Thursday, August 30, 2007

FCC Dismisses M2Z Petition for 2155-2175 MHz band

The dismissed a petition from M2Z Networks seeking an exclusive license to nationwide spectrum in the 2155-2175 MHz band. The company had sought to provide free, advertising-supported, wireless Internet access in areas reaching 95% of the U.S. population. In return, M2Z was promising a 5% royalty payment of its revenues to the U.S. Treasury for 15 years.

In a statement, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wrote "the public interest is best served by considering fully the best use of this spectrum in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, rather than through forbearance petitions seeking exclusive use for a single entity."

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, who also voted to dismiss the M2Z petition, issued a statement outlining the possibilities that could result from the Proposed Rulemaking: (1) opening this band to unlicensed use, as has proved so productive in other bands; (2) designating it for an open access model that would combine wholesale broadband access and a Carterfone mandate; (3) using it to provide free, advertiser-supported broadband service (as initially proposed by M2Z and one other applicant) as well as a fee-based premium broadband service; or (4) allocating it through a traditional, largely unconditioned auction.
  • M2Z Networks attracted a number of high-profile backers, including the firms of Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers; Charles River Ventures; and Redpoint Ventures.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

MetaSwitch Exceeds 500 Softswitch / Media Gateway Deployments

MetaSwitch announced several significant milestones, including:

  • More than 500 of the company's award-winning softswitch / media gateway systems have been deployed by more than 250 service provider customers

  • MetaSwitch solutions are serving subscribers in 50 U.S. states, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia

  • MetaSwitch now counts as committed customers nine of the top 50 U.S. ILECs, including such leading providers as Windstream and CenturyTel

  • Its total shipments of Class 5 switching capacity passed the 10 million subscriber mark.

Metaswitch also noted that over the last three years, the company averaged a quarter-to-quarter increase in systems shipped of 23 percent. Over the last year alone, customer deployments accounted for an average of 400,000 new media gateway ports added each quarter.

Cisco and Trend Micro Extend Collaboration

Cisco Systems announced an agreement to extend Trend Micro security services incorporated into Cisco's network infrastructure products. The companies have been collaborating since 2004 when they began plans to incorporate Trend Micro's content security services into Cisco's Adaptive Security Appliance family. In addition to the Cisco ASA collaboration, Trend Micro became one of Cisco's first Network Admission Control partners.

Under the deal, the companies now will work closely on integrating additional content security services into Cisco's routing offerings.

IBM Cites Breakthroughs in Nano Storage, Molecular-level Switching

IBM announced two major scientific breakthroughs in the field of nanotechnology that could have significant impact in digital communications. The basic research is being publishing in two reports by the journal Science.

The first discovery concerns a property called magnetic anisotropy, which concerns an atom's ability to store information. Until now, nobody has been able to measure the magnetic anisotropy of a single atom. Using IBM's special scanning tunneling microscope (STM), researchers were able to manipulate individual iron atoms and arrange them with atomic precision on a specially prepared copper surface. The researchers then determined the orientation and strength of the magnetic anisotropy of the individual iron atoms.

With further work it may be possible to build structures consisting of small clusters of atoms, or even individual atoms, that could reliably store magnetic information.

IBM calculates that digital storage based on magnetic anisotropy would enable nearly 30,000 feature length movies or the entire contents of YouTube -- millions of videos estimated to be more than 1,000 trillion bits of data -- to fit in a device the size of an iPod.

IBM also predicts the breakthrough could lead to new kinds of structures and devices that are so small they could be applied to entire new fields and disciplines beyond traditional computing.

In the second report, IBM researchers unveiled the first single-molecule switch that can operate flawlessly without disrupting the molecule's outer frame -- a significant step toward building computing elements at the molecular scale that are vastly smaller, faster and use less energy than today's computer chips and memory devices.

In addition to switching within a single molecule, the researchers also demonstrated that atoms inside one molecule can be used to switch atoms in an adjacent molecule, representing a rudimentary logic element. This is made possible partly because the molecular framework is not disturbed.

