Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Neuf to Offer 50 Mbps FTTx at EUR29.90 in Paris

Beginning in April, Neuf Cegetel plans to begin offering a FTTx service in Paris priced at EUR 29.90 (including VAT) per month. Like the company's "100% Neuf Box ADSL package", the new offer will include the phone line, unlimited calls to landline numbers in France and over 30 countries, a television bouquet, access to video on demand, and the Neuf Giga online storage service.

The Neuf FTTx service will deliver dynamic bandwidth of 50 Mbps (both uplink and downlinks at up to 50 Mbps). Neuf is also planning to offer a 100 Mbps premium service.

Neuf, which began its fiber rollout in December 2006, is planning to pass one million homes by end of 2009. Coverage areas will include Paris and its suburbs, districts of other major cities, and other areas selected on the basis of rollout costs and opportunities to increase market share.

Neuf Cegetel will mainly be offering all-fiber connections based on FTTH technology ; it will also offer FTTB connection using the existing copper cable and T-plugs already installed, as it is a more rapid and less invasive process, without work at customers' homes.

Since 1998, the company has invested some EUR 2.8 billion on laying 45,000 km of cable, building metropolitan loops in major French cities, and connecting operator and enterprise sites (around 4,000 to date).

CAPEX for the FTTx rollout cost, split over 2007, 2008 and 2009, will be around EUR 300 million. The average cost per customer (including infrastructure through to the home, plus connection) is expected to be around EUR 1,200.

Neuf Cegetel has also recently acquired Médiafibre, which serves around 3,000 FTTH customers in the city of Pau (among around 40,000 homes passed). On 20 February 2007, the group announced an agreement to take a controlling stake in Erenis based in Paris. This transaction should be finalized in March. In addition, the group's LD Collectivités subsidiary recently won its first public contract to develop FTTH in the Paris region. Through Erenis (operational in FTTx since 2003, with over 55,000 homes passed and over 10,000 customers connected), Neuf Cegetel will lead the field on FTTx rollout in Paris. The group expects a sharp increase in the number of homes passed over the coming months, as negotiations are finalized with landlords of many buildings within the programme's coverage area.

  • In September 2006, Neuf Cegetel agreed to acquire AOL's French Internet access business, including 500,000 broadband customers, and its AMSE operation, which manages AOL France's customer service operations (500 people), for EUR 288 million.

  • Neuf Cegetel's two key shareholders are the Louis Dreyfus and SFR groups.

  • 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 would 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 plans to invest EUR 1 billion in the project through 2012. The company initially will targets areas were its Freebox installation density is greatest. The Freebox HD's ADSL2+ terminal will be replaced by an optical box. The company plans to offer a EUR 29.99 per month service that includes 50 Mbps Internet access, HD TV, and unlimited calling to numbers in France and certain international locations.

  • In December 2006, France Telecom announced plans for a FTTx rollout in Paris using a GPON architecture. FT aims to have 150,000 to 200,000 customers connected by the end of 2008 out of a potential client base of 1 million.

Fiber-to-the-Home Council Calls for "100 Megabit Nation"

The Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council is calling on the U.S. government to adopt a "100 Megabit Nation" policy aimed at ensuring that next-generation broadband connections are universally available by 2015.

The FTTH Council proposed that Congress and the President act by the end of 2007 to adopt a strategy and timetable for clearing the way for all Americans to gain access to communication services at transmission speeds in excess of 100 Mbps. The recommendation included the goal of extending, through both private and public sector initiatives, affordable next-generation broadband to a majority of Americans by 2010, with universal availability by 2015.

"Other nations are deploying lightening-fast broadband networks that have the potential to leave America's available systems in the dust if we don't upgrade quickly," said Leonard Ray, Chairman of the Council's Government Relations Committee. "In Japan, Korea, and a number of European countries, fiber-to-the-home networks and 100 megabit connections are increasingly common. America must accelerate its broadband connectivity."http://www.ftthcouncil.org

Nokia Reorganizes North American Device Business

Nokia is reorganizing its North America sales and marketing organization with the goal of becoming more channel-focused. Specifically, Nokia is redefining the roles of its device sales teams for North America and relocating most sales support people closer to customers. The device sales organization will move most of its support functions from Irving, Texas, to Nokia's corporate facilities in White Plains, New York.

As part of the changes, Mark Louison, the current head of Nokia's networks business in North America, has been appointed to head Nokia's devices business in the area as of July 1, 2007. As of April 1, Mr. Louison will also become President of Nokia Inc., the North American arm of Nokia. After the realignment and relocation is complete, Tim Eckersley, the current head of Nokia's device sales in North America, will leave his current position at the end of June.


Alcatel-Lucent Names Reinaudo as President of Europe & North activities

Alcatel-Lucent appointed Christian Reinaudo as President of the company's Europe and North* activities, replacing Vin Molinaro, who has decided to leave the company. Reinaudo will also continue in his current role as Integration Program Office (IPO) leader and Steering Council Member.

