Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Juniper Plans $900 Million in Charges for Past Stock-Compensation Probems

Juniper Networks announced that its internal Audit Committee has concluded that numerous stock option grants issued in the past differ from the recorded grant dates of such awards. Specifically, it was determined that there were numerous instances in which grant dates were chosen with the benefit of hindsight as to the price of the Company's stock, so as to give favorable prices. Blame was attributed to certain management members who are no longer with the company.

Therefore, Juniper currently anticipates that it will record additional non-cash charges for stock-based compensation expense of approximately $900 million, 99.9 percent of which relate to options granted between June 9, 1999 and December 31, 2003.

Juniper Networks noted that its CEO, Scott Kriens, received two stock option awards with measurement date issues. However, both options were canceled unexercised in 2001. Kriens has not exercised any stock options since 1998, approximately a year before the company's IPO.

Juniper's Board of Director expressed their continued confidence in Kriens.

AT&T Launches U-verse TV in SF Bay Area

AT&T announced the initial launch of its U-verse TV service in parts of the San Francisco Bay area, including parts of the cities of Cupertino and Saratoga, and parts of the cities of San Ramon and Danville. AT&T said it now expects to launch U-verse in eleven markets by the end of the year, with plans to launch in additional markets in early 2007.

AT&T U-verse is offering:

  • more than 300 channels, including digital music, local, and premium movie and sports programming.

  • a more than 25 High Definition (HD) channels-and high speed Internet access.

  • Web remote access to digital video recorder (DVR)

  • built-in picture-in-picture functionality that allows subscribers to "channel surf" on any television without leaving the program they're watching.

  • specially designed set top boxes, manufactured by Motorola, all of which are HD-capable and include universal remote controls that provide backlit buttons and one-touch access to video-on-demand, DVR, and other

  • a premium Spanish-language package

Three packages of AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet U-verse Enabled will be made available to AT&T U-verse customers:

  • Elite: Downstream up to 6.0 Mbps, upstream up to 1.0 Mbps.

  • Pro: Downstream up to 3.0 Mbps, upstream up to 1.0 Mbps.

  • Express: Downstream up to 1.5 Mbps, upstream up to 1.0 Mbps.

Seagate to Acquire EVault for Online Backup Service

Seagate Technology agreed to acquire privately-held EVault, which provides online backup services, as part of its effort to extend the company's storage solutions and strengthen its Seagate Services group. The all-cash deal was valued at approximately $185 million.

EVault was founded in 1997 and is based in Emeryville, California. The company has over 250 employees and claims more than 8,500 customers, including hundreds of financial, health care and legal organizations.

EVault is the most recent acquisition in the broader storage solutions area and the third for Seagate in the area of services. In 2005, Seagate purchased Mirra, which developed a networked digital content protection server for the home and small business markets; and Action Front, a professional in-lab data recovery company.

Seagate said that with its Services group it is interested in pursuing underserved markets where it can leverage leading technology and market expertise, and provide unique value propositions to address growing customer needs.


Motorola To Acquire Tut Systems for $39 Million

Motorola agreed to acquire Tut Systems for $1.15 per share in cash, giving the transaction a value of approximately $39 million on a fully-diluted basis.

Tut Systems provides carrier-class end-to-end digital video encoding, processing and distribution products. Their solutions support MPEG-2 and MPEG- 4 AVC video compression, local ad insertion, forward error correction, and real-time conditioning of video and audio. Tut Systems' customer list includes more than 160 service providers worldwide.

Tut Systems' "Astria" content processor (CP)is an IPTV headend solution supporting various access networks, including ADSL, VDSL, fiber to the home (FTTH) and hybrid-fiber coax (HFC), all within a single chassis. Protocol support includes ATM, pure-IP, IP over ATM and native MTS. Astria CPs support physical interface requirements including Gig-E, OC-3, DVB-ASI.

Motorola said it plans to integrate Tut Systems' solutions with its own digital video delivery solutions for supporting advanced video services over IP, ATM, or RF-based network architectures. Motorola currently has deployed 2060 digital video networks and over 50 million digital video set tops worldwide.