Ciena Reports Revenue of $205.0 million, up 34.4% YoY

Ciena posted third quarter revenue of $205.0 million, representing a 5.9% sequential increase from fiscal second quarter revenue of $193.5 million, and an increase of 34.4% over the same period a year ago when the company reported sales of $152.5 million.

Ciena's net income (GAAP) for the fiscal third quarter 2007 was $28.3 million, or $0.29 per diluted share. This represents a 117.6% sequential increase from fiscal second quarter GAAP net income of $13.0 million, and compares with a reported GAAP net loss of $4.3 million, or a loss of $0.05 per share, for the same period a year ago. Overall gross margin was 47.7% and product gross margin was 53.7%.

Taiwan's Chunghwa Reaches 310,000 FTTB and 333,000 IPTV Subscribers

Chunghwa Telecom, the incumbent operator in Taiwan, reported Q2 revenue of NT$50.6 billion, up 9% over the same period last year, driven by Internet and data revenue (up 6.7%); ADSL & FTTB (up 4.6%), mobile revenue (up 2.2%) and mobile valued added-services (up 23%).

Some highlights for the quarter:

  • Strong growth in HiNet FTTB subscriptions, with net additions of 72k over the course of the second quarter bringing the total number of HiNet FTTB subscribers to 310k on June 30, 2007, a significant increase from 30k a year earlier.

  • Total HiNet Internet subscribers decreased 7.3% from 1Q 2007 to 4.03 million at the end of June 2007, due to the separation of 330k Prepaid Card subscribers from the total HiNet subscriber base since May 2007.

  • As of the end of June 2007, Chunghwa had 333k multimedia on-demand (MOD) or IPTV subscribers, with 48k new subscriptions added during the second quarter, a solid 112.5% year-on-year increase.

  • Overall, the company had 4.17 million broadband subscribers (including ADSL and FTTB subscribers) at the end of June 2007, a 7.7% increase in the number of total broadband subscriptions compared to the same period of last year.

  • By the end of June 2007, the number of ADSL and FTTB subscriptions with a service speed of greater than 8 Mbps reached 1.04 million, representing 24.9% of total broadband subscribers.

  • Total Data revenues were NT$5.69 billion in 1H 2007, a 8.2% increase compared to in 1H 2006.

  • As of June 30, 2007, Chunghwa had 8.58 million mobile subscribers,
    slightly up quarter-on-quarter by 0.29% compared to 8.56 million on March 31, 2007.

  • Chunghwa's total mobile subscriber market share (including 2G, 3G and PHS) was 36.3%, while 2G revenue and 2G subscriber market share were 35.1% and 40.2%, respectively.

  • Chunghwa had 400k net additions to its 3G subscriber base during the second quarter, recording a 31.1% rise in the total number of 3G subscribers to 1.68 million on June 30, 2007. At the end of second quarter this year, the ARPU of 3G was 58% higher than that of 2G.

  • Mobile VAS revenue for 1H 2007 was NT$2.4 billion, posting an 18.0%
    increase year-on-year, with SMS revenue up 24.6% and mobile internet revenue up 23.4%.

  • As of the end of June 2007, the Chunghwa maintained its leading fixed- line market position, with fixed-line subscribers totaling 13.04 million.

Amdocs Cites Milestone for its Qpass Digital Commerce

Amdocs announced that its Qpass digital commerce solution has processed more than $2.5 billion worth of premium digital products and services, representing over 900 million transactions since 2003.

Citing a growth in the number of mobile subscribers using premium data services, Amdocs expects that in 2007 alone its Qpass digital commerce solution will process more than $1 billion in premium digital content, an increase of approximately 40 percent over 2006.

Amdocs also noted an interesting trend in mobile commerce - it has seen the average price per premium content transaction go up from $3.18 in January to $3.49 in June. Direct-to-consumer, or so-called "off-portal" sales in which consumers purchase premium services or products directly from content providers and pay via their service provider billing mechanisms, have also grown as a result of stronger marketing efforts. As of June 2007, off-portal sales grew 15 percent over the previous 12 months contributing to the overall growth in the digital content market.
  • In April 2006, Amdocs agreed to acquire Qpass, a leading provider of digital commerce software and solutions, for approximately $275 million in cash. Qpass can act as a channel between the content provider and the service provider, helping to determine how to offer, manage, charge, and fulfill for the service. It plays a key role in enabling the value chain and monetizing digital content. Qpass currently has relationships with over 300 content providers and also works with some of the largest carrier groups globally, including Cingular, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

Starz Entertainment Employs Motorola's HD Encoding

Starz Entertainment will utilize a Motorola four-channel, high-definition (HD) MPEG encoding system for the upcoming launch of its new HD channels -- Starz Comedy, Starz Edge and Starz Kids & Family.

