Thursday, May 1, 2008

Huawei Supplies Optical Backbone for Magyar Telekom

Magyar Telekom has installed a 2,700 km optical backbone network using gear from Huawei Technologies.

The backbone, which covers all of the country including the capital city Budapest, is based on Huawei's OTN/ASON-based WDM platform and enables Magyar Telekom to migrate from providing traditional voice-oriented services through its previous DWDM system to providing next generation data-oriented services to its customers. Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • Magyar Telekom's majority shareholder (59.2%) is Deutsche Telekom AG. Magyar Telekom holds a majority stake in MakTel, the largest telecom operator of Macedonia and in Crnogorski Telekom, Montenegro's largest telecom operator.

Neuf Cegetel Reaches 3.3 Million Broadband Clients, up 70K

As of the end of Q1 2008, Neuf Cegetel had 3,294,000 broadband clients, an increase of 70,000 compared to the end of 2007; this includes +100,000 new customers for the Neuf brand and -30,000 customers for the other brands.

For Q1 2008, Neuf Cegetel reported revenue of EU 908 million, an increase of 13% versus the first quarter of 2007 (6% excluding the impact of Club Internet acquisition in June 2007). The Mass Market division generated revenues of €434 million in the first quarter, contributing to 49% of the Group's total revenues. Growth was 46% year-on-year, of which 23% excluding the impact of the acquisition of Club Internet.

The Enterprises division generated revenues of €272 million in the first quarter, a 5% increase year-on-year. Data revenues grew by 13% in the first quarter of 2007 (the Group had 179,000 enterprise data links at the end of March 2008) while switched voice revenues were 3% lower.

Wholesale division revenues came to €203 million in the first quarter, a 17% decrease year-on-year; excluding the impact of the acquisition of Club Internet, this decrease was 13%, i.e. the same order of magnitude as in the first quarter of 2007.
  • In April, Louis Dreyfus group sold its 28% stake in Neuf Cegetel at a price of EUR 34.50 per share. SFR is the second-largest mobile phone operator in France. Neuf Cegetel is the second largest broadband operator in France.

Nortel Revenue Rises to $2.76 Billion, Cites LG-Nortel Gain

Citing momentum from the completion of an LG-Nortel joint venture contract, Nortel reported Q1 2008 revenue of $2.76 billion, up by 11 percent year over year. Gross margin in the first quarter of 41.6 percent, up 120 basis points year over year. Operating margin in the first quarter of 4.7 percent, up 512 basis points year over year. The net loss in the first quarter of 2008 of $138 million included special charges of $88 million for restructurings, a loss of $19 million due to changes in foreign exchange rates, a charge of $12 million related to a patent lawsuit settlement and a gain of $16 million primarily from mark-to-market gains on interest rate swaps.

"Nortel had a strong first quarter, driven by the completion of a contract in our LG-Nortel joint venture and continued improvements in gross and operating margins. Nortel's operating margin, a critical measure of our plan's traction, expanded for the seventh consecutive quarter year over year, recording a 512 bps improvement to 4.7 percent," said Mike Zafirovski, Nortel president and chief executive officer. "We expect to achieve our full year guidance and we continue to make solid progress against the strategy to turn around the company. Our relentless focus on execution and our determination to deliver value to customers is strengthening the foundation upon which to build our performance over the balance of 2008 and beyond."

Some highlights for the quarter:

  • Carrier Networks (CN) revenue in the first quarter of 2008 was $1,218 million, an increase of 21 percent compared with the year ago quarter and a decrease of 10 percent sequentially. Compared to the year ago quarter, CN revenue benefited from the LG-Nortel joint venture contract completion, partially offset by a slight decline in CDMA and lower legacy switching sales.

