Wednesday, October 11, 2006

FCC Postpones Vote on AT&T + BellSouth by One Day

The FCC postponed consideration of the proposed AT&T + BellSouth merger by one day to allow last minute negotiations between FCC Commissioners. On Wednesday and Thursday a number of prominent Democratic congressmen expressed their dismay when the Department of Justice (DOJ) failed to impose any conditions on the transaction. Media speculation held that the two Democratic commissioners (Copps and Adelstein) were seeking to have Net Neutrality and consumer protection provisions included as part of any FCC approval of the merger. The issue is now expected to be considered at an FCC meeting scheduled for Friday, October 13.

Internap to Acquire VitalStream for Content Delivery Services

Internap Network Services Corporation, which provides performance-based routing over the Internet, agreed to acquire VitalStream Holdings, a provider of audio and video streaming services. The stock-for-stock transaction is valued at an aggregate purchase price of approximately $217 million.

Internap said the acquisition would enhance its ability to access the high-growth streaming media and on-line advertising segments. The combination of VitalStream's content delivery services, content management tools and particular expertise in Adobe (formerly Macromedia) Flash technology, with Internap's high performance route management network, will enable the new organization to address the needs of enterprises seeking to deliver large format media files in a streamed environment.

The combined company will have more than 450 employees and over 3,000 enterprise customers.


FCC Considers Permitting Low Power Devices in Unused TV Spectrum

The FCC took its first important steps toward allowing new low power devices to operate in the broadcast television spectrum at locations where channels in that spectrum are not in use by television stations or other authorized services.

In its First Report and Order, the Commission concluded that fixed low power devices can be allowed to operate on TV channels in areas where those frequencies are not being used for TV or other incumbent licensed services. The Commission declined to permit operation on TV channel 37 that is used by radio astronomy and wireless medical telemetry services; and on TV channels 52-69, which have been reallocated for public safety and other mobile services. It also declined to permit the operation of personal/portable devices on TV channels 14-20, which are used by public safety service in 13 cities, leaving for further consideration the issue of whether fixed devices might be used in that band.

Marketing of such devices may commence on February 18, 2009, after the digital television (DTV) transition is complete and all TV stations are in operation on their permanent DTV channels.

In the Further Notice, the Commission invited further comment on a number of issues that were raised in response to the Notice of Proposed Rule Making. It solicited additional information that is needed to determine whether personal/portable devices can operate in any of the TV channels without causing harmful interference. It also invited comment to explore whether low power devices should be permitted on TV channels 2-4, which are used by TV interface devices such as VCRs, and whether fixed low power devices can be permitted on TV channels 14-20.

Intel Ships WiMAX Chip Supporting Mobile and Fixed Implementations

Intel announced the availability of its WiMAX Connection 2250, next-generation system-on-chip -- its first designed to support mobile networks in addition to fixed networks. The device is optimized for WiMAX modems.

Intel said its WiMAX Connection 2250 is the industry's first dual-mode baseband chip, and when paired with Intel's discrete tri-band WiMAX radio, the solution is capable of supporting all global WiMAX frequencies. Compliance with both the IEEE 802.16-2004 fixed standard and the more advanced IEEE 802.16e-2005 specification for fixed, nomadic and mobile WiMAX functionality enables the development of customer premise equipment that can be deployed in "d" mode and upgraded to "e" mode with an over-the-air software upgrade.

Motorola intends to integrate the Intel WiMAX Connection 2250 into its CPEi 200 Series of WiMAX customer premise equipment. Motorola joins several other leading telecom manufacturers currently expected to deliver Intel WiMAX Connection 2250-based products in 2007.

Among the service providers and equipment manufacturers currently providing Intel WiMAX Connection 2250-based solutions and services are Telefónica de España and Iberbanda working with Alvarion; Pipex and Yozan working with Airspan Networks; GTS Poland working with Aperto Networks; Teledata Moçambique, Lda (Africa), Crowley Data (Poland) and Integrated Telecom Company Ltd. (ITC) (Saudi Arabia) working with Redline Communications. In addition, Motorola, Alcatel, Navini, Proxim, Siemens and SR Telecom, among others, have announced they will also incorporate the new Intel chip into their product lines.

Intel also noted that work has begun on a mobile WiMAX trial in Portland, Ore. in collaboration with Clearwire and Motorola. The trial is expected to run through 2007.