Once the deal closes, Tut Systems will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Motorola and will be integrated into the Motorola Connected Home Solutions business. Motorola intends to maintain Tut Systems' operations in Lake Oswego, Oregon, San Diego California and Pleasanton California.


UTStarcom's CTO Resigns to Take Post at China Mobile

UTStarcom announced the resignation of Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Bill Huang, who will take a senior executive position at China Mobile Ltd. On an interim basis, Pat Chan, senior vice president of UTStarcom's Network Solutions business unit, will assume Huang's responsibilities as acting chief technology officer.

DIRECTV Awards Data Networking Contract Extension to AT&T

DIRECTV will continue its current contract with AT&T for OneNet services for an additional year at a value of $33 million. AT&T will continue to provide DIRECTV with toll-free 800, Advanced Features and ATM and Frame Relay services that support 18 call centers and approximately 60 corporate WAN points of presence. AT&T will also begin to provide MPLS connectivity for supporting DIRECTV's corporate VoIP traffic.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

FCC Votes 3-2 to Ease Video Franchising Process

The FCC voted 3-to-2 to approve new rules that prohibit local franchising authorities from unreasonably refusing to award competitive franchises for the provision of cable services. The vote is a victory for A&T, Verizon and other telephone providers seeking to enter the market for video services.

The majority of FCC commissioners concluded that the current franchising process required by local municipalities constitutes an unreasonable barrier to entry that impedes the achievement of the interrelated federal goals of enhanced cable competition and accelerated broadband deployment.

The new rules would prohibit towns or cities from engaging new market entrants in drawn-out local negotiations with no time limits; unreasonable build-out requirements; unreasonable requests for "in-kind" payments that attempt to subvert the five percent cap on franchise fees; and unreasonable demands with respect to public, educational and government access.

FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin wrote "Telephone companies are investing billions of dollars to upgrade their networks to provide video. As new providers began actively seeking entry into video markets, we began to hear that some local authorities were making the process of getting franchises unreasonably difficult, despite clear statutory language. The record collected by the Commission in this proceeding cited instances where LFAs sat on applications for more than a year or required extraordinary in kind contributions such as the building of public swimming pools and recreation centers. Such unreasonable requirements are especially troubling because competition is desperately needed in the video market."

In a statement, FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps, who voted against the measure, wrote: "I have been troubled at the lack of a granular record that would demonstrate that the present franchising system is irretrievably broken and that traditional federal-state-local relationships have to be so thoroughly upended." He also noted that the ruling might exceed the FCC's mandate and therefore draw legal challenges which would further delay network rollouts.

Siemens Achieves 107 Gbps over a Single Fiber Channel

Researchers at Siemens, working in cooperation with Micram, the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications (Heinrich-Hertz-Institut) and Eindhoven Technical University, achieved an optical transmission rate of 107 Gbps over a single fiber channel using purely electric processing in both the transmitter and receiver.

The newly developed transmission and receiving system processes the data by purely electrical means directly before and after its conversion into optical signals. The test was conducted at a long-haul network at one of world's largest optical network operators, in which Siemens has previously deployed a 40 Gbps network for commercial use.

A few months earlier, Siemens researchers already proved the feasibility of a receiver with 100% electrical processing for optical transmission at 107 Gbps in which the signal from the photo diode is picked up and processed directly by a chip. The optical transmitter has been "fully electrified."

"In the spring of 2006 we demonstrated the system with a fully electric receiver," said Dr. Rainer H. Derksen, project coordinator at Siemens Corporate Technology in Munich. "At that time we were still using optical multiplexing in the transmitter. Now we've designed a complete system with 100% electrical processing of the data in both the receiver and the transmitter."

Siemens said the first commercial products based on the prototype will be available on the market within a few years. The company expects the technology will find deployments in 100 Gbps Ethernet systems.