  • Enterprise Solutions (ES) revenue in the first quarter of 2008 was $641 million, an increase of 7 percent compared with the year ago quarter and a decrease of 16 percent sequentially. Compared to the year ago quarter, ES revenues were positively impacted by higher voice and applications revenues, primarily from customer migration to unified communications, partially offset by a decline in the data networking business primarily from lower sales in the North American and EMEA regions and significant contract completions in the first quarter of 2007, not repeated to the same extent in the first quarter of 2008.

  • Global Services (GS) revenue in the first quarter of 2008 was $516 million, an increase of 15 percent compared with the year ago quarter and a decrease of 15 percent sequentially. The first quarter showed strong growth in network implementation services and managed services, partially offset by a decline in network support services. Compared to the year ago quarter, GS revenue benefited from the LG-Nortel joint venture contract completion and other growth in implementation services primarily in the Asia region.

  • Metro Ethernet Networks (MEN) revenue in the first quarter of 2008 was $327 million, a decrease of 12 percent compared with the year ago quarter and a decrease of 24 percent sequentially. The year over year decrease in revenue was primarily due to decreases in optical and data revenue resulting from the completion of large contracts in the first quarter of 2007 not repeated to the same extent in the first quarter of 2008.

Vietnam National Telecoms Installs Cisco Telepresence System

Vietnam National Telecoms (VTN) has established Cisco TelePresence demonstration centers in Hanoi and Hochihminh City. The Cisco TelePresence systems are among a range of advanced communications technologies that will be showcased in the two centers.

The Cisco TelePresence systems enable staff and visitors at each location to participate in face-to-face meetings across a virtual table using life-size, ultra-high-definition 1080p video and high-quality, spatial audio. Also being featured in the two centers are communications technologies and applications that span the public, enterprise and home, including Cisco Unified Communications, IPTV, 802.11n Wi-Fi, WiMAX, telemedicine and e-learning.

Embarq Applauds Cap on USF

EMBARQ applauded the Federal Communications Commission's decision to cap support for competitive eligible telecommunications carriers under the Universal Service Fund.

David Zesiger, Embarq's Senior Vice President for Regulatory Policy and External Affairs, stated "By limiting support for multiple carriers in rural areas, as the Federal-State Joint Board recommended, the Commission showed its commitment to the long-term health of the Universal Service Fund, a commitment vital to rural America. The Universal Service Fund supports carriers in rural areas where it is costly to serve and often uneconomic to invest. The Commission's order caps support for multiple carriers in the same area -- places where the market cannot justify even a single carrier without USF support. By halting the fund's unsustainable growth, the order provides stability that enables comprehensive reform of the universal service system. Now, the Commission can focus on necessary changes to the USF program, including the need for geographically-targeted support. We encourage the Commission to continue yesterday's positive first step by adopting geographic targeting as the foundation for comprehensive USF reform for the benefit of rural America and all consumers."

FCC to Cap High Cost Support Under the Universal Service Fund

Seeking to stem the growth of the Universal Service while it pursues larger reform measures, the FCC adopted an interim
cap on payments to competitive eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs). Total annual support for competitive ETCs will be capped at the level of support that they were eligible to receive in each state during March 2008.

Currently, consumers pay more than 11 percent in USF fees on their interstate phone bills. Growth in contributions to the fund is largely attributable to competitive ETCs, who receive USF support based not on their actual costs, but on the costs of the incumbent provider,
even if the competitive ETC's costs of providing service are lower. USF payments to competitive ETCs have grown from approximately $1.5 million in 2000 to more than $1 billion in 2007. Left unchecked, this staggering growth threatens the sustainability of the USF program and forces consumers to pay excessive and ever-increasing contributions to the fund.

The order contains limited exceptions from the cap: Competitive ETCs serving tribal lands or Alaska Native regions may continue to receive traditional support at uncapped levels for serving those historically underserved areas. Also, competitive ETCs that file their own cost data may obtain an exemption from the cap. Finally, the order addresses a number of pending competitive ETC petitions, while making clear that such petitions will not increase the amount of the adopted cap.

