Sunday, September 2, 2007

Pacific Crossing Selects Fujitsu to Upgrade Cable

Pacific Crossing Limited (PCL) has awarded a contract to Fujitsu to increase the transmission capacity of its trans-Pacific submarine cable network (PC-1 Network). The PC-1 network is PCL's 21,000 km fiber optic system which links the U.S. and Japan. Fujitsu will upgrade the PC-1 network adding an additional 200 Gbps of capacity on each of the four segments of the trans-Pacific network.

Fujitsu said the turn-key deal carries an option for an additional 100 Gbps upgrade of capacity. Under terms of the agreement, PCL's PC-1 system will be lit to at least 390 Gbps of capacity on each segment of its protected network by the first quarter of 2008. This could increase to at least 490 Gbps by the second quarter of 2008 if PCL exercises its upgrade option.
  • In January 2007, Pacific Crossing raised $50 million in new financing to pay off its remaining debt and finance new projects. The company also announced the appointment of Robert Boss as CEO and Robert Annunziata as Chairman. Boss previously was president of Japan Telecom America. Annunziata has served in a numerous executive positions throughout the telecom industry, including as CEO of Global Crossing during most of 1999.

  • In January 2006, Pacific Crossing Ltd, Inc., a former subsidiary of Global Crossing and of the former Asia Global Crossing (now Asia Netcom), emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Over $650 million of existing debt was converted into equity and $25 million in secured debt.

    Pacific Crossing Limited owns and operates the PC-1 cable, a 13,076 route-mile submarine fiber optic cable between the United States and Japan. It also owns and operates cable landing stations in Shima, Japan; Ajigaura, Japan; Grover Beach, California; and Mukilteo, Washington.

MTC Kuwait Selects Nokia Siemens Networks

MTC Kuwait, a leading mobile operators in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, selected Nokia Siemens Networks for a new Charge@Once Select platform. This will be the first deployment worldwide, scheduled to be installed by Q4 2007. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Additionally, Nokia Siemens Networks has been appointed to modernize MTC Kuwait's core network with its mobile soft switching technology for 2G and 3G, by Q2 2008. Mobile soft switches bring considerable savings in operating expenditure for voice and enable new advanced services for MTC subscribers.

Illiad Offers 100/50 Mbps Service in Paris for EUR 30

Beginning in mid-September, The Illiad Group's "Free" network will begin its FTTH service to eligible homes in Paris. The EUR 29.99 per month package includes:

  • Internet access at 100 Mbps downstream and 50 Mbps upstream

  • Free access to a landline

  • Unlimited calling to 49 destinations, including mainland France, except special numbers

  • Access to more than 100 audio and video channels, including HD

  • Provision of two optical Freebox units for these video services.

The company promises to carry out the installtion within one month of validating an order.

Free also announced an extension of its content deal with the Canal+ Group.
  • In December 2006, The Iliad Group's "Free" broadband service selected Cisco's Ethernet fiber-to-the-home (E-FTTH) technology for a mass rollout in France. Specifically, Free will deploy Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Switches as the E-FTTH access platform at its new optical PoPs with 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplinks to its core network to make optimum use of the increased capacity provided by the Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing Systems.

  • 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 will give it true independence from the incumbent operator, France Telecom. At the time, the company said the project would take 24 months to reach 2.1 million people. Free committed to invest EUR 1 billion in the project through 2012. The company initially will target areas were its Freebox installation density is greatest. The Freebox HD's ADSL2+ terminal will be replaced by an optical box. Draka Comteq was selected to supply the FTTH network. The deployment will include two million kilometers of fiber and cable designed to resist the adverse conditions of sewers, through which many of the fiber lines will be deployed.

BT Retail Reaches Four Million Broadband Lines

BT Retail now serves four million broadband lines, making it the most popular broadband supplier in the UK. The last million customers have been added in ten months.

BT noted that more than 99.8 percent of UK homes can access broadband and more than half of these homes have now taken up the service. There are more than 15 million connections in the UK with approximately 11.5m of those running over BT's DSL network. The rest are carried via
cable networks.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Oracle Acquires Netsure Telecom

Oracle agreed to acquire Netsure Telecom Limited, a provider of network intelligence, analytics and network data integrity software, for an undisclosed sum. The company is based in Dublin, Ireland.

Netsure provides communications service providers critical network intelligence and analytics software. Customers include Vodafone, Cable & Wireless, and Eircom.

Agilent Acquires NetworkFab for Signaling Intelligence

Agilent Technologies completed its previously announced acquisition of NetworkFab Corp., a privately held designer and builder of advanced signal intelligence, communications and jammer systems for the U.S. military, intelligence agencies and law enforcement groups. NetworkFab's core competencies are in radio frequency communications, including direction finding, jamming, antenna design, networking, software design and custom systems engineering. Financial details were not disclosed.

Agilent said the acquisition of NetworkFab enables it to expand its presence in operational environments to support U.S. government prime contractors. Agilent has a long history of market leadership in the test and measurement industry, including aerospace/defense.

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).