The new HD system compresses, encrypts, and modulates the HD signals. within a single integrated transmission system. It is configured for STARZ using Motorola's Modular Uplink System which will support Starz's planned future migration to MPEG-4 compression technology.

Motorola said its MPEG-4 AVC technology handles both 1920 x 1080I and 1280 x 720P resolutions at approximately half the bandwidth required with similar MPEG-2 coded signals.

A key component of the enhanced content delivery chain is Motorola's new DSR4410MD multi-program demodulator/decryptor. The new 1 RU product receives DVB-S2 modulated signals and decrypts up to 64 services from a single MPEG-2 transport stream. Testing with STARZ signals has shown reliable transmission at 77.5 Mbps using a 36 MHz, C-Band transponder -- which translates into four- to-five MPEG-2 HD streams or as many as 10 MPEG-4/AVC HD streams.

Deutsche Telekom Promotes IPTV Packages

Deutsche Telekom is showcasing new features of its "Entertain Comfort" IPTV service at this week's Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) show in Berlin. The company is offering new promotions for the IPTV offering, which is now available in 3 price tiers. DT is offering "Bundesliga on PREMIERE" soccer programming, promising a stadium-like effect when watching HD coverage on a wide screen TV. The first 20,000 Entertain customers will get a special offering -- the complete 2007/2008 season of Germany's top-flight Bundesliga soccer league at no extra charge.

Some other highlights:

  • IPTV will be available to 17.2 million households across Germany by the end of the year.

  • VDSL will be available in 27 cities and towns across Germany by the end of the year.

  • ADLS2+ is now available in 750 towns and cities across Germany

  • 10.3 million DSL lines currently in service

  • the company has captured at least 40% market share of new DSL accounts in Germany for the past 3 quarters.

  • VOD library contains 2,000 titles

  • the company is expanding its MyFaves mobile feature, enabling calling across networks for 5 cents per minute

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Interphase Hires Former Alcatel Exec as VP Engineering

Interphase named Marc E. DeVinney as its new vice president of engineering. Prior to joining Interphase, DeVinney spent 25 years with Alcatel, serving in various capacities. Most recently, DeVinney served as Director, Mobile Solutions Circuit Core for Alcatel in Paris.

Blockbuster Israel Deploys Orca for IPTV and WebTV

Blockbuster Israel, a franchise of the U.S. DVD rental firm, is using Orca Interactive's RiGHTv middleware platform for the delivery of digital video services. The project was valued at US$3 million.

Using Orca's new combined solution, Blockbuster Israel will launch a new Internet service for progressive download of up-to-date digital content over PCs by the end of the year. In early 2008, Blockbuster Israel plans to provide an IPTV-ready STB to enable TV connectivity from the PC and advanced services such as Push VOD and HDTV, followed by a complete digital TV offering.

Orca's new WebTV offering includes progressive download and push VOD capabilities over PCs and STBs, in addition to other services such as PVR, home media and high definition television based on VOD push. The combined IPTV and WebTV platform supports the new WebTV capabilities alongside IPTV services such as video-on-demand and live television. The WebTV-powered RiGHTv middleware platform continues to provide connectivity to OSS/BSS systems, enabling service providers to efficiently operate both services.

Germany's QSC Deploys Huawei

QSC AG (QSC), which operates a nationwide network in Germany, has deployed Huawei's ME60 multi-service control
gateways (MSCG). The ME60 is a next-generation multi-service edge solution supporting QoS. After a strict test and selection process, QSC chose Huawei as a partner to build up its All IP network. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Vodafone Portugal Selects HP Fraud Management System

Vodafone Portugal will deploy the HP Fraud Management System (HP FMS) to mitigate fraudulent activity on its mobile and fixed networks.