In a statement, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wrote: "Changes in technology and increases in the number of carriers that receive universal service support, however, have placed significant pressure on the stability of the Fund. A large and rapidly growing portion of the high-cost support program is now devoted to supporting multiple competitors to serve areas in which costs are prohibitively expensive for even one carrier. These competitive ETCs don't receive support based on their own costs, but rather on the costs of the incumbent provider, even if their costs of providing service are lower. Indeed, growth in required contributions to the Fund is largely attributable to these competitive ETCs. High-cost support to competitive ETCs has grown from approximately $1.5 million in 2000 to well over $1 billion in 2007. Left unchecked, this staggering growth threatens the sustainability of the Fund."

Writing in opposition, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps stated "I dissent from today's decision to cap high-cost support for competitive eligible
telecommunications carriers (CETC) because it falls woefully short of the fundamental, comprehensive reforms needed to meet the overarching telecommunications challenge of the Twenty-first century. That challenge, both by statute and by necessity, is to encourage the deployment of basic and advanced telecommunications to all of our citizens and to ensure that the Universal Service system, which accomplished so much in the 20th Century, can do so again now. Today's decision does nothing meaningful to meet that challenge; indeed, it only deflects us from the goal. The outcome is an illusory band-aid that is supposed to contain costs but, in reality, imposes the much heavier cost of lost opportunity to reform Universal Service and put America back in the vanguard of advanced telecommunications. As a result of today's vote, real reform is on the back-burner. What a pity!"

T-Mobile and Nokia Collaborate on Social Networking

T-Mobile and Nokia are collaborating to accelerate the availability of new Internet services and personal social communities on mobile devices. Under the agreement, the companies will offer their European customers faster and easier access to all of T-Mobile's web'n'walk Internet services as well as all to Nokia's Ovi Internet services on a wide range of Nokia devices. The goal is to drive the mobilization of social networks. The companies will partner to further enhance T-Mobile's community-oriented MyFaves service, launched in October 2007 in Europe, empowered by the Nokia user experience.

Widget cooperation is another focus area for the companies, where T-Mobile's leading web'n'walk offering will provide an even richer user experience. T-Mobile's web'n'walk offers customers an instant and customizable access to their most preferred Internet and messaging services.http://www.T-Mobile.net
  • In March, T-Mobile and Nokia announced the exclusive Nokia 6650 device for T-Mobile which will be available in July in Europe. This collaboration is the next step in intensifying the good partnership between the companies.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

WiMAX Forum and University of Maryland to Open Applications Lab

The WiMAX Forum has endorsed the MAXWell Lab at the University of Maryland as its first applications lab in North America. Designed to be an environment where future innovators from the university and corporations can develop and test new WiMAX applications, the MAXWell Lab will support application testing in a real-live environment at a technologically neutral site. The initial focus of the MAXWell Lab, which is part of the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, will be location-aware applications. For example, with the deployments of WiMAX in the Washington D.C. area, the Maryland-based MAXWell Lab will be an ideal site to test any applications that run on that system.

In addition to the North American MAXWell Lab, the WiMAX Forum endorsed the M-Taiwan WiMAX Application Lab located in Hsinchu, Taiwan in October 2007. The Taiwan lab, developed to test new WiMAX applications covering categories such as Voice over Internet Protocol and entertainment, opened its doors to equipment and application developers offering a chance to test their products and services for performance on a live WiMAX system and conduct and measure consumer acceptance before bringing them to market.http://www.wimaxforum.org

RMI Launches Multi-core Multi-threaded XLS-Based PCIe Platform

RMI Corporation released its "Axcel" PC3104 Network Accelerator Card -- an XLS-Based PCIe platform for IP networking, VoIP, 3G and broadband applications requiring line-speed gigabit network packet processing in a single PCI Express slot.

Leveraging the power of the XLS multi-core, multi-threaded MIPS64 ISA network processor, the card delivers high-performance deep packet inspection, general-purpose processing, Autonomous Security Acceleration Engine technology, and a compression engine.

