Friday, December 8, 2006

EC Approves Carphone Warehouse Acquisition of AOL's UK Internet Access Business

The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of the UK internet access business of AOL by Carphone Warehouse Group plc of the UK. The Commission said it did not believe the deal would impede competition.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

FCC General Counsel Clears McDowell to Vote in AT&T/BellSouth Proceeding

The General Counsel of the FCC cleared Commissioner Robert McDowell from any conflict of interest concern that might otherwise have prevented him from voting on the AT&T/BellSouth merger proceeding.

McDowell previously served as Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for the Competitive Telecommunications Association (CompTel), an organization which has opposed the pending merger. Initially, McDowell had recused himself from voting on the merger.

In October, the FCC postponed a vote on the AT&T + BellSouth merger, as the Democrat commissioners sought concessions from the companies, while the two Republican commissioners sought a quick approval of the transaction.

The FCC's General Counsel said that it has the authority to permit an commission employee to participate in a particular matter that might otherwise raise the issue of impartiality, based on the determination that "the interest of the Government in the employee's participation outweighs the concern that a reasonable person may question the integrity of the agency's programs and operations."

AMC-18 Successfully Launched

SES AMERICOM's AMC-18 satellite was successfully launched from Kourou, French Guiana aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle provided by Arianespace. Signal acquisition was confirmed from Lockheed Martin's satellite tracking station in Uralla, Australia.

AMC-18, which was built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS), is an advanced C-band satellite that carries twenty-four 36 MHz C-band transponders for providing cable programming and broadcast services to the 50 United States and the Caribbean. It will become the third satellite in SES Americom's HD-PRIME neighborhood, joining AMC-10 and AMC-11, which are near capacity.

Lockheed Martin is currently building AMC-14, which is scheduled to be launched in 2007.
  • In November, SES AMERICOM announced that its IP-PRIME service is now carrying 290 TV channels. The latest programmers to join IP-PRIME represent 80 television channels and more than 90 music audio channels, with the complete MTV Networks lineup. The service originates from the IP-PRIME IPTV Broadcast Center based in Vernon Valley, New Jersey, where video and audio programming is received, processed, and then securely transported nationwide over the AMC-9 satellite to authorized video hubs and consumer set top boxes.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

ITU Telecom World Hong Kong Reports 43,000 Trade Visitors

ITU TELECOM WORLD 2006 in Hong Kong closed its doors on Friday
and reported a total of 43,846 registered trade visitors from 141 countries. There were 695 exhibitors from 37 countries, and over 500 CEOs, including from such companies as Alcatel-Lucent Technologies, AT&T, China Mobile, China Netcom, China Telecommunications, China Unicom, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, Huawei, IBM, Intel, LG Electronics, Microsoft, Motorola, NEC, Nortel, OKI, Orange, Qualcomm, Samsung, Siemens, SK telecom, Toshiba, Verizon, ZTE and others.

Ericsson Execs Acquitted in Tax Trial

All current and former Ericsson employees were acquitted of all charges related to last year's indictments for evasion of tax control, filed by the Swedish National Economic Crimes Bureau.

PT Telekomunikasi Selular selects Alcatel-Lucent

PT Telekomunikasi Selular, Indonesia's largest mobile operator, selected Alcatel-Lucent's optical cross-connect and multi-service technologies to enhance its current backhaul capacity and aggregation capabilities. The project will lay the foundation for new, IP-based business and entertainment mobile services. The deployment will use the 1678 Metro Core Connect (MCC) and data-aware Optical Multi-Service Node (OMSN) systems. Alcatel-Lucent is also integrating Automatic Switched Optical Network (ASON) and Generalized MPLS (GMPLS) technologies. Financial terms were not disclosed.

PT Telekomunikasi Selular currently serves more than 32 million subscribers and provides network coverage to over 90% of Indonesia's population.


Alcatel-Lucent Offers Managed Mobile TV in Asia-Pac

Alcatel-Lucent introduced a managed Mobile Interactive TV service in the Asian Pacific Region. Specifically, Alcatel-Lucent will deploy, host and operate the end-to-end mobile TV solution on behalf of other network operators. The service also offers content providers an open environment for content aggregation to create compelling "interactive made-for-mobile channels". The company said its offering enables network operators to introduce mobile TV service quickly, cost-effectively and at low risk.

Picolight Demos 10GBASE-LRM

Picolight demonstrated 1310 nanometer (nm) vertical cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) transceivers in a 10 gigabit Small Form Factor Pluggable (SFP+) design for the IEEE 802.3aq serial optical interface standard (10GBASE-LRM). The company said the new transceivers combine extended reach capability, small footprint and low power consumption. enabling extended link applications on legacy multimode fiber applications up to 220 meters in enterprise networks.

