Thursday, December 14, 2006

United States Trade Representative Urged to Support Global Access for VoIP

The Voice on the Net (VON) Coalition has filed papers with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) charging more than a dozen trading partners with creating market barriers and prohibitions that are stifling Internet based communication technologies like VoIP. The VON Coalition asks U.S. Trade negotiators to help open markets to new technologies.

The VON Coalition notes that some incumbent telephone carriers who also control the broadband network have unilaterally blocked users from communicating with VoIP over their broadband network. In several of these cases, the regulator has been complicit in efforts to curtail Internet voice communication.

Furthermore, several countries have kept high entry barriers for traditional voice services and extended these barriers to Internet based voice services. In other cases, ambiguities about VoIP service classification have allowed incumbent phone companies to unilaterally block or restricted the ability of any entity, foreign or domestic, to supply VoIP services over their broadband network. In some cases the limitations on licenses over a borderless communication medium or access to and the cost of telephone number fees have proven to be a significant barrier to market entry, as is the ability to interconnect to the legacy PSTN network.

In its filing, the VON Coalition cites specific barriers it sees in the following countries: China, India, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Saudi Arabia, Panama, South Africa, Korea, Belize, Chile and Turkey.

Siemens Supplies ADSL2+ to Lebanon

Lebanon's Pesco Telecom SAL has commissioned Siemens Networks with the delivery and turnkey installation of ADSL2+ technology for its access network. Lebanon's first DSL-based broadband service is scheduled to go live at the beginning of 2007.

As the sole supplier, Siemens Networks will provide its Surpass hiX 5630 IP-DSLAMs. The contract also covers network components like the first mile Ethernet switch Surpass hiD 6615, which aggregates the expected data traffic, and E-series Broadband Services Routers from Juniper Networks. Financial terms were not disclosed.

France Telecom Plans FTTH Launch in Paris for March 2007

France Telecom has completed early pilot testing of FTTH and is moving ahead with phase two -- with the aim of having 150,000 to 200,000 customers connected by the end of 2008 out of a potential client base of 1 million.

France Telecom now has 100,000 km of fiber installed, agreements signed with 650 tenant associations, 11,500 homes that can now be connected, and 500 customers to date.

The carrier has selected the GPON architecture for its rollout.

A range of consumer services will be marketed under the Orange brand starting in 2007, including Internet access with symmetrical speeds of up to 100 Mbps, several high-definition TV and PC channels, and unlimited VoIP calls.

The Orange FTTH service will be launched in March 2007 in Paris and several neighboring regions, before being rolled out from June 2007 to a dozen large and medium-sized cities, with the first to include Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Poitiers and Toulouse. This phase will enable Orange to further improve its customer experience outside of the Paris region.

CAPEX for the program over the next two years is estimated at EUR 270 million.

"After an initial pilot phase in 2006, the Group is stepping up a gear, increasing the range of very high speed broadband services available with Orange as well as expanding the regional coverage of its network for the future. This new phase will pave the way for the broader deployment of fiber to the home which we foresee in 2009 and beyond, when there will be content and services available which would justify such capacity for many of our customers, said Didier Lombard, FT Group's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

NTT DoCoMo and Hutch form Partnership for i-mode in India

In partnership with NTT DoCoMo, Hutchison Essar (Hutch), one of India's leading mobile operators, will launch "i-mode" mobile Internet service in India during 2007.

DoCoMo will license the patented technologies and know-how needed for Hutch to offer i-mode on GSM, GPRS and W-CDMA networks.

More than 53 million people across the globe subscribe to i-mode, which is now available in 16 countries/regions of Asia-Pacific and Europe: Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan and the UK. Preparations are also underway to launch i-mode in Hong Kong, Macao and the Philippines. DoCoMo said it plans to expand the service to a total of 26 countries/regions in the future.


Cisco to Acquire Tivella for Digital Signage

Cisco agreed to acquire Tivella, a privately-held company specializing in digital signage software and systems. Financial terms were not disclosed. Tivella was founded 2001 and has 10 employees based primarily in Milpitas, California, with corporate offices in Half Moon Bay, California.

Cisco said the emerging market for digital signage has the potential to transform the customer experience and to promote richer communications.
  • In 2006, Cisco announced six acquisitions: SyPixx Networks, Audium Corporation, Metreos Corporation, Meetinghouse Data Communications, Arroyo Video Solutions, Orative Corporation, Greenfield Networks, and Tivella,

SSK Telecom Plans Ultra Wideband (UWB) Handsets for PANs

SK Telecom, the largest mobile phone and broadband operator in Korea, is working with Staccato Communications on Ultra Wideband (UWB) wireless personal area network (WPAN) mobile phone services.