RMI said the new card could make a considerable dent in time required to develop new products for broadband and wireless applications.

Sezmi Unveils its TV 2.0 Service and STB

Sezmi , a start-up based in Belmont, California, unveiled a new TV service that combines terrestrial digital broadcast television with existing broadband services to deliver video content to a customized set-top box. The system utilizes available capacity in existing digital television broadcast networks and creates a private, secure broadcast transmission for content. The Sezmi interface aims to provide a seamless integration of live, stored, on-demand and Internet video from different sources.

Sezmi has also developed a smart antenna indoor reception system that makes both its private broadcast and existing terrestrial TV broadcasts accessible. The company said its network-attached reception system can be placed in any location in the home.

Sezmi is seeking partnerships with broadcasters, broadband providers and content companies. It plans to commence technical trials in preparation for commercial launch across several major U.S. markets later this year.
  • Last month, Sezmi (formerly known as Building B) announced plans to co-locate its network operations center (NOC) within Harris Corporation's world-class NOC facility in Melbourne, Fla. in order to leverage Harris' expertise in digital asset management, content aggregation and its nationwide distribution network.

  • In August 2007, Sezmi attracted funding from Morgenthaler Ventures, OmniCapital, Index Ventures and private investors in a $17.5 million financing round.

  • Sezmi is headed by Dr. Buno Pati (co-founder and CEO), who previously founded Numerical Technologies (acquired by Synopsys). Before co-founding Numerical, Dr. Pati served as assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Harvard University and a post-doctoral research associate at Stanford University.

XO Communications Extends Ethernet Services Nationwide

XO Communications has significantly expanded its nationwide Ethernet services footprint. The company is now capable of delivering Ethernet services to more than half a million business locations in 75 major metropolitan markets across the United States utilizing its nationwide fiber networks, expanded deployment of Ethernet over copper technology, and fixed broadband wireless capabilities.

XO said its Ethernet services revenue increased more than 50 percent between 2007 and 2006. In addition to increasing XO Communications' ability to serve this fast growing market, the expanded footprint also increases the company's ability to deliver other services, such as dedicated Internet access, converged IP and MPLS-based IP-VPN services, which can utilize Ethernet as a network access method.

XO's access options include:

  • Fiber -- XO offers Ethernet services at speeds from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps through its 18,000 route mile inter-city fiber optic network and nearly one million fiber miles of metro networks.

  • Ethernet over Copper Technology -- XO is offering mid-band Ethernet services at speeds from 10 Mbps to 88 Mbps

  • Fixed Broadband Wireless Capabilities -- XO has the capability to utilize fixed broadband wireless technology in 36 major metropolitan markets to further expand its network footprint and deliver Ethernet services directly to businesses at speeds ranging from 10Mbps to 155Mbps.

"XO Communications is breaking down the barriers to the wider availability of Ethernet with the unrivalled reach of our Ethernet service delivery capabilities," said Randy Nicklas, chief technology officer at XO Communications. "Our broad nationwide footprint leverages multiple access technologies to support businesses and service providers that are increasingly relying on Ethernet to support mission-critical applications and data across their wide area networks."
  • In February 2008, Cisco announced that XO Communications is deploying new Cisco Ethernet over SONET/SDH (EoS) technology on many of the more than 4,000 Cisco ONS 15454 Multi-service Provisioning Platforms (MSPPs) currently deployed in its network.

  • In December 2007, XO Communications confirmed an upgrade of its nationwide IP/MPLS network using the Cisco IP Next Generation Network (IP NGN) architecture.

  • In October 2007, XO Communications completed an 800 Gbps capacity upgrade on major coast-to-coast routes of its nationwide fiber optic network. The upgrade delivers an additional 80 10-Gbps channels on major coast-to-coast network routes. The upgrade is being delivered on Infinera's DTN system, which XO implemented last year with the initial expansion of its network.

