank, Alcatel will supply its Alcatel 9600 LSY high-capacity long haul digital microwave radio transmission backbone along with Optical Multi-Service Node (OMSN) systems, PDH multiplex and cross connect. Alcatel will also provide end-to-end network management, power supply equipment and towers providing efficient control & routing throughout the network.

Qwest Reports Improving Revenue and Earnings

Qwest Communications reported revenue of $3.5 billion for the second quarter, benefiting from improving sales for high-speed Internet, advanced data products, long distance and wireless. For the quarter, Qwest reported net income of $117 million, or $0.06 per fully diluted share, compared with a loss of $164 million, or ($0.09) per share in the second quarter 2005.

"We are very pleased that we've entered the second half of the year with the momentum of two profitable quarters," said Richard C. Notebaert, Qwest chairman and CEO. "Our cost structure and investments remain focused and rational while customers are embracing our higher-value, higher ARPU products that contribute to our revenue."

During Q2, Qwest added 120,000 DSL lines, bringing total subscribers to 1.8 million -- a 7 percent increase sequentially and a 51 percent increase year-over-year.

Currently, 80 percent of Qwest's households are eligible for broadband services, up from approximately 67 percent at the end of 2004.

About 98 percent of qualified households are able to purchase broadband speeds of 1.5 Mbps or greater, more than 50 percent are able to purchase service at speeds in excess of 3.0 Mbps, and more than 25 percent are able to purchase service at speeds in excess of 7.0 Mbps.

See also