SK Telecom selected Staccato's UWB silicon for use in mobile handsets that will use UWB for content delivery from access points, connecting mobile phones to larger displays (PC, TV, Auto), connecting mobile phones to the PC ecosystem, and sharing profiles and content from one user to another through personal area social networking (PASN). UWB operates at up to 480 Mbps.

Services developed and launched by SK Telecom and Staccato will be standardized and offered worldwide to other operators after initial launch in Korea.

Staccato said that it is working with SK Telecom on applications using several protocols. The Staccato's "PIK" MAC (Medium Access Control) technology is a Protocol Independent Kernel, based on a custom implementation of hardware acceleration and ARM9 software control. This patent-pending technology enables the simultaneous operation of Certified Wireless USB, WiNet, Bluetooth 3.0 and other potential protocols at speeds up to 480Mbps. Products will initially launch with WiMedia radios using spectrum below 6GHz (band group 1, band 3) and add above-6GHz operation when the WiMedia Alliance completes the certification process for these bands.

For the first phase, a Korean-based, leading manufacturer of handsets worldwide will be the handset developer for the new WiMedia UWB handsets.


DVB-S2 Standardization Takes Step Forward

A significant licensing agreement was reached by key holders of DVB-S2 intellectual property. DVB-S2 is the second generation DVB system for broadband satellite communications, covering digital TV and HDTV broadcasting, interactive services, and professional links by satellite. is the second generation DVB system for broadband satellite communications, covering digital TV and HDTV broadcasting, interactive services, and professional links by satellite.

DIRECTV, RAI (Radiotelevisione Italiana), and European Space Agency (ESA) -- the three rights holders to the technology -- will jointly offer a license under their combined portfolios of intellectual property rights necessary for the implementation of DVB-S2. For consumer applications, such as satellite television set-top box receivers, a license under the combined portfolios will not exceed $0.50 per product in quantities exceeding 500,000 over the term of the license and not to exceed $1.00 per product in lower quantities. Licenses for consumer applications will be granted for five-year terms. Renewals will be granted on fair and reasonable terms based on then-current market conditions.

Free-to-air and pay-TV broadcasters will not be required to pay a separate service license fee to broadcast to licensed receivers. The per product royalties and the arrangements for broadcasters are geared to help launch DVB-S2 technology and follow the commitment of the rights holders to offer licenses on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

DIRECTV Group said the agreement is significant because it will set limits on cumulative royalties paid for the licensing of intellectual property rights in order to speed adoption of the DVB-S2 standard.

BT and Nortel Sign Partnership Deal for UK Enterprises

BT and Nortel signed a new, three-year partnership agreement to drive the uptake of VoIP, multimedia, instant messaging and mobile communications by UK enterprises of all sizes.

The companies will offer solutions based on Nortel's portfolio and BT's networked IT services designed to evolve enterprise communications towards improved fixed-mobile convergence.

BT is Nortel's largest EMEA enterprise partner and one of its three main global partners.

BT is the UK market leader for the supply of enterprise telephone systems (PBX/IP PBX), with a 27 per cent share of total extensions for Q1 2006, according to researcher MZA. Nortel is the leading supplier of PBX/IP PBX equipment in the UK market with a 20 per cent share in Q1 2006, according to the same research. http://www.nortel.com

Aruba Networks Files for IPO

Aruba Networks, a start-up specializing in enterprise wireless solutions, filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of its common stock.

Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Lehman Brothers Inc. will act as joint book-running managers for the offering with J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. and RBC Capital Markets acting as co-managers. The number of shares to be sold in the proposed offering and the offering price have not yet been determined.
  • Aruba Networks was founded in 2002 and is headed by Dominic Orr, who previously served as the president and chief executive of Alteon WebSystems which was acquired by Nortel Networks in Oct. 2000.

  • Aruba Networks is based in Sunnyvale, California.

  • In November 2006, Aruba Networks outlined a five-phase plan to bring enterprise fixed-mobile convergence (E-FMC) to its enterprise mobility platform. The plan addresses both enterprise-centric and carrier-centric E-FMC architectures. Aruba said it will work with others across the E-FMC value chain, including mobile handset manufacturers, IP-PBX vendors, FMC infrastructure vendors and mobile operators.
  • Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    Ciena Reports Quarterly Revenue of $160.0 million

    For its fiscal fourth quarter ending October 31, Ciena reported revenue of $160.0 million, representing a 4.9% sequential increase from fiscal third quarter revenue of $152.5 million and an increase of 35.3% over revenue of $118.2 million for the same period a year ago. For the fiscal year ending October 31, 2006, Ciena's unaudited revenue was $564.1 million, representing an increase of 32.0 % over the previous year.

