Sunday, December 17, 2006

FCC Commissioner McDowell Disqualifies Himself from AT&T+BellSouth Merger Vote

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell disqualified himself from voting on the proposed AT&T+BellSouth merger approval vote, leaving the Commission evenly split between two Democrats and two Republicans. McDowell cited his earlier employment by COMPTEL, a lobby group of competitive carriers that has opposed the ILECs. In a statement, McDowell said promises made during his Senate confirmation hearing, and his own personal ethics, led him to withdraw from participating in the vote.
  • 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.

Agere Debuts New Product Category -- BluOnyx Mobile Content Server

Agere Systems unveiled its BluOnyx Mobile Content Server, a new consumer product category designed to un-tether users from the PC and stationary storage devices by giving them access to content and applications in a portable device.

The BluOnyx server, which will be shown at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in January, enables mobile users to share and stream music, video and business files to or from electronic devices ranging from cell phones, PCs, digital cameras, game machines, DSL routers, etc. The credit card size device does not come with its own screen but is controlled by mobile phone, PC or other video device using a Bluetooth connection. Agere will be offering a turn-key solution for other consumer product brands.

The credit-card sized unit combines either Flash-based storage or a mini-HDD with an application processor, middleware and wireless connectivity. The amount of storage on the BluOnyx server will range from 1 GB to 40 GB. Devices can connect to the BluOnyx server wirelessly through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections or using USB cables or SD cards. The BluOnyx server can be accessed directly or through a home or corporate network where it is seen as a drive letter.

Agere said one of the possible uses for the BluOnyx server could a "Digital Campfire", where friends gathered around a table share media content via their mobile phones. The BluOnyx server is capable of streaming videos to one or more cell phones. Agere is working to support various DRM implementations. The device could also be used to back up pictures, music, video, emails, personal and business documents
and images from cell phones, cameras and PCs. It might also be used to share Internet access for cell phones and PDAs that are not broadband enabled and cannot access the Internet on their own.

The BluOnyx solution combines several of Agere's subsystems, including its storage silicon and a new processor. Details on the processor have not yet been announced. The Bluetooth, and later Wi-Fi capabilities, use commercially-available radios from multiple providers.

Key stats:
  • Dimensions of 90 mm long by 60 mm wide and between 6 mm and 15 mm thick (depending on memory capacity)

  • Battery life: up to 12 hours

  • Weight: about 140 grams with 40 GB HDD

The retail price of the BluOnyx server is expected to range from $99 to $250 depending on memory capacity. Agere said it is currently in discussions with consumer electronic device makers and cell phone service providers.

Loral Skynet to Merge with Telesat Creating Global FSS Provider

Loral Skynet will merge with BCE's Telesat division to create one of the world's largest operators of telecommunications satellites, with a combined fleet of eleven satellites and four additional satellites to be launched over the next three years. The new company will have combined trailing 12 months revenue for the period ended September 30, 2006 of approximately US $568 million (CAD 658 million) and US $4.9 billion (CAD 5.6 billion) of backlog, generating combined trailing 12 months Adjusted EBITDA for the period ended September 30, 2006 of approximately US$295 million (C$341 million).

Under the deal, BCE (Bell Canada Enterprises) will sell its satellite services subsidiary, Telesat Canada, for $3.42 billion to a new acquisition company formed by Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) and Loral Space & Communications. Loral will merge its Loral Skynet fixed satellite services and network services assets business into the new company. This involves complementary satellite services assets in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Combined with Telesat's existing services, in North and South America, the new Telesat will be a truly global operator of scale, headquartered in Ottawa.

Net of Telesat's debt, BCE will realize total proceeds of $3.25 billion from the all cash transaction.

BCE said the sale is consistent with its stated strategy of concentrating on Bell, its core communications business.

In conjunction with the sale, BCE has put in place a set of commercial arrangements between Telesat and Bell ExpressVu that guarantee ExpressVu access to current and expanded satellite capacity, including the launch of Nimiq 5 in 2009.

Carriers Plan New Terabit Capacity Trans-Pacific Express Optical Cable

Verizon Business signed a construction and maintenance agreement with a consortium planning to build an undersea optical cable system directly linking the U.S. mainland and China.

The new Trans-Pacific Express (TPE) will initially provide capacity of up to 1.28 Tbps, with a design capacity of up to 5.12 Tbps to support future Internet growth and advanced applications. Customers will have access the cable system at 10 Gbps wavelengths. Construction of the new cable system, which will extend more than 18,000 kilometers, will begin in the first quarter of 2007. Completion is scheduled in the third quarter of 2008. The project represents an investment by consortium members of more than $500 million.

Verizon Business is the only U.S.-based member among the initial parties of the consortium, which consists of China Telecom, China Netcom, China Unicom, Korea Telecom and Chunghwa Telecom (Taiwan).

Landing points will be at Nedonna Beach, Oregon; Qingdao, China; Chongming, China; Tanshui, Taiwan; and Keoje, South Korea.