HP FMS, which has been implemented at more than 80 service providers worldwide, helps network operators to identify, investigate and respond to all types of fraudulent behavior from all kinds of services. HP said major features and benefits of the latest release of HP FMS include:

  • Greater precision in fraud detection through user-defined key risk indicators with threshold alarming and extended patterns;

  • Enhanced case management with improved case escalation, notification management and advanced reporting;

  • Advanced security and audit capabilities to guard against internal mistakes and intentional misconduct.

Broadcom Introduces First 65 Nanometer Gigabit Ethernet Switches

Broadcom announced the availability of the industry's first Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switches produced in 65 nanometer (65nm) CMOS process technology.

Broadcom said an unprecedented level of integration is achieved using 65nm process technology, which enables lower-power silicon. This, in turn, reduces overall costs in local area networks (LAN), service provider networks and data centers.

The new StrataXGS 200 series contains highly integrated multilayer Ethernet switches that can support up to 28 GbE ports and can operate at 10/100/1000 Mbps. The series provides wire speed Layer 2 (L2) switching and Layer 3 (L3) routing for highly manageable enterprise networks. It also performs IPv6 routing and transition services in hardware,. The series also integrates a 32-bit MIPS CPU processor optimized for supporting advanced QoS capabilities, including sophisticated metering, statistics and traffic management.

Broadcom estimates that it currently holds 70 percent market share in merchant silicon for GbE switch integrated circuits (ICs).

Lockheed Martin Announces IPv6 Transition Pilot

Lockheed Martin made a significant networking announcement: the company will transition a portion of its global network to IPv6.

The pilot program will work through all phases of a full-scale IPv6 transition, upgrading a network that connects laboratories in 10 different cities, from California to the United Kingdom.

The company said its pilot project is similar to one that a government agency would undertake in transitioning to IPv6.

"We've been working on IPv6 for the past seven years, and we understand that transitioning to IPv6 requires a great deal of prep-work before you actually transition to this new protocol," said Frank Cuccias, director, Lockheed Martin IPv6 Center of Excellence. "A thorough understanding of the process is critical to a successful implementation, and this pilot program will enhance our ability to guide customers through their network upgrades."

Verizon Business Enhances Wholesale VoIP

Verizon Business announced several new features aimed at increasing functionality and adding choice for its SIP Gateway VoIP customers. Among these are:

  • Foreign Telephone Number Assignment (FTNA), the ability to assign a U.S. telephone number outside the normal local calling area for that number. For example, a resident of Dallas could be assigned a Chicago-area telephone number, allowing friends and family in the Chicago area to place a local call. Businesses could use this function to maintain local numbers for their customers while controlling costs by centrally locating all or portions of their business elsewhere.

  • The ability for wholesale customers to pick and choose specific functions. For example, wholesale customers will have the ability to order two-way telephone numbers associated with SIP Gateway Service with or without E911 service. Many wholesale companies rely on multiple VoIP providers, so they prefer the savings and efficiency associated with unbundled 911.

  • Flexible pricing model, including the ability for wholesale customers to select metered or unmetered pricing for SIP Gateway Service Inbound Complete.

  • Discretionary Call Blocking, giving wholesale customers the ability to designate blocking of eight specific types of calls (such as international long-distance) at the time the order is placed. Verizon Business then integrates the selected blocking into its network switch, thus freeing the wholesale customer from managing the blocking function.

  • Seasonal pricing, which allows a wholesale customer to keep a telephone number but temporarily suspend the ability to make or receive calls, except 911. This feature is especially attractive to wholesale subscribers who have multiple homes or who travel extensively.

  • More robust fraud detection and treatment capability. Verizon Business can improve detection of fraudulent VoIP traffic, alert the wholesale customer, then temporarily or permanently block the suspected traffic based on the wholesale customer's direction.

TiVO at 4.2 Million Subscriptions, Eyes HD Transition

TiVo issued its financial report for its most recent quarter. Some highlights:

  • TiVO recently launched its HD DVR box for the mass market and is expecting a gradual transition

  • there was a net loss of $17.7 million, which included a combined inventory write-down and inventory purchase commitment charge of $11.2 million, as compared to TiVo's net loss guidance of $5 to $8 million that didn't contemplate the inventory related write-down.