Amsterdam to Deploy Cisco's Ethernet Fibre to the Home

The City of Amsterdam has begun construction of a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network based on an open architecture and Cisco Systems' Ethernet platforms. The rollout of the network starts in the Zeeburg district of Amsterdam, followed by Oost/Watergraafsmeer and Osdorp. The network aims to connect 450,000 citizens, institutes and companies by 2010. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The CityNet project is conceived as three distinct layers, each of which will be managed by seperate parties.

  • For the infrastructure, Glasvezelnet Amsterdam (GNA) is laying the network and will remain the owner of the physical ducting, glass fibre and area supply buildings. ARCADIS is responsible for the preparations as well as the technical consultation and coordination of the network installation, as well as drafting the contracts for the service provision, management and maintenance of the network. The combination of companies BAM/VandenBerg-Draka (BD) are building the network and will be responsible for the maintenance of the network.

  • The second layer encompasses activation and utilization of the network. BBNed is leasing the glass fibres from GNA and will act as a wholeseller to other service providers.

  • The third layer is the service layer: all the service providers will be able to buy transport capacity on the open network in order to offer new services.

CityNet is based on an MPLS core network with an Ethernet Fiber-to-the-Home (E-FTTH) design using a per-service virtual local area network (VLAN) architecture. Each VLAN is terminated on a different physical port at the customer premises equipment, providing logical separation of services. This allows each end-user to have multiple subscriptions to a range of services, with each subscription invoiced separately by a specialist service provider. The Cisco E-FTTH solution includes Cisco 7600 Series Routers and the Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Switches.
  • In June 2006, the Dutch Lower Chamber adopted a new Telecommunication Law that allows municipalities to participate in optical fiber projects. Every five years municipalities are obliged to consider whether they will keep their share in a local fiber network.

  • GNA BV (GNA Ltd)is owned by private investors ING Real Estate and Reggefiber, five housing corporations and the City of Amsterdam. The municipality does not subsidize but invests euro 6 million on exactly the same terms as the other owners of GNA. The passive network will be let to operator BBned, which will sell capacity to corporations that provide services to end users. The network is open, which means that all service providers can make use of it on equal terms.

  • BBned's largest investor is Telecom Italia.

Bluetooth TransSend Capability Enables Web to Mobile Updates

The Bluetooth SIG introduced its free, TransSend client/server application that allows Internet content such as maps, addresses, phone numbers and other text and images to be wirelessly transferred from a Bluetooth enabled PC to another mobile Bluetooth device such as a phone or PDA.

Users will have two simple ways to TransSend content from the Internet to their Bluetooth mobile devices: they can click on a TransSend and Bluetooth icon next to the content or they can right click on specific information and select the option within the menu to TransSend the data. With either method, the computer will automatically begin searching for Bluetooth devices within range and allow the user to select the device they wish to receive the information.

AboveNet to Provide 10G Wavelength to Brasil Telecom / GlobeNet

AboveNet Communications will provide diverse, 10G lit-wavelength connectivity to Brasil Telecom / GlobeNet to link the carrier's cable landing station in Tuckerton, NJ directly into telx's 60 Hudson Meet-Me-Room in New York City. Brasil Telecom / GlobeNet is an international carrier's carrier that operates a submarine fiber optic network linking North and South America.

FreeBe Mobile TV Launches in US

ROK Entertainment Group launched a free mobile TV service offering 13 channels of content, including live news, music and sports.

The company said its FreeBe TV is carrier agnostic and can be accessed from 21 mobile phones with WAP-enabled capabilities. The service was developed to deliver high quality video content over 2.5G GPRS and is aimed at people with "all you can eat" GPRS data packages.

Motorola to Supply Linux-Based STBs to T-Com Croatia and TEO LT

Motorola will supply its Linux-based VIP range of IP set-tops
for IPTV services to T-Com Croatia and Lithuania-based TEO LT. The VIP set-tops, with the Motorola KreaTV Application Platform software, are small, stylish devices that provide IPTV services over DSL networks. They support a range of video codecs including the MPEG-4 (H.264). Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • In February 2006, Motorola acquired Kreatel Communications, a developer of IPTV set-tops, for an undisclosed sum. Kreatel's Linux-based solution extends into the application and middleware layers, allowing it to be used with a broad set of middleware solutions. Kreatel's customer base includes such major service providers as Telefonica (Spain), TeliaSonera (Sweden), and KPN (The Netherlands).