Juniper Adds T-series Physical Interface Card

Juniper Networks announced a new T-series physical interface card (PIC) with long reach optics and other advanced features designed for its T-series core routers. The new 4xOC-192 PIC features standards-based 10 Gigabit Small Form Factor Pluggable (XFP) optical transponders and inverse multiplexing to 40 Gbps.

The new 4xOC-192 PIC enables providers to transport either a single OC-768 stream or four discrete OC-192 connections by using cost-effective 10 Gbps optical transponders and leveraging their installed base of T-series routers. XFP optics allow non-disruptive upgrades and interface additions, while ensuring interoperability with a wide range of standards-based optical equipment.

Juniper said that with an initial range of up to 80km, expandable as new optics become available, the new PIC supports regional inter-POP connections directly from existing routing platforms, reducing costs by eliminating the need for separate optical transponders. Along with the existing OC-768 PIC, the new PIC leverages the service richness of the new 40 Gbps packet forwarding engine for T-series routers.

Intel Installs WiMAX in Egyptian "Digital Village"

Working with Egypt's government, business and education leaders, Intel has installed a WiMAX network in Oseem, a city of 200,000 in Egypt. The wireless network connects two public schools, a health care center on wheels, a municipal building and an e-government services kiosk. Intel also donated and installed computers in the mobile health center and PC labs at the two schools where students and teachers can regularly connect to the outside world for the first time.

"The next billion Internet users will be from rural areas like Oseem," said Intel Chairman Craig Barrett, who toured the village to explore how similar programs could be replicated in other regions. This issue has led Barrett, who also chairs the United Nation's Global Alliance for ICT and Development, to 10 developing countries from the Amazon to Africa in the past 100 days.

Alcatel-Lucent Introduces Higher-Density 10-Gigabit Ethernet Enterprise Switch

Alcatel-Lucent introduced a new model of its 10-Gigabit Ethernet core switch chassis, featuring twice the capacity of the existing Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 9700. Also available are a new high-density 10-Gigabit Ethernet module and a new power-over-Ethernet (PoE) Gigabit Ethernet module.

The Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 9000 family is deployment in the enterprise network core and aggregation layer where large amounts of user data being consolidated for 10 Gigabit connections. Similar to the other OmniSwitch 9000 models, the new Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 9800 delivers wire-rate processing for IPv6/IPv4 and supports multicast applications. The Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 9000s can also be used at the edge to support converged applications and deliver QoS for multi-media applications, VoIP, video collaboration and database applications.

Linksys Announces Skype iPhone

Cisco's Linksys division unveiled a new iPhone for Skype that works on 802.11g networks. The iPhone Wireless-G Phone for Skype (WIP320) makes Skype portable by integrating it into a Wireless-G handset, allowing consumers to place calls from anywhere they can connect to a wireless access point. The product is offered in North America through distribution, online retailers and VAR partners. Europe, Asia and LATAM availability is planned for Q1 2007. Estimated Street Price: $199.99.

Linksys also introduce its iPhone Dual-Mode Internet Telephony Kit for Skype (CIT400), which embeds the popular communications client into a cordless phone base station that is attached directly to the home network via Ethernet. This phone is available immediately in the U.S. through e-commerce retailers, and VAR partners. Global availability through e-commerce retailers, and VAR partners is expected for Q1 2007. Estimated Street Price: $179.99.

OIF Finalizes Scalable System Packet Interface

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has finalized the Scalable System Packet Interface (SPI-S) implementation agreement.

SPI-S is a channelized, streaming-packet interface that scales from 6 Gbps to hundreds of Gbps for chip-to-chip and backplane applications. It is a successor to the widely deployed OIF SPI 4.2 interface, and leverages the OIF's Common Electrical Interface (CEI) to take advantage of high rate serial physical interconnects.

SPI-S is specified to run over CEI, which is defined at 6 and 11 Gbps for both short reach and long reach applications. SPI-S can also be used with other physical interconnects including OIF's SxI-5. The OIF also recently announced the initiation of a CEI-25 project to extend the CEI serial interface into the 25 Gbps range. The scalable nature of SPI-S will allow it to take advantage of CEI-25 when the next generation interconnect is fully defined.

SPI-S uses either industry-standard 64B66B framing or optionally, the enhanced OIF CEI Protocol (CEI-P) framing that provides Forward Error Correction (FEC) support, yet retains a 64/66 clock ratio. FEC is likely to be useful when 11 Gbps PHYs are used in backplane applications and when future, higher speed PHYs are employed.

SPI-S also retains the high-availability focus of the SPI family of interfaces. Like those other protocols, SPI-S is defined to be self-recovering from a catastrophic event on its interface such as a protective switchover of a card.

"The OIF's existing System Packet Interface SPI 4.2 is the most widely deployed chip-to-chip streaming interconnect for high speed data paths," said Dave Stauffer, of IBM and chair for the OIF's Physical and Link Layer Working Group. "Given the highly scalable nature of the new SPI-S, it should have legs to stand for a decade or more as the industry's next definitive streaming-packet interface. The speed and number of bit lanes employed by SPI-S can be directly scaled to very high rates."

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.