Boingo Expands Roaming Network in Europe

Boingo Wireless expanding its roaming network with the addition of six Wi-Fi partners in Europe, providing new Boingo hot spots in Germany, Spain, Greece and the Netherlands. Boingo now provides over 60,000 locations from more than 140 leading Wi-Fi operators.

Boingo also announced an expanded partnership with The Cloud, Europe's leading neutral-host Wi-Fi network operator, to enable Boingo's retail customers, and customers of Fiberlink and Verizon Business Access, to access all European locations of The Cloud. The previous deal with The Cloud only covered the UK.

Working with GANAG (GlobalAirNet AG), Germany, Boingo now has enhanced wireless coverage at Germany's Munich International Airport. Also in Germany, Boingo partnered with HotspotDeutschland, a wireless Internet service provider (WISP) with 350 hot spots, and added Travelping, another German-based ISP with 150 hotspots in Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. Boingo extended its reach in Spain by partnering with AWA, a WISP operating 600 hotspots in retail locations, cafes, marinas, restaurants and hotels including all Repsol gas stations across the country. Spain's largest Wi-Fi operator, AWA has contracts to deploy 4,000 more hot spots. In the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles, Boingo teamed with Mobilander. Customers are offered access at 40 hotspots in hotels, restaurants and libraries in 6 main university cities in the Netherlands, and at 100 UTS/Mobilander-hotspots in hotels, resorts and restaurants on Curacao and St. Martin. Boingo also buoyed its coverage in the Mediterranean region, adding FORTHnet, the largest network of wireless access spots in Greece, with more than 72 hot spots at hotels, cruise lines and 34 Starbucks location

Motorola Cites Mobile WiMAX Momentum in 2006

With the prediction that 2007 will be the year WiMAX will begin entering the mainstream, Motorola issued a year-end update on its wi4 WiMAX solutions. The company cited several milestones during 2006. These include:

  • Announced agreements with Sprint Nextel and Clearwire in the US, Wateen Telecom in Pakistan and Agni Systems, Ltd in Bangladesh for WiMAX systems. Clearwire and Sprint Nextel are the two largest holders of 2.5GHz spectrum in the U.S.

  • Increased to more than 20 the number of 802.16e mobile WiMAX trials underway around the world.

  • Began work on the build out of the new 3.5GHz nationwide wireless
    broadband voice and data network for Wateen Telecom, part of Warid Telecom International. Phase 1 rollout, covering major cities in Pakistan, is near completion and recently end-to-end voice and data
    services were successfully tested on the Wateen Telecom WiMAX/IMS network.

  • Announced its WiMAX chipset design effort, launched its first and second generation WiMAX access points, unveiled its CPE portfolio, and demonstrated interoperability with PC cards using third-party chipsets as well as mobile WiMAX handoffs using its WAP400 series access points.

  • For 2007, Motorola expects general availability of its portfolio of WiMAX access points, PC cards and customer premises equipment; live, commercial networks with customers; and previews of handheld devices.

"When we look back one year ago and reflect on all that the industry has accomplished, it is truly astounding the pace at which next generation broadband solutions are evolving. WiMAX no longer is just a promise, a potential. Now it's here, it's real, and Motorola is at the forefront of delivering this technology," said Dan Coombes, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Motorola Networks & Enterprise.

BigBand's DOCSIS 3.0 CMTS Enters Trials with European Operators

BigBand Networks' modular cable modem termination system (M-CMTS), which supports DOCSIS 3.0 downstream channel bonding, has entered trials with multiple European cable operators, including Multikabel in the Netherlands and Austria's LiWest Kabelmedien GmbH. BigBand has also provided its M-CMTS platform to operators in North America and Asia as part of an early access program (EAP). Key advantages include quadrupled downstream delivery capacity and convergence of video, data and voice traffic.

DOCSIS 3.0 specifications, developed by CableLabs and EURCableLabs, provide various tools to enhance network functionality, including significantly increasing capacity for IP-based traffic.