Linksys Releases Wireless-N Gigabit Router with StorageLink

Linksys, a division of Cisco Systems, announced the availability of its first gigabit wireless-N router, delivering up to four times the range and 12 times the throughput when teamed with matching Wireless N adapters compared to standard Wireless-G routers.

The Linksys Wireless-N Gigabit Router with Storage Link features Gigabit switch ports, along with a Storage Link capability that enable any USB 2.0 storage device, including inexpensive external USB Hard Disk Drives, to become networked attached storage. The unit has an estimated street price of $229.99.

Linksys also noted that it has shipped more than 25 million wireless routers since the company launched its first wireless router in January 2001. When Linksys first started shipping wireless routers, it shipped about 100,000 each month. Today the company ships nearly one million wireless routers world wide on a monthly basis including Wireless-B, Wireless-G, Wireless A+G and Wireless-N Routers.

Shanghai Telecom Deploys Nortel's Metro Ethernet

Shanghai Telecom is deploying Nortel's Metro Ethernet solution to drive new business services, including next-generation network voice services, Ethernet VPN-based business continuity services and IPTV services.

Shanghai Telecom will be deploying Nortel's high-performance Metro Ethernet Routing Switch 8600 at the network core. At the network edge, Nortel's Ethernet Services Unit 1800 will provide the delivery point for Ethernet-based services.

Underpinning the Nortel Metro Ethernet Networking portfolio are new technologies - Provider Backbone Bridging (PBB) and Provider Backbone Transport (PBT).

Sony's mylo Gets One Year Free T-Mobile Wi-Fi Service

Purchasers of Sony's new mylo personal communicator devices will be offered up to twelve months of complimentary T-Mobile HotSpot service in the US, under a deal announced by the companies. Starting in mid-November 2006, mylo communication devices will get online access for no charge at more than 7,000 T-Mobile HotSpot locations in the United States.

Sony's pocket-sized device works in any open 802.11b wireless network to provide instant messaging, VoIP calling, email, web browsing and media playback. The communicator comes with Skype, Google Talk and Yahoo! Messenger software.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

DIRECTV 9S Satellite Successfully Launched

DIRECTV's latest hybrid Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) was successfully launched aboard an Ariane 5 ECA rocket from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. DIRECTV 9S, which was built by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), carries 52 high-power Ku-band transponders and 2 Ka-band transponders. The satellite, a version of SS/L's space-proven 1300 satellite platform tailored for DIRECTV's payload requirements, is similar to DIRECTV 7S, launched in May 2004, with the addition of two Ka-band transponders.

DIRECTV 9S is one of four satellites DIRECTV has launched over the past two years. The next scheduled satellite launches for DIRECTV are DIRECTV 10 and DIRECTV 11 in 2007. The two satellites will provide DIRECTV with the capacity to offer more than 150 national HD channels and more than 1,500 local HD channels.

Earlier this month, DIRECTV confirmed plans to offer local HD broadcast networks in 67 markets, representing approximately 74 percent of U.S. TV households, by year end when it rolls out 25 more local HD markets in the fourth quarter. DIRECTV currently offers standard-definition local channels in 142 markets, covering nearly 94 percent of television households in the country, as well as 42 HD local channel markets representing approximately 62 percent of U.S. TV households.

Italtel and Cisco Offer Integrated Networked Business Voice Solution

Italtel announced a new joint solution with Cisco Systems that enables service providers to offer managed and hosted IP communication solutions, facilitating the adoption of advanced Unified Communications services for businesses. With the solution, operators can provide end-to-end remote management, carrier-grade quality of service and security, and advanced, customizable services, such as centralized contact directories, unified messaging and fixed-mobile integration, all fully integrated with the existing enterprise IT environment. The solution also allows the operator to efficiently manage the migration of legacy voice networks to IP-based networks.

The Italtel-Cisco Integrated Networked Business Voice Solution (IN-BVS) integrates the Italtel Softswitch (i-SSW) with Cisco Unified CallManager (CCM) and Cisco Unified CallManager Express (CCME) call-control systems. Using Italtel's "Coordinated Provisioning" platform, service providers can remotely configure, manage and monitor all services provided at the customer's premises.

The companies said their joint solution is being deployed by a number of European Service Providers as part of their IP next-generation network (IP NGN) strategy.


