Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cloudmark Raises $23 Million for Secure Messaging

Cloudmark, a start-up based in San Francisco and Boston, raised $23 million in a new round of funding for its carrier-grade secure messaging software.

Cloudmark leverages a unique combination of "Advanced Message Fingerprinting" technology, real-time corroborated feedback from Cloudmark's Global Threat Network system, automated, anonymous traffic analysis and dedicated security analysts to provide spam, phishing and virus protection. The company said it is able to detect messaging abuse with up to 99 percent accuracy and near-zero false positives.

The latest funding was led by new investor Summit Partners and joined by Nokia Growth Partners. Existing investors Ignition Partners and Industry Ventures also participated in the round.

The new funding was used to assist in Cloudmark's acquisition of Bizanga, Ltd. and is the first investment Cloudmark has raised since 2004.

ZTE Picks Siverge Networks' Chip for Multi-Service Access

ZTE has selected Siverge Networks' flagship "Griffin" chip for use in multi-service and wireless backhauling products.

The Griffin family of chip solutions collapses multiple systems into a single multi-service card, performing transport and aggregation functions needed to create a bridge between legacy systems and new services and networks.

In addition, Siverge Networks recently unveiled a low-cost, high-performance Universal Gateway solution for mobile backhauling infrastructure and evolving Carrier networks. The new offering, known as the "SivGate" extends the Griffin family of products, enabling cost-efficient multi-service transport and aggregation solutions -- starting with low-end wireless cell site collocation and aggregation, up to high speed complete multi-service gateway for the Access and Core. Siverge's SivGate is compliant with required physical interfaces (Ethernet, PDH, SONET/SDH), as well as complete set of associated Layer 2 data and bundling protocols (i.e. ATM/IMA and HDLC/MLPPP) along with CES and PWE3, QoS and TM. Siverge said its SivGate solutions could be used in linecards designed to fit any existing or new network equipment.

RCN Accepts Investor Group Buyout Offer

RCN, a competitive broadband provider serving Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley (PA), New York City, Boston and Chicago, agreed to a $1.2 billion buyout offer from an investment fund managed by ABRY.

As part of this agreement, each share of RCN common stock issued and outstanding immediately prior to the effective time of the merger will be entitled to receive $15 in cash, representing a 43% premium over RCN's average closing share price during the past 30 trading days and a 22% premium over the closing share price on March 4, 2010. The transaction has fully committed financing, consisting of a combination of equity to be invested by ABRY and debt financing to be provided by SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., GE Capital, Societe Generale, and certain of their affiliates.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of 2010, subject to receipt of stockholder approval, regulatory approvals, including the receipt of required consents and approvals of the FCC, as well as satisfaction of other customary closing conditions. The transaction is not subject to any financing condition.
  • For Q3 2009, RCN reported having approximately 430,000 residential/small-medium business, an increase of 2,000 compared to the third quarter of 2008 and flat compared to the second quarter of 2009.

    Total revenue generating units of approximately 903,000 decreased by 12,000 compared to the third quarter of 2008 and decreased by 8,000 compared to the second quarter of 2009, as continued growth in video and data RGU's was offset by a reduction in voice RGU's, consistent with trends for highly-penetrated landline voice providers. Third quarter 2009 bundle rate and digital video penetration rate remained stable at 67% and 91%, respectively.

BSNL Cancels US$10 Billion Tender for GSM Expansion

State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has canceled a tender valued at up to US$10 billion for the provision of up to 93 million new GSM lines. Critics had pointed to a lack of transparency in the contracting process. Ericsson and Huawei were the sole remaining suppliers in the tender, which had been underway for two years. The carrier is now expected to invite fresh bids.

Verizon Keeps Quarterly Dividend Unchanged

The Board of Directors of Verizon Communications declared a quarterly dividend of 47.5 cents per outstanding share, unchanged from the previous quarter. The dividend is payable on May 3, 2010, to Verizon Communications shareowners of record at the close of business on April 9, 2010.

Verizon has approximately 2.5 million shareowners and approximately 2.8 billion shares of common stock outstanding. The company made $5.3 billion in dividend payments in 2009.