BigBand said that unlike traditional CMTS platforms that integrate capabilities on one chassis, a modular CMTS separates functionality onto two platforms. The BigBand Cuda12000 CMTS performs DOCSIS protocol processing on IP packets destined for subscribers. The second platform, the BigBand BEQ6000, delivers these packets to subscribers using RF quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) signaling. Disaggregation of CMTS functionality is designed to open the door to more economical realization of higher broadband speeds and increasing bandwidth flexibility.

"We believe we have a time-to-market lead in M-CMTS, and we're hoping to extend this advantage to our customers and allow them to benefit from downstream capacity increases, with a cost-effective migration path to DOCSIS 3.0," said John Connelly, executive vice president of marketing and business development at BigBand Networks.

Alcatel-Lucent Selected for Deutsche Telekom's "T-City" Initiative

Alcatel-Lucent has been named an exclusive premium partner supporting Deutsche Telekom's "T-City" competition, which aims to highlight the potential of new, innovative and broadband information and communication technologies for business, public facilities and citizens in a community.

A total of 52 cities entered the "T-City" competition. An independent jury has selected ten cities to go forward to the final round: Arnsberg, Coburg, Frankfurt (Oder), Friedrichshafen, Görlitz, Kamp-Lintfort, Kaiserslautern, Neuruppin, Osterholz-Scharmbeck and Schwäbisch-Hall. The winner will be the city that has made the best municipal application to use the modern telecommunications technology to meet the specific tasks and challenges a 21st century community faces (e.g. the interaction between citizens and the municipal administration). The future T-City will act as a role model for other cities, and will be selected in February 2007.

Under the terms of a five-year contract concluded at the end of November, Alcatel-Lucent will support Deutsche Telekom in the development and introduction of innovative integrated telecommunication solutions for the initiative.


TeliaSonera Selects HP and IXeurope to Serve Online Gaming Market

TeliaSonera International Carrier has selected HP and IXEurope as preferred suppliers of managed data services and high density co-location. The companies will provide TeliaSonera's Global Gaming Community business with access to hardware, software and storage for the creation of high quality gaming platforms and tailor made technology solutions.

Customers can now rely on TeliaSonera International Carrier for outsourcing advanced, high quality gaming platforms and tailor made solutions designed to meet their individual needs for their Internet access, hardware, high density co-location and server management.


Cox Adds Dynamic "PowerBoost" for Faster Downloads

Cox Communications introduced an exclusive "PowerBoost" enhancement that will give its cable modem customers a burst when downloading large files. PowerBoost automatically utilizes additional capacity on Cox's local fiber-hybrid network to give customers a speed burst above and beyond their normal speed. The capability leverages Cable Labs' DOCSIS technology to automatically detect when a customer begins a large file download, regardless of file type. It then jumpstarts the download. Speeds will be boosted up to twice as fast for Cox Preferred package customers, and up to 33% faster for Premier customers.

Cox said the new feature is available now in its Northern Virginia system today, and will be launched in Cox markets across the country on a market-by-market basis.

Telcordia CEO Appointed to NSTAC

Telcordia Technologies' President and CEO, Daniel J. Carroll, Jr., has been appointed by President Bush to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC). The NSTAC, which is comprised of leaders from throughout the communications industry, provides industry-based analyses and recommendations to the President and the executive branch regarding policy and enhancements to National Security and Emergency Preparedness communications policy.

Skyworks Introduces Helios II-Plus EDGE Radio

Skyworks Solutions, a of high performance analog and developer of mixed signal semiconductors, unveiled its "Helios" II-Plus EDGE radio for next-generation quad band handsets incorporating advanced multimedia features such as DVB-H, FM radios, MP3 players, digital cameras, and Web browsing.

Helios II-Plus reduces radio frequency (RF) board space by an additional 25 percent when compared to the company's previous Helios design. Skyworks said its radio solution also interfaces with virtually any analog baseband and radically simplifies factory calibration, allowing OEMs to substantially increase production throughput.