Cisco and MetaSwitch Cite Gains in Joint CLEC Network Migrations

More than 20 competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) have adopted Metaswitch's Secure IP Migration Platform for the Local Exchange (SIMPLE) solution, which integrates IP Next-Generation Networking (IP NGN) technologies from Cisco Systems. Recent customer wins include BroadStar Communications and Norlight Telecommunications.

BroadStar worked closely with MetaSwitch and Cisco to architect a scalable triple-play solution for luxury residential properties, including condominiums. The design features Cisco integrated access devices (IADs) and Cisco 7600 Series Routers with a softswitch application server platform from MetaSwitch to deliver multiple lines of high-quality voice and unified communications services to a single building over an all-IP access network.

Norlight, which serves wholesale and business customers, turned to MetaSwitch and Cisco to re-engineer its network and launch a suite of new IP voice services (including its newest integrated communications offering, "IPLive") in less than four months.


Alcatel and Amdocs' Cramer OSS Suite Selected by Telekom Austria

Telekom Austria selected Alcatel to deploy an integrated end-to end fulfillment solution for next generation services. Alcatel will act as the prime integrator of Amdocs' technology, which is based on the solution developed by Cramer, Amdocs OSS Division. The solution will be operational across Austria's leading provider of telecommunications services later this year.

The joint fulfillment solution will leverage the Cramer OSS Suite and Alcatel's equipment and integration expertise to automate the end-to-end fulfillment of services for Telekom Austria, including "triple play" bundles of voice, video and Internet services.

  • In July 2006, Amdocs agreed to acquire Cramer Systems, a supplier of operations support systems (OSS) solutions, for approximately $375 million in cash.

  • In August 2005, Alcatel and Amdocs agreed to collaborate to address the requirements of communications service providers planning to deploy IPTV and other next generation broadband IP services.

  • In May 2005, SBC Communications (now AT&T) awarded a multi-million dollar, multi-year contract to Amdocs to provide its customer lifecycle management solutions for Project Lightspeed.

Bell Canada Simplifies its Structure, Eliminating BCE Holding Company

BCE will eliminate its holding company operations and convert Bell Canada into an income trust. BCE common shares are to be exchanged on a one-for-one basis for units in the Bell Canada Income Fund.

"The elimination of BCE is a further step in our plan to focus on Bell and our communications operations," said Michael Sabia, Chief Executive Officer of BCE and Bell Canada. "That is the business we know. That is the business we will stick to."

Twango Launches Photo/Video Sharing Service

Twango, a start-up based in Redmond, Washington, launched a free, media-sharing service for photos, video, audio, Microsoft Office documents and PDFs.

The company's founders were previously senior managers with Microsoft.

Belgacom Selects Ruckus Wireless Gateways for IPTV

Belgacom selected Ruckus Wireless to supply in-home "smart Wi-Fi" systems to support its popular digital broadband TV service -- Belgacom TV. Belgacom is offering consumers the Ruckus MediaFlex system at a one-time nominal cost in lieu of cable installation. It is also making the system available in some 150 Belgacom retail and dealer outlets.

Belgacom was providing IPTV services to more than 73,000 customers at the end of June. The carrier delivers more than 70 IPTV channels through its "Classic +" service including national and a range of international channels for EUR 9.95 per month. In addition, Belgacom TV offers the "Select" package of 15 new channels for EUR 14.94 per month as well as on-demand services with more than 300 movies available from EUR 2 to EUR 5 per movie.

Nokia to Offer 2.5 GHz WiMAX Base Station in 2007

Nokia plans to introduce a "Flexi" WiMAX Base Station for the 2.5 GHz band at the end of 2007 and for 3.5 GHz in 1Q 2008. WiMAX-capable Nokia mobile devices are expected to be available in 2008.

Nokia said its "Flexi" WiMAX Base Station will feature a small and modular design to optimize the costs of siting and operating WiMAX infrastructure. The compact size and light weight design of the base station modules minimizes the space needed, power consumption, and physical effort to install and run high quality WiMAX networks, and uses existing or new base station sites efficiently. It can be installed both indoors and outdoors and does not require air conditioning. Furthermore, its modularity will allow for easy capacity upgrades as traffic increases.

The Nokia Flexi WiMAX Base Station is part of Nokia's overall mobile WiMAX solution, which complements its current solutions to operators in cellular radio access technologies.