NDS Sees Growth in its Conditional Access

NDS Group, which supplies open end-to-end digital technology and services to digital pay-television platform operators and content providers,
reported quarterly revenue of $213.3 million, up 20% compared to a year earlier.

The number of smart card deliveries in the quarter was 10.6 million, up from 6.4 million a year earlier, while the number of Middleware clients added rose to 6.7 million compared with 5.1 million a year earlier. NDS now has 83.1 million middleware clients deployed.

Commenting on NDS's performance, Dr. Abe Peled, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NDS said, "This has been another good quarter for NDS. We are particularly pleased with our continuing progress on entering the German pay-TV market, and our additional wins in India. Our CA contract extension with Viasat and expanding the relationship to include our MediaHighway middleware are also gratifying and clear evidence of our focus on customer support."

UTStarcom Settles with SEC

UTStarcom has reached final settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") regarding the previously-disclosed SEC investigation of the company's financial disclosures during prior reporting periods, historic option grant awards practices, certain historical sales contracts in China and other matters. Without admitting or denying the allegations in the SEC's complaint, UTStarcom said it has agreed to settle the charges by consenting to a permanent injunction against any future violations of the reporting, books-and-records and internal control provisions of the federal securities laws. No monetary penalties were assessed against the company.

Hong Lu, the Company's current Chief Executive Officer and a director of the Company, also agreed to settle with the SEC without admitting or denying the allegations in the SEC's complaint, by paying a civil penalty of $100,000 and consenting to a permanent injunction on similar terms as the company. Mr. Lu's settlement is subject to a final judgment by a United States District Court.

Nokia Siemens Networks Joins the Multicore Association

Nokia Siemens Networks has joined The Multicore Association, a global non-profit organization focused on developing standards for multicore solutions, and will be represented on the association's executive board.

The Multicore Association is working to enable the widespread adoption of multicore processor implementations by setting standards for how systems will be utilized and programmed.

AT&T to Activate FLO TV Mobile Service

AT&T Mobile TV with FLO service will go live on May 4. This powerful new mobile television service will provide around-the-clock access to some of today's most popular television programs -- live and in color on the mobile phone.

The service will offer TV-quality programming from leading news and entertainment brands: CBS Mobile, ESPN Mobile TV, FOX Mobile, NBC 2Go, NBC News 2Go, MTV Networks' COMEDY CENTRAL, MTV and Nickelodeon, as well as PIX and CNN Mobile Live, which are both AT&T-exclusive channels on MediaFLO USA's FLO TV service.

Comcast Adds 492K Broadband Customers in Q1, Penetration at 28%

Comcast reported steady growth in subscribers, revenues, operating cash flow and free cash flow, as the number of high-speed Internet customers topped 14 million and the number of digital voice subscribers topped 5 million.

Some highlights for Q1 2008:

  • Basic video subscribers declined 57,000 or 0.2% during the first quarter

  • Added 494,000 digital cable subscribers during the first quarter -- 65% or 16.0 million video subscribers have digital service compared to 55% or 13.7 million one year ago. ARPU remained stable at $42/ month.

  • 6.9 million or 43% of digital cable subscribers have advanced services such as digital video recorders (DVR) and/or high-definition television service (HDTV) compared to 5.2 million or 38% one year ago

  • During the quarter, 450,000 digital cable customers added advanced services, like DVR and HDTV, to their digital service either by upgrading or as new customers.

  • Added 492,000 high-speed Internet subscribers during the first quarter to reach 14.1 million customers. Penetration reached 28%.

  • High-speed Internet revenue increased 12% to $1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2008 from $1.6 billion in 2007.

  • Added 639,000 Comcast Digital Voice (CDV) customers during the first quarter - penetration reached 12% or 5.1 million customers.

  • Phone revenue increased 65% to $587 million in the first quarter of 2008 from $356 million in 2007.