    Q4 represents the company's eleventh sequential quarterly increase in revenue.

    Ciena's unaudited fiscal fourth quarter net income was $13.1 million, or a net income of $0.14 per diluted share.

    Ciena ended the fiscal fourth quarter 2006 with cash and short- and long-term investments of $1.2 billion.

    Siemens Exec Arrested in Germany

    On Tuesday, Thomas Ganswindt, a former executive and board member with Siemens, was arrested by German authorities in connection an expanding bribery scandal potentially involving hundred of millions of EURs over the pas seven years.

    Separately, following an internal audit, Siemens executives said that close to EUR 420 million ($556 million) of dubious payments made the company for various consulting services were now subject to further investigation. The allegations are that Siemens used these consulting funds to pay bribes in order to secure some major telecom contracts around the world.

    KPN introduces International Ethernet VPN Service for Enterprises

    KPN launched its "EURRings International Ethernet VPN Service", offering corporate customers the ability to connect multiple locations through VPNs based on end-to-end Ethernet connections. The EURRings International Ethernet VPN Service is currently available in the five core countries of the international KPN network - The Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, France and Germany - and offers extended coverage via Ethernet over SDH technology across KPN's high capacity fibre-optic network in 22 European countries.

    KPN said its International Ethernet VPN Service facilitates high-speed Ethernet connectivity between two or more locations, whether they are in the same country or spread across Europe. In addition, the new EURRings International Ethernet VPN Service allows organizations to conclude one contract for all their Ethernet services. Benefits include a single point of contact for a fully integrated national & international solution, one international service desk, one delivery platform and one invoice that can be provided in various currencies.

    IP Unity to Acquire Glenayre Messaging

    IP Unity, a supplier of carrier-grade media servers, application servers and real-time multimedia applications, agreed to acquire Glenayre Messaging. Financial terms were not disclosed.

    The combined company, to be known as IP Unity Glenayre, will deliver a portfolio of rich media services from a single, IMS enabled carrier grade platform. The merged unified communications framework brings together messaging services and rich media distribution to users across disparate networks and devices.

    Applications include voicemail, unified messaging, conferencing, SMS, MMS, text to speech, speech recognition, IVR voice portal, color ringback tones, prepaid billing, video portal, video conferencing, videomail and video gaming all built using open standards based technologies such as VoiceXML.

    The companies serve a diverse global customer base of over 2000 deployments for 300 wireline telco, cable, wireless and FMC service providers, large enterprises and public agencies. The two companies said they currently have no customers in common and market their products in largely different geographies and networks.

    The new company will have major locations in Atlanta Georgia, Quincy Illinois, Milpitas California, Singapore and Bangalore, India. http://www.ip-unity.com

    BT Fusion Launches FMC for Small Businesses

    BT Fusion launched a Wi-Fi fixed and mobile convergence service for business over one mobile device, with seamless two-way handover between Wi-Fi and GSM. In-office Wi-Fi provides access to all fixed and mobile voice messages stored in one place, and call rates are significantly lower than over GSM .

    In the office, or at BT Openzone hotspots, for up to 60 minutes customers pay 5p for UK fixed line calls, less than the cost of a text; 15p for calls to BT mobiles, and 25p for calls to other UK mobiles. On the move all calls to both fixed and mobile numbers are capped at 25p for up to 60 minutes.

    BT is initially offering two dual-mode Wi-Fi mobile handsets: the Nokia 6136 and the Motorola A910. Samsung's P200 will be added to the range next month. Up to 6 Fusion Bluetooth handsets can be linked (paired) to BT Business Hub with up to 3 making calls simultaneously. Or up to 10 Fusion Wi-Fi handsets can be linked to the BT Business Hub with 5 making calls simultaneously The range for handsets connections between the Hub and handsets is up to 25 meters,

    When combined with BT Business One Plan, BT's triple-play package for mobile, fixed and broadband, prices start from £15 a month including the handset.

    AT&T + BellSouth Merger Off the Agenda for FCC' s Dec 20 Meeting

    Consideration of the AT&T + BellSouth merger will not be a part of the FCC's next open meeting on December 20th. No date has been set for voting on the proposed merger.
    • Earlier this month, 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.

    • 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.

    DSL Installed Base Reaches 173 Million

    DSL's subscriber base worldwide has exceeded 173 million while global broadband subscribers reached more than 263 million in the 12 months to 30 September 2006. DSL's market share now stands at 65.6% market share, rising to 82% in the European Union.