  • TiVo's net loss per share was $0.18. The inventory-related charge primarily relates to long-lead time dual-tuner Series2 standard definition DVR inventory.

  • TiVo-Owned subscription gross additions for the second quarter were 41,000, compared to 74,000 gross additions for the year-ago period. The company said gross subscription additions were impacted by the pace at which retailers moved to a high definition sales focus.

  • Overall, TiVo-Owned subscriptions totaled 1.71 million, up 136,000 on an annual basis compared to the year ago-period.

  • As expected, TiVo reported a net decline in DIRECTV TiVo subscriptions during the period as DIRECTV is no longer deploying new TiVo boxes.

  • Cumulative total subscriptions as of July 31, 2007 were 4.2 million.

  • The monthly churn rate was 1.2% compared to 1.1% in the prior quarter.

  • Comcast plans to commence its TiVo rollout shortly, which will continue rolling out throughout the fall in Comcast's New England Division including metro Boston, Southeast Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

  • Comcast has also agreed to fund significant additional development work to bring the TiVo service to other Comcast platforms, including Scientific Atlanta set top boxes.

Nokia Debuts "Ovi" Internet services

Nokia introduced "Ovi", its new Internet services brand name for mobile devices. Ovi, meaning "door" in Finnish, will be Nokia's portal enabling consumers to access its gaming and music store services. Also under the Ovi umbrella is Nokia Maps, the company's navigation service, as well as future Internet-based services the coming plans to introduce in the coming months.

Nokia also promised to make Ovi "an open door to web communities, enabling people to access their content, communities and contacts from a single place, either directly from a compatible Nokia device or from a PC."

The English language version of Ovi is expected to debut in Q4.

Nokia also unveiled four new mobile devices specifically optimized for entertainment, music and games. Each device offers dedicated music or gaming keys, expanded memory, large screens and extended battery performance. Prices range from EUR 225 to EUR 560, with shipping later this year. The new devices include:

  • the Nokia N81 and Nokia N81 8GB, featuring 3G and WLAN connectivity, and a polished surface with keys that light up when you activate them;

  • the Nokia N95 8GB, featuring a 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, built-in A-GPS, WLAN, HSDPA and an innovative 2-way slide. The Nokia N95 8GB now offers up to eight gigabytes of built-in memory. The N95 8GB also boasts a new luminous 2.8" QVGA display.

  • the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic, featuring an aluminium finish, and an iconic design that is only 9.9mm thick and weighs less than 71 grams. The device offers up to 18 hours of music playback, memory for up to 3,000 songs on an optional 4GB microSD card and dedicated music keys. It also features a 2-megapixel camera and a 2-inch QVGA screen.

  • the Nokia 5610 XpressMusic, featuring an iconic Music Slider key making music easy to access with a flick of the thumb. It has a 2.2-inch display and capacity for 3,000 songs on an optional 4GB microSD card.

Chicago Backs Away from Muni Wi-Fi

The City of Chicago is backing away from plans for a municipal Wi-Fi network after failing to reach an agreement with AT&T and Earthlink. A report by the Chicago Tribune said city officials were concerned by both the cost of the project and the apparent lack of public enthusiasm in other cities nationwide. In the City of Lompoc, California, only 500 people out of a population of 40,000 have signed up for paid Wi-Fi access since the network was launched a year ago.,1,5694863.story

Sierra Wireless Debuts New HSUPA USB Modems

Sierra Wireless introduced two new additions to its product portfolio for HSUPA networks - the AirCard 880U and AirCard 881U USB modems. Both USB modem support the theoretical maximum uplink speed of 2 Mbps. Downlink speeds are also improved, with a theoretical maximum download speed of 7.2 Mbps.

For use in areas where HSUPA networks are not yet available, the AirCard 880U and 881U USB modems are fully compatible with HSDPA, UMTS, EDGE, GPRS, and GSM network technologies on all frequencies currently used worldwide. The AirCard 880U is optimized for Europe and Asia, while the AirCard 881U is optimized for North America. Shipments will begin in September.