Earlier this year, Picolight was the first company to demonstrate 10G 850 and 1310nm VCSEL based SFP+ transceivers at OFC/NFOEC 2006. Since the initial demonstrations in March 2006, Picolight has sampled 8/10G 850nm SFP+ transceivers to more than 12 strategic customers and partners.

Italy's Wind Telecomunicazioni Selects Acme Packet

Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA has deployed Acme Packet's Net-Net session border controllers (SBCs) to support its new residential VoIP offering. The Net-Net SBCs are elements of an Alcatel-Lucent triple-play deployment and IP network transformation program announced in October 2006. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Net-Net SBCs are deployed in over 20 PoPs delivering simultaneous SIP and H.323 signaling and interworking between the two protocols.

Acme Packet said its broad signaling support in addition to its adaptive hosted NAT traversal allows Wind to maximize its service reach in a non-disruptive manner. The Net-SAFE security architecture provides topology hiding, access control and denial of service (DoS) attack prevention, ensuring the availability and quality of Wind's VoIP services. The SBCs also perform call admission control using flexibly defined local policies to assure service quality and network availability.

WildBlue-1 Satellite Successfully Launched

WildBlue Communications' Ka-band spot beam satellite, WildBlue-1 was successfully launched from Kourou, French Guiana aboard Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket.

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. Spot beam Ka-band satellites are a key component in WildBlue's low-cost wireless broadband infrastructure. WildBlue also utilizes the Ka-band spot beam capacity over the United States on Telesat Canada's Anik F2 satellite
  • WildBlue launched service in Q3 2005 and currently serves more than 100,000 customers nationwide with broadband satellite access.

  • In June 2006, 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.

  • 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.

European Commission Seeks Comments on Galileo Navigation System

The European Commission is seeking public comment on potential privacy and ethical issues that could arise with the deployment of the Galileo navigation system.

The European Union is building a global navigation satellite system called Galileo, which will offer positioning, navigation and timing services as from 2011. To date, one Galileo experimental satellite is already in the orbit and a second one will follow in 2007.

Galileo will compete with the current U.S.-funded Global Positioning System (GPS), promising greater reliability and efficiency. By boosting the development of new applications by European industry, Galileo is expected to create many jobs across the EU. The satellite navigation market, in which Galileo will play an important role, has been forecast to EUR 400 billions by 2025.

CableLabs Issues Call for DOCSIS 3.0 Devices

CableLabs and EURCableLabs issued a request for information (RFI) seeking product availability for devices that would comply with the Data over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) 3.0, which will enable downstream data rates up to 160 Mbps or higher and upstream data rates up to 120 Mbps or higher.

The RFI specifically seeks information on DOCSIS 3.0 modems, cable modem termination systems (CMTS) and PacketCable embedded multimedia terminal adapters (E-MTAs). It seeks information on what products are being developed to meet the requirements of the DOCSIS 3.0 specifications.

CableLabs said its RFI reflects the importance that the cable television system operators throughout the world place in getting accurate product development and availability information on DOCSIS 3.0 devices from the equipment vendor community.

MSOs participating in the RFI are Advance/Newhouse Communications, Armstrong, Aurora Cable TV; Bend Broadband, Bresnan Communications, Cablevision Systems, Canal Digital Kabel TV AS, Charter Communications, Cogeco Câble; Comcast, ComHem AB, Cox Communications, Essent N.V.; Insight Communications, Kabel Baden-Württemberg GmbH & Co. KG; Kabel Deutschland GmbH; Liberty Global, Inc.; Mediacom Communications Corp.; NetCologne, ntl / TeleWest, ONO, Rogers Communications, Shaw Cablesystems, StarHub, SW Television Oy/Welho, TDC Kabel TV A/S, Telenet, Time Warner Cable; TVCabo Portugal, SA, UPC Broadband, Unity Media, and Vidéotron Ltée.

  • In August 2006, CableLabs officially issued Data-Over-Cable Service Interface Specifications (DOCSIS) 3.0 -- a new set of specifications enabling downstream data rates of 160 Mbps or higher and upstream data rates of 120 Mbps or higher over cable networks. To achieve these higher data rates DOCSIS 3.0 describes a methodology for channel bonding in both the upstream and downstream directions. DOCSIS 3.0 also incorporates support for IPv6.

  • In July 2006, CableLabs hosted a week long interoperability event to bring together suppliers that have been utilizing the specifications to develop DOCSIS 3.0 products. The interoperability event involved the following companies representing cable modem termination system (CMTS) headend equipment, consumer premise cable modems and test equipment: ARRIS, BigBand Networks, Broadcom Corp., Casa Systems, Conexant Systems, Filtronic Signal Solutions, NETGEAR, Scientific Atlanta a Cisco company, Cisco Linksys, and Cisco Systems.