    According to the DSL Forum and industry analyst Point Topic, each week 1.25 million people sign up to broadband.

    Globally, the largest broadband market in the world is the USA with more than 55.5 million subscribers, followed by China at 48.5 million. Japan in third place has almost 26 million. Together, they account for almost half of all broadband connections across the world.

    Some other key findings:

    Sixteen countries now have over two million DSL subscribers, together representing just under half of all broadband customers using this technology.

    "As the global reach of broadband into people's lives continues to grow, the range of access technologies used to deliver its benefits is also expanding to capitalise on the various available infrastructures. Even though DSL is the predominant delivery technology in the world, the DSL Forum is working to extend the benefits of our own specifications to be equally applicable for other network technologies and to address the service delivery needs of the ever-growing range of multimedia devices and applications that depend on broadband for their success."

    Hawaiian Telcom Selects Alcatel-Lucent for Triple Play

    Hawaiian Telcom, the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) in Hawaii, has selected Alcatel-Lucent's Triple Play Service Delivery Architecture to replace its existing infrastructure and to provide the scalability, reliability and speeds necessary to deliver new services.

    The deployment will feature the ISAM product family, including the Alcatel 7330 ISAM FTTN and the Alcatel 7342 ISAM FTTU. The rollout will also include the 7750 Service Router (SR) and Alcatel 7450 Ethernet Service Switch (ESS) to address its service routing requirements. Financial terms were not disclosed.


    Nokia Siemens Networks Merger Delayed Till Later in Q1 2007

    Due to the current investigations of Siemens, the scope of which includes its carrier-related business, the planned merger between Nokia and Siemens is now expected to close sometime in Q1 2007, instead of January 2007 as originally planned.

    Nokia and Siemens said they intend to adjust their agreements in order to have Siemens conduct an appropriate compliance review prior to closing of the transaction. This adjustment is an addition to the previously agreed closing conditions. Nokia plans to participate actively in the review.

    Closing will be subject to an agreement between Nokia and Siemens on the results and consequences of a Siemens compliance review.

    • On June 19, 2006, Nokia and Siemens announced plans to combine Nokia's Networks business group and Siemens' carrier-related operations for fixed and mobile networks to form a new company called Nokia Siemens Networks. The new company had 2005 calendar year pro forma revenues of EUR 15.8 billion.

    Cablevision Reaches Two Million Broadband Customers

    Cablevision Systems has surpassed the 2 million-customer milestone for its Optimum Online high-speed Internet service. The service now has a 44 percent take rate of the homes passed.

    Earlier this year, Cablevision raised the speed of its core Optimum Online service, from up to 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream, to new speeds of up to 15 Mbps downstream and 2 Mbps upstream, at no additional charge. The company also deployed its first premium tier high-speed Internet product, Optimum Online Boost, which offers customers downstream speeds of up to 30 Mbps, 5 Mbps upstream.

    Cablevision also offers a special order high-speed Internet service, Optimum Online Ultra, which delivers symmetrical 50 Mbps connections for about $200 per month.

    Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    Iliad Group' Free Selects Cisco for FTTH in France

    The Iliad Group's "Free" broadband service selected Cisco's Ethernet fiber-to-the-home (E-FTTH) technology for a mass rollout in France. Specifically, Free will deploy Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Switches as the E-FTTH access platform at its new optical PoPs with 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplinks to its core network to make optimum use of the increased capacity provided by the Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing Systems.

    The first phase of the fiber project aims to connect more than 2 million people in Paris. Free plans to offer a EUR 29.99 monthly bundle that combines 50 Mbps Internet access, high-definition IPTV, video on demand, multimedia communication and Web 2.0 services.
    • In September 2006, The Iliad Group's Free division, unveiled plans for a widescale rollout of FTTH in Paris. The company said the new network will give it true independence from the incumbent operator, France Telecom. The project is expected to take 24 months to reach 2.1 million people.

      Free said it plans to invest EUR 1 billion in the project through 2012. The company initially will target areas were its Freebox installation density is greatest. The Freebox HD's ADSL2+ terminal will be replaced by an optical box. Draka Comteq was selected to supply the FTTH network. The deployment will include two million kilometers of fiber and cable designed to resist the adverse conditions of sewers, through which many of the fiber lines will be deployed.

    • Unlike PON architectures, the network topology will use dedicated fiber from the Ethernet switch to the subscriber.

    • Rights-of-way agreements for Paris were signed in July 2006.

    • As of June 2006, the Iliad Group had 1.9 million ADSL users in France.

    • The Iliad Group also holds a national WiMAX license across France.