Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Spirent's Chairman Takes Over as CEO, Gustafsson Out

Spirent Communications' CEO, Anders Gustafsson, has left the company with immediate effect, following a boardroom coup.

Edward Bramson, who became Chairman of the company late last year, will take over management responsibilities. Bramson has launched a strategic review of the company's operations. Spirent expects to announce the results of the review in advance of is scheduled annual shareholder meeting in May.

1394 Trade Association Targets Copper Spec for Vehicle Multimedia Networks

The 1394 Trade Association, which supports "FireWire" connectivity technology, is forming a new task group to complete the IDB-1394 copper specification for use of copper in 1394-based vehicle entertainment networks.

The group is working on a design with 400 Mbps bandwidth capacity and the ability to move A/V through vehicle networks that reach 4.5 meters. The work will be consistent with the requirements of the auto manufacturers and their OEM suppliers.

The pending specification will cover the requirements for Shielded Twisted Pair, Twisted Quad, and coaxial. It also will provide the power budget criteria so auto manufacturers and their suppliers can implement cable lengths sufficient to deal with vehicle harness layout constraints and complexities.

The 1394 Trade Association said it has developed a POF specification for the vehicle network, and optical fiber has remained a preferred medium in some early applications. However, there are advantages and disadvantages with both copper and plastic optical fiber, so completing a copper specification will enable the automakers and their OEM suppliers to have as many options as possible for both the backbone and for individual controller modules within the network.

Major automakers from the U.S., Europe and Japan are currently implementing initial in-vehicle multimedia networks, with many manufacturers moving toward the use of IDB-1394-based technology.

IPv6 Forum Tests VoIP Interoperability

The IPv6 Forum, along with Viagenie, Stealth Communications and CounterPath Solutions, conducted a series of VoIP calls over IPv6, marking an important advancement in worldwide interoperability among VoIP technologies using IPv6.

The VoIP calls, connecting Viagenie in Canada and Consulintel in Spain, were conducted using the CounterPath eyeBeam softphone through the IPv6 version of Asterisk, ported by Viagenie, a consulting and R&D firm in advanced IP networking. The Asterisk-IPv6 server was located on Stealth Communications' Voice Peering Fabric (VPF) network.

"The IPv6 Forum and its IPv6 Ready Program are adding SIP into its test suite to promote SIP and IPv6 interoperability worldwide. This is another major milestone in demonstrating true end to end services," stresses Latif Ladid, IPv6 Forum President.

Sonus IMS Trunking Supports Billing Correlation between Network Operators

Sonus Networks released a new version of its IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-ready solution featuring standards-based support for billing between different service provider's IP voice networks.

The latest release offers the ability for operators to track individual calls throughout their own network and when the call is handed off to other network operators. The Sonus GSX9000 Open Services Switch and the GSX4000 Open Services Switch both support this billing requirement.

Sonus' platform can generate identifying information and support the seamless integration of Sonus-based networks with other IP-voice networks. In addition, Sonus' Network Border Switch delivers this functionality to allow operators to continue tracking calls for billing purposes as the call crosses network borders. Sonus said it is one of the first telecommunications vendors to support this IMS-required billing feature.

CNBC's "FastMoney" Show Adds Streaming Video Viewer Interaction via WebEx

CNBC's "Fast Money" television program (8 PM-9 PM ET, weeknights) will allow viewers to interact with the show's hosts in real-time via webcams. Fast Money is using WebEx Meeting Center from the on-demand collaboration. The companies describe the video interaction as a convergence of Web 2.0 and broadcast television.

AT&T Appoints New President of Global Operations

Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. has been appointed as the president of AT&T Global Operations. This is a new position designed to accelerate the growth of AT&T's portfolio of IP services and solutions to global companies and institutions in key markets around the world.

Before the AT&T-BellSouth merger, Mr. Barros was the chief product officer of retail markets for BellSouth, where he was responsible for the management of voice, data and IP services, and the development and commercialization of future products and services. Previously, Barros was president of BellSouth Latin America. Before joining BellSouth in 2000, Barros served as corporate vice president and general manager of Latin America Group for Motorola.

ARRIS Decides Not to Increase Offer for Tandberg Television

ARRIS decided not to increase its offer to acquire Tandberg Television, following the higher bid Ericsson made for the firm. Tandberg Television has therefore terminated its acquisition agreement with ARRIS. In connection with the decision, ARRIS has received a termination fee of $18 million. ARRIS also expects to realize net gains of approximately $11 - $12 million on the sale of foreign exchange contracts that ARRIS had purchased to hedge a portion of the purchase price. ARRIS estimates that it incurred approximately $9 - $10 million of expenses associated with the transaction.
  • On 28-Feb-2007, Ericsson made a public cash offer to acquire Tandberg Television for SEK 9.8 billion (US$1.4 billion), or NOK 106 in cash per share -- representing a premium of 18.2% to Tandberg's 90-day volume weighted average stock price. The bid represents a 10.4% premium over the acquisition offer made by ARRIS on 15-January-2007. Ericsson said it makes a better strategic partner for Tandberg TV because together the companies could offer a complete IPTV solution.

Jury Awards $58 Million to Verizon in Patent Case Against Vonage

Verizon prevailed on two counts in patent infringement case against Vonage. Jurors for the U.S. District Court for the Virginia Eastern District ordered Vonage to pay $58 million in damages to Verizon for infringement of three U.S. covering methods of offering commercial-quality VoIP services, including wireless access to VoIP.

For its part, Vonage said it is "delighted that the jury rejected Verizon's meritless claim that we infringed their two billing patents. Of the seven patents Verizon originally sued on, they prevailed on only three and we expect that verdict to be reversed on appeal."

Telecom Argentina Reaches 457,000 ADSL Users

As of December 31, 2006, Telecom Argentina had 457,000 ADSL customers, up from 226,000 a year earlier. Lines with ADSL connections accounted for more than 11% of Telecom's lines in service. The number of cellular customers rose to 9.6 million (including Argentina and Paraguay), up from 6.8 million a year earlier. Fixed lines in service rose 4% to 4.1 million.

During FY06, Telecom Argentina's consolidated net revenues increased 30% (+P$1,719 million vs. FY05) to P$7,437 million, mainly fueled by the expansion of the cellular and broadband businesses.

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."

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.