  • Comcast has 66,000 circuit-switched customers, and expects to wind down that business by mid-year 2008.

  • Advertising revenue increased 6% to $344 million in the first quarter of 2008 from $322 million in 2007, due primarily to one additional week in the broadcast advertising calendar and an increase in political advertising including revenue from the U.S. presidential primary elections.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Time Warner to Spin-Off Cable Business, Triple Play Reaches 18% Penetration

Time Warner announced plans to separate its cable business from its media assets.

During Q1 2008, Time Warner Cable's revenues grew 8% year over year ($309 million) to $4.2 billion. Subscription revenues were up 8% ($301 million) to $4.0 billion.

Some highlights:

  • Video revenues climbed 4% ($99 million) to $2.6 billion, driven by continued growth in digital video services and video price increases.

  • High-speed data revenues rose 11% ($100 million) to $1.0 billion, fueled mainly by continued year-over-year residential high-speed data subscriber growth.

  • Voice revenues increased 39% ($102 million) to $366 million, reflecting strong Digital Phone subscriber growth. Advertising revenues grew 4% ($8 million) to $197 million.

  • Revenue generating units ("RGUs") reached 33.0 million, reflecting a robust 896,000 net additions.

  • Triple Play subscribers surpassed 2.6 million (or 18% of total customer relationships), benefiting from a record 247,000 net additions.

Motorola and Widevine Sign Global Reseller Agreement

The home and networks mobility division of Motorola will resell Widevine Technologies' conditional access and digital rights management products globally under an agreement announced by the firms.

Motorola offers head-end and consumer device solutions while Widevine Cypher, a downloadable conditional access, digital rights management and digital copy protection solution, enables video operators to acquire and securely distribute premium multimedia from major Hollywood studios and broadcasters. Currently, Motorola and Widevine jointly support over fifty video service providers worldwide.

The joint solution includes Motorola's consumer devices, compression and infrastructure solutions for video delivery and Widevine Cypher which enables telco, cable, Internet, mobile and satellite service providers to support an unlimited number of subscribers and assets using a single content security solution for protecting delivery to all major consumer devices--including set-top boxes, PVRs and PC-based consumer devices.http://www.widevine.com

HP Labs Develops “Memristor�? -- A New Type of Electronic Circuit

Researchers from HP Labs are developing a "memristor" -- a blend of "memory resistor" -- had previously been only theorized as the fourth fundamental circuit element in electrical engineering. The "memristor", which has the unique property of retaining a history of the information it has acquired, promises a new level of innovation in electronics.

In a paper published in today's edition of Nature, four researchers at HP Labs' Information and Quantum Systems Lab, led by R. Stanley Williams, presented the mathematical model and a physical example of a "memristor."

HP said the innovation could lead to the development of a new kind of computer memory that would supplement and eventually replace today's commonly used dynamic random access memory (DRAM). Computers using conventional DRAM lack the ability to retain information once they lose power. A memristor-based computer would retain its information after losing power and would not require the boot-up process, resulting in the consumption of less power and wasted time. Other applications could include the memory and storage systems used in data centers and in cloud-computing clusters.

Leon Chua, a distinguished faculty member in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department of the University of California at Berkeley, initially theorized about and named the element in an academic paper published 37 years ago. Chua argued that the memristor was the fourth fundamental circuit element, along with the resistor, capacitor and inductor, and that it had properties that could not be duplicated by any combination of the other three elements.

BT Introduces ADSL2+ Wholesale Broadband Service

BT will begin offering a Wholesale Broadband Connect (WBC) service to ISPs over its 21st Century Network (21CN). The service uses ADSL2+ for a maximum downstream capacity of 24 Mbps (distance from the exchange, internal wiring, interference from electrical appliances and other factors affect performance.)

Wholesale Broadband Connec will initially be available from exchanges serving around one million homes and businesses. The service will progressively roll out across the country, rising to a potential footprint of 10 million homes and businesses by the spring of 2009.