Sprint Invests $7 Billion in Network Upgrades in 2006

Sprint spent almost $7 billion in 2006 for network upgrades, most of which has gone to enhance its wireless and IP networks. Some highlights for the year:

Sprint will have added more than 3,000 cell sites to its Nationwide Sprint PCS Network and National Nextel Network in large, medium and small markets across the country.

In late October, Sprint upgraded the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network to high-speed EV-DO (Evolution -- Data Optimized) Revision A technology in San Diego, the first U.S. market to receive EV-DO Rev. A. Since then, EV-DO Rev. A coverage has expanded to nearly 2,900 cities and nearly 67 million people -- which surpassed the previously announced goal of 40 million people by the end of the year.

In early August, Sprint announced its plans to develop the first fourth generation (4G) nationwide mobile broadband network and deploy it in initial markets in 2007. A nationwide rollout is targeted for 2008. The 4G wireless broadband network will use the mobile WiMAX IEEE 802.16e-2005 standard.

Sprint continued upgrades to its Tier 1 IP network, Next-Generation Voice Network (NGVN) and wireless-wireline converged services, which all play a key role in the Sprint Cable Joint Venture. The company is deploying Cisco CRS-1 routers to scale the IP core. By the end of 2007, most U.S. core sites are expected to have a Cisco CRS-1 system. Sprint is the first Tier 1 IP provider to place the Cisco CRS-1 into service.

Cable Voice over IP (VoIP) subscribers more than doubled year over year in the third quarter, and Sprint expects continued impressive growth in this area.

MPLS growth was explosive, with Sprint's net revenues from MPLS nearly tripling year over year in the third quarter.

Ericsson to Acquire Redback for $2.1 Billion

Ericsson agreed to acquire Redback Networks for $2.1 billion, or $25 dollars per Redback share. The acquisition is expected to occur by means of a tender offer for all of the outstanding shares of Redback common stock. The companies expect the deal to be completed in early 2007.

Redback Networks supplies multi-service routing platforms for delivering broadband access, including next generation services such as VoIP, IPTV and On-Demand Video. Its customers include many top service providers worldwide.

Ericsson said the acquisition will play a key role in its strategy to help telecommunications carriers lower costs and upgrade their networks for broadband, telephone, video and mobility services. Ericsson and Redback believe there is market opportunity to upgrade more than two billion wired and wireless users worldwide over the next ten years to all IP-based broadband infrastructures -- an opportunity ten times larger than the 250 million broadband users today.

"We believe the combined strengths of both companies in mobility and IP routing will create significant value for customers and shareholders," said Carl-Henric Svanberg of Ericsson. "Redback now will have the global reach and financial resources to accelerate its own routing technology innovation and grow market share faster than our traditional routing competitors."
  • Earlier this year, Ericsson completed its acquisition of Marconi. The deal, which was valued at US$2 billion when it was announced in October 2005, included Marconi's optical networking business, Marconi's broadband and fixed radio access network business, Marconi's softswitch business, and Marconi's data networking equipment and services businesses.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Unicom Deploys UTStarcom's CDMA2000 Gear in Alaska

Unicom Inc., a communications carrier and a wholly owned subsidiary of United Companies, will deploy UTStarcom's MovingMedia 2000 all-IP CDMA2000 network solution in its new digital cellular network for rural Alaska. The initial deployment phase of Unicom's new digital cellular network will provide wireless voice and broadband data services in Bethel and the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta area of Alaska. The network's main infrastructure will be located in Bethel and will be connected by either satellite or microwave transmission to the outlying communities.

Sony's PLAYSTATION Network Moves to Akamai

Sony Computer Entertainment's PLAYSTATION Network is adopting Akamai's content delivery for the PLAYSTATION 3 (PS3).

In addition to providing delivery services to Japanese companies that offer online game content, such as SCE, Akamai's global platform is being leveraged in Japan to drive the commercial use of the Internet by providing delivery services optimized to meet the particular needs of companies in a variety of fields including image-delivery services, financial services, food and beverage services, cosmetics, and multimedia.