SingTel to Test Alcatel-Lucent + Microsoft IPTV

Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel) has signed on to trial the joint Alcatel-Lucent/Microsoft TV IPTV Edition software platform. Alcatel-Lucent will also provide a complete services integration solution that brings together the network infrastructure, software platforms and integration skill sets

The project will include broadcast TV and video on demand (VoD), with content featuring HD-quality resolution.

Microsoft said SingTel represents the 16th telecommunications operator worldwide to sign up to trial or deploy its IPTV Edition software platform, and the second in Asia.

Alcatel-Lucent said it is involved in more than 40 major triple play deployments and more than 40 network transformation projects worldwide.

  • In June 2006, SingTel selected Alcatel-Lucent for the first ever Gigabit Passive Optical Networking (GPON) trial in the Asia Pacific region and the first residential Metro Ethernet trial in Singapore.

Convergin Partners with BEA Systems for Telco SOA

Convergin announced a partnership with BEA Systems to bring Service Oriented Architecture to telecom service delivery while leveraging existing assets in legacy networks and new assets in IMS networks.

The two companies have integrated the Convergin Accolade Wireless Convergence Server (WCS), which is a service interaction platform for IMS and pre-IMS 2G/3G/Fixed networks, with BEA WebLogic's SIP Server, a Java EE-SIP-IMS application server.

The joint solution is designed to allow a viable evolution from legacy service platforms (SCPs), to a service layer with a flexible, next generation, IMS-based, SOA platform, while delivering the equivalent network functionality, efficiency, and control for GSM/CDMA/and Wireline networks.

Occam Announces SIP Support

Occam Networks has added a carrier-class implementation of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to its latest OccamOS release.

Primary features of the release include support for SIP for Occam's BLC POTS blades, Combo POTS and DSL blades, and Optical Network Terminals (ONTs). Additional features include:

  • Simplified troubleshooting and service quality management including telco-configurable options for peer-to-peer or through-switch call routing

  • Common subscriber provisioning and management across Lifeline POTS, ONTs, as well as derived voice (terminal adapter or IAD) subscriber services

  • Interoperability with a broad variety of Softswitches, including products from Nortel, Metaswitch, Coppercom and Broadsoft

  • Easy transition from Class 5 to SIP Softswitches with subscriber-by-subscriber assignment

  • Enabling Occam BLCs and ONTs to act as Media Gateways under the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) architecture.

"We use SIP today in deploying an IP Centrex product in combination with Occam's BLC 6000 platform," said Dave Martin, director of technology, Blackfoot Communications, Inc. "Pushing SIP to the access platform is clearly the trend and we are eager to see that capability move toward the edge of the network. Occam's SIP features will improve survivability and prepare the Occam platform for the future evolution of multimedia services, providing better and more responsive customer service."

Chongqing Telecom Selects Juniper's E320

Chongqing Telecom, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Telecom, has deployed Juniper Networks E320 Broadband Service Routers to provide high-speed Internet, IPTV, video on demand and other advanced IP services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

China Guangdong Telecom Selects Redback

Redback Networks was selected for the second phase of a broadband network upgrade with largest provincial carrier in China. Guangdong Telecom will use Redback's SmartEdge family of multi-service edge routers to deliver broadband internet, IPTV and VPN services for up to four million homes and businesses.

SeaChange Supplies VOD System for Pentagon's Media Review System

The United States Department of Defense (DoD) has purchased a turnkey Video-on-Demand System and software applications from SeaChange International to serve as the foundation for the Pentagon's Media Review System, which will allow personnel to review broadcast television events worldwide for information pertinent to the DoD. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The VOD System, combined with SeaChange's Record System application, will automatically record live broadcasts from numerous sources and make them immediately available for on-demand viewing. The Pentagon may also use the system to provide access to training videos and to support other on-demand applications.

BitTorrent Acquires uTorrent

BitTorrent has acquired µTorrent, a lightweight and efficient implementation of the BitTorrent protocol. µTorrent was developed by Ludvig Strigeus. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The µTorrent client supports features such as bandwidth prioritization, scheduling and RSS auto-downloading.

BitTorrent said the objective of the acquisition is to combine its expertise in networking protocols with µTorrent's high-performance design and compelling user interface (UI). Ultimately, the integration will result in an improved client and an enhanced user experience. It will also accelerate BitTorrent's plans to provide high-performance content delivery services that power websites seeking the most efficient platform for distributing large, high-quality files. Lastly, the incorporation of µTorrent's lightweight codebase strengthens the adoption of BitTorrent technology in embedded systems, including televisions, mobile phones and other non-PC platforms.

AT&T's BusinessDirect Customer Portal Goes Mobile

AT&T has made its "BusinessDirect" customer portal available from any mobile device, providing its large enterprise and wholesale customers with "anytime, anywhere" maintenance and performance-monitoring information. Users are now able to access the portal's eMaintenance application allowing customers to request network maintenance and remotely monitor the network maintenance process from beginning to end.