Before his current role as Corporate Executive Vice-President in charge of the Integration Program Office, Christian Reinaudo led the Alcatel Optics Group for four years and then led Alcatel's Asia Pacific Operations for three years. Christian Reinaudo has been a member of the Alcatel Executive Committee since 2000.


Alcatel-Lucent Expands IP/MPLS Routing Portfolio

Alcatel-Lucent rolled out a series of IP/MPLS edge routing products and enhancements, including a new 6-slot, 80 Gbps (full-duplex) chassis and switch fabric for its 7450 ESS platform and new operating system software. The new capabilities address network scalability, availability and resiliency. Highlights of these new features include:

  • Multi-chassis Link Aggregation and Subscriber Routed Redundancy Protocol (SRRP) -- enables dual-homed links from any IEEE 802.3ad standards-based access device (e.g. IP DSLAM, Ethernet switch or Video on Demand server) to multiple Layer 2 or Layer 3 aggregation nodes. In contrast with slow recovery mechanisms such as Spanning Tree, multi-chassis LAG provides synchronized and stateful redundancy for VPN services or triple play subscribers in the event of the access link or aggregation node failing, with zero impact to end users and their services.

  • Pseudowire and VPLS Link Redundancy -- extends link-level resiliency for pseudowires (PW) and Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS) to protect critical network paths against physical link or node failures. This enables the virtualization of redundant paths across the metro or core IP network to provide seamless and transparent fail-over for point-to-point and multi-point connections and services. When deployed in conjunction with multi-chassis LAG, the path for return traffic is maintained through the pseudowire or VPLS switchover, enabling carriers to deliver "always on" services across their IP/MPLS networks.

  • Release 5.0 of the Service Aware Manager - offers enhanced manageability; improved scaling of network deployments to double the size previously supported; multi-vendor, end-to-end service troubleshooting through third-party device configuration management and alarm surveillance; and advanced automation for tunnel and service creation.

  • Six-slot 7450 Ethernet Service Switch chassis and 80 Gbps switch fabric - optimized for locations requiring high availability, but lower aggregate bandwidth and interface capacity. The new switch fabric offers stateful switching and routing redundancy. It is optimized for point-to-point and multi-point Ethernet services, as well as triple play aggregation and subscriber management. The new six-slot chassis complements the existing one-slot, seven-slot and 12-slot variants, providing the industry's most complete set of MPLS-based Carrier Ethernet Switch/Routers.

  • New interface modules for Alcatel-Lucent 7450 ESS, 7710 SR and 7750 SR - this includes a combination Gigabit Ethernet/10 Gigabit Ethernet Media Dependent Adapter (MDA) (provides 1x10Gb/s and 10x1Gb/s Ethernet ports on a half-slot interface card) and an Any Service, Any Port (ASAP) MDA (provides four-port OC-3/STM-1 and supports the termination of Frame Relay, Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) and ATM access circuits down to DS0 level).

AT&T Adds 13,000 New Hot Spots to Global Wi-Fi Access Footprint

AT&T announced a major expansion of its global Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) footprint for business customers, adding 13,000 hot spots around the world. The total global Wi-Fi service area offered by AT&T now exceeds more than 48,000 hot spots in 79 countries.

Also, AT&T has enhanced its Global Network Client -- the software used by mobile workers to access their company's VPNs -- streamlining logons and adding a new level of security features from these locations and other Wi-Fi hot spots around the world.


Motorola Expands its Network Operations Center

Motorola has expanded the capabilities of its centralized Network Operations Center (NOC) and Security Operations Center (SOC) to offer managed services such as remote monitoring and diagnostics for private and public wireless networks, including cellular and wireless broadband systems.

Historically, Motorola has offered monitoring services for private radio system customers such as municipalities, enterprises and public safety agencies.

In 2006, Motorola enhanced its monitoring process and implemented a software solution to manage events for private and public networks, known in the industry as a correlation engine.

Motorola said its new solution provides end-to-end service visibility to rapidly expose and resolve network and security issues. A Security Operations Center is housed within the NOC, providing 24x7 security monitoring services.


TiVo Ends January with 4.4 Million Subscribers

TiVo's cumulative total subscriptions as of January 31, 2007 were up slightly from last quarter to 4.4 million. In the quarter, TiVo-Owned subscription gross additions were 163,000, increasing overall TiVo-Owned subscriptions to 1.7 million. As expected, TiVo reported a net decline to 2.7 million DIRECTV TiVo subscriptions during the period as DIRECTV deployed fewer TiVo boxes and as there was continued churn of existing DIRECTV TiVo subscriptions.