FCC to Recommend "Connect America" Broadband Fund Instead of USF

The FCC's upcoming National Broadband Plan will propose major changes to the Universal Service Fund, a program that will distribute more than $8 billion in support in 2010. In a blog posting on the FCC's website, the following recommendations were made:

  • "Transition to a new Connect America Fund to extend broadband where it is not available now and to support ongoing service in those areas where it is uneconomic to provide service without governmental support -- meaning that the total costs to deploy and provide broadband service exceed the total revenues derived from that broadband-capable network. Funding will be provided on a technology-neutral basis and open to any entity that can satisfy the thresholds established by the FCC."

  • Create a new, targeted Mobility Fund to ensure that everyone in the country has access to 3G wireless services. Some states are significantly lagging behind the national average for 3G coverage. The Mobility Fund would provide a targeted subsidy in such areas to bring those states up to the national average."

  • "Reform intercarrier compensation to gradually phase out per-minute charges, while providing carriers with the opportunity for adequate cost recovery from customers, and, where necessary, from the Connect America Fund. Adopt interim rules to address arbitrage. "

AT&T & CWA Reach Accord on 3-Year Contract

Members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) ratified a new three-year agreement with AT&T covering 35,000 CWA-represented workers at AT&T Southeast. The previous contract expired on August 8, 2009 and employees have worked under the terms of the expired contract while negotiations continued. The settlement was ratified by a 65 percent vote.

In a press statement, the CWA said the agreement provides for a compounded 9 percent wage increase over the contract term, plus additional increases for workers covered by progression scales. Pension bands will increase by 2 percent in June of each contract year, and the lump sum payout option was retained.

AT&T noted that six of the seven bargaining units, representing nearly 97 percent of the approximately 120,000 employees covered under AT&T's core wireline contracts, now have ratified agreements. In addition to the Southeast Region agreement, agreements between AT&T and the CWA have been ratified in AT&T's Midwest, West and Southwest regions, as well as with AT&T Corp., which covers employees across the country. An agreement between AT&T and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) has also been ratified.

Zhone Announces One-for-Five Reverse Stock Split

Zhone Technologies announced a one-for-five reverse stock split of its common stock which will become effective on or about March 11, 2010. The reverse stock split was authorized by Zhone's shareholders at a special meeting held on October 16, 2008. No fractional shares of common stock will be issued as a result of the reverse stock split. Shareholders of record will receive cash in lieu of fractional shares to which they otherwise would be entitled, based upon the closing price of Zhone's common stock on the last trading day before the reverse split becomes effective.

Utah Pursues Google High Speed Fiber Network Partnership Bid

Utah Governor Gary Herbert endorsed local efforts to encourage Google to bring its experiment in fiber optics to the state.

UTOPIA, which is a group of 16 Utah cities, operates a municipal fiber optic network using an open service provider model.

"UTOPIA is a good candidate to partner with Google in the new project and to bring the experiment to well-prepped ground," said the Governor in a letter of support. "UTOPIA has successfully pursued models of deployment and found a sustainable and reliable model," he said.

Google announced last month that it wants to partner with municipalities to develop and experiment with an ultrafast fiber network that would reach 50,000 to 500,000 people across the country.

DS2 Files for Bankruptcy Reorganization

DS, which supplies high-speed powerline and coax communications silicon, initiated a voluntary Concurso de Acreedores (similar to a Chapter 11 filing) in the Spanish courts while it develops a plan of reorganization to address its debt. DS2 said it will continue to operate as usual and continue its long-standing commitment to its customers, suppliers, partners and employees.

DS2 is in the process of finalizing development of its chipset and will have samples in Q3. DS2's next generation silicon is also compatible with the installed base of UPA devices providing extended life cycle and investment protection for current deployments of DS2 technology.

"Our business is returning to normal and 2010 run rates are back at 2008 levels. We expect to emerge from this process as a stronger, healthier and more competitive company and continue our legacy of delivering excellence in innovation and customer satisfaction by creating the most advanced and sustainable standards based semiconductors for high-speed communications over existing wires", said José Angel Mart�n, DS2 CFO.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Portugal Telecom Posts Flat Revenues for 2009

In 2