For its most recent fiscal quarter, TiVo's service and technology revenues increased 22% to $57.4 million, compared with $47.0 million for the same period last year. TiVo reported a net loss of ($18.7) million and a net loss per share of ($0.19), compared to a net loss of ($21.1) million, or ($0.25) per share, for the fourth quarter of last year. Adjusted EBITDA loss was ($14.2) million, compared to a loss of ($19.9) million in the year-ago period. Adjusted EBITDA excludes stock-based compensation, interest income, depreciation and amortization.

TiVo said it is looking to five growth engines:

  • First, delivering broadband content directly to the television through its deal with Amazon, as well as through other broadband content features such as TiVoCast, Home Movies via OneTrueMedia, which provides friends and family a private channel to view personal content through their TiVo service, and the TiVo Desktop autotranscode functionality, which gets internet video off of the Web and displays it on the TV set.

  • Mass distribution -- TiVo service on Comcast product is expected to launch in its initial market in the near-future and Cox is targeted for initial market availability later this year.

  • Retail partnerships. TiVo will be highly focused this year on launching a lower-priced, mass appeal High Definition product.

  • TiVo plans to advertise throughout the year with a far more extensive effort to educate the market on TiVo's brand and the service's highly differentiated features.

  • TiVo believes its financial model will move it significantly closer to Adjusted EBITDA break-even for Fiscal Year 2008 and substantially improve the perception of the company's long-term financial prospects.


Monday, March 5, 2007

Extreme Networks Hires ex-Sun Exec to Head Sales

Extreme Networks named Helmut Wilke as its new senior vice president of worldwide sales. Wilke previously was senior vice president of operations and support for Sun Microsystems. Prior to this, Wilke served as the vice president of sales and President of Sun Microsystems, Germany, where he led a group with 1,500 employees, transitioning it to a solutions-focused approach. Prior to Sun, Wilke was the CEO and president of Software AG, a leading manufacturer of software and systems for large corporations.


Verizon Business Links BEHRINGER Worldwide

BEHRINGER, a manufacturer and distributor of professional audio and musical instrument products, has implemented Verizon Private IP connecting six of BEHRINGER's key offices worldwide. Under a two-year contract, Verizon Business linking BEHRINGER's headquarters in Singapore with its manufacturing base in China and other primary business locations in the U.S.A., Germany and the Philippines.


New Venture Targets Digital Cinema Distribution

Warner Bros. Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Digital Cinema Implementation Partners (DCIP) have formed a joint venture for the digital delivery for digital cinema.

The company said it will develop the most cost-effective form of digital content delivery through technologies such as satellite or digital terrestrial distribution. The delivery system will be open and available to any content provider, vendor or exhibitor.

Under the current distribution system, individual prints of each movie are physically shipped to theaters in cans -- or hard drives in the case of existing digital cinema.

A digital distribution system, which streamlines the delivery process and limits the number of people who handle the product, is expected to increase security and support the fight against film piracy.


Ixia's IPTV Testing Generates Realistic Video Traffic

Ixia's new Aptixia IxNetwork 5.20 application running on its Optixia hardware platform is now supporting the ability to generate and analyze IPTV video traffic over emulated IP network topologies. Engineers can now test the routing control plane and simultaneously stress the data plane by directing both real-world video traffic and packet-based network traffic over the emulated topologies. This enables them to better characterize the performance of routers/switches that deliver IPTV services.

Ixia's IxNetwork characterizes the performance and scalability of routers, switches, and other Layer 2/3 forwarding devices by running large-scale routing protocol emulations and generating realistic video traffic. Technologies supported include IP routing, MPLS, Multicast and Bridging.

Acme Packet Extends Session Border Control Capabilities

Acme Packet introduced over 30 new features and enhancements that further extend the control capabilities of its Net-Net session border controllers (SBCs) for interconnecting IP voice (VoIP), video and multimedia networks to one another. The new features enhance security, service reach maximization, SLA assurance, revenue and profit protection and regulatory compliance.

Acme Packet said the new peering features in Net-Net OS Release 5.0 enhance the precise signaling and media control required by service providers in their interconnect deployments. More specifically, the numerous new edge routing features in Release 5.0 are designed to optimize the selection of the best-available peered network for sessions leaving a provider's network to ensure quality while minimizing transport or termination costs. Similarly, the admission and signaling overload control features assure SLAs for incoming traffic and police network usage. Many SIP, H.323, SIP-H.323 interworking and SDP enhancements facilitate greater interoperability to extend service reach while maintaining security. More flexible and optimized accounting for sessions crossing the interconnect border are enabled via RADIUS Call Detail Record (CDR) enhancements.

Acme Packet's control capabilities have also been extended to the data, text, image and application content of multimedia sessions such as gaming and collaboration.

To protect session privacy between peered networks, the scale of the IPSec encryption capabilities has been increased to 512,000 security associations per SBC using new physical network interface hardware. Lastly, service availability commitments in SLA agreements are addressed with several enhancements in the areas of SBC management, troubleshooting and high-availability operation.


ARCHOS Adds WiFi to its Mobile Touchscreen DVR

ARCHOS introduced a Portable Media Player combining WiFi and a 7-inch touch-screen and full wireless capabilities. The new 704-WiFi presents 800x480 resolution and 5x7 dimension.

It features an 80 GB hard drive with the capacity to store 100 hours of video, or about 70 DVD-quality movies, as well as two high-quality speakers for enhanced audio even without headphones. The 704-WiFi also supports video downloads from the online stores.

Battery life is approximately 25 hours for music playback and five hours for video playback and Internet browsing, according to the company.

The unit is priced at $549.99.


BT Teams with Avaya on Contact Centre Solution

BT and Avaya are launching BT Avaya OnNet, a new service designed to enable organisations to transform their contact centre operations.

The new hosted "pay-as-you-go" service means capacity and geographic location can be adjusted as consumer demands change. BT Avaya OnNet is expected to be of particular benefit to financial services, retailers and utility companies, who experience significant seasonal demand.



France Telecom Serving 577,000 IPTV Customers

As of year-end 2006, France Telecom was serving 5.9 million ADSL Orange customers in France for an estimated share of 49% of the nation's broadband market. There were 345,000 net ADSL additions in Q4 alone. In Spain, Orange is serving some 640,000 ADSL customers.

There were 4.1 million LiveBox users in Europe, of which 3.4 million are in France. That means that as of the end of 2006, 58% of the company's ADSL customers were equipped with LiveBox units.

The number of IPTV clients in France reached 577,000. Orange IPTV service has also been launched in Spain and Poland.

Some addition highlights of the annual report:

  • 97.6 million mobile subscribers (15.1% yoy growth)

  • 5.8 million mobile broadband subscribers

  • Fixed-Mobile-Convergence (FMC) -- a total of 64,000 "Unik" phones were sold in the first 2 months of availability.

  • Organic cash-flow of 7.15 billion euros, higher than the stated objective of 6.95 billion euros (adjusted to only include PagesJaunes Groupe until the date of its sale)

  • Gross Operating Margin of 18.54 billion euros, and a GOM rate of 35.9%, a reduction of 1.4 percentage points (on an historic and a comparable basis), in line with the Group's stated objective (a decrease in the margin of between 1 to 2 percentage points)

  • Capital expenditure (CAPEX) of 6.73 billion euros, representing 13% of revenues (12.5% in 2005), in line with the Group's stated objectives

  • Group share of net profit 4.139 billion euros compared to 5.709 billion euros in 2005. On a like-for-like basis, adjusted for exceptional items, the 2006 figure of 4.152 billion euros is slightly ahead of the 3.992 billion euros reported in 2005

TiVo and EarthLink to Bundle Services

TiVo and EarthLink announced an agreement to offer bundled Internet and television services. This brings together the stand-alone TiVo Series2 Dual Tuner DVR and TiVo service with EarthLink branded dial-up, DSL, or digital voice services.

EarthLink will begin marketing the bundle later this year. In the future, the parties could utilize TiVoCast to deliver additional content via broadband to EarthLink subscribers who use the TiVo service. Specific pricing and financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.



AT&T Launches U-verse in Dallas-Fort Worth

AT&T launches its U-verse service in the Dallas- Fort Worth metroplex. The service will be available with more than 300 TV channels, including more than 25 HD channels, along with HD digital video recording (DVR) capability. Three tiers of Internet service are offered, the fastest of which reaches 6 Mbps in the downlink.

AT&T U-verse services are now offered in parts of 14 markets across five stateshttp://www.att.com

Verizon FiOS TV Adds VOD Titles in Spanish, Chinese, Hindi

Verizon has added content in Spanish, Chinese and Hindi to its FiOS TV service through an agreement with SIVOO Inc., an first Internet TV network of multicultural on-demand entertainment programming. SIVOO will provide 236 titles in Spanish, Chinese and Hindi to Verizon over three years.

During March, Verizon will offer eight films each in Spanish and Hindi and three in Chinese, and SIVOO will refresh the selection monthly. The on demand films cost $3.99 each for 24 hours of viewing. http://www.verizon.com

Verizon FiOS TV Adds VOD Titles in Spanish, Chinese, Hindi

Verizon has added content in Spanish, Chinese and Hindi to its FiOS TV service through an agreement with SIVOO Inc., an first Internet TV network of multicultural on-demand entertainment programming. SIVOO will provide 236 titles in Spanish, Chinese and Hindi to Verizon over three years.

During March, Verizon will offer eight films each in Spanish and Hindi and three in Chinese, and SIVOO will refresh the selection monthly. The on demand films cost $3.99 each for 24 hours of viewing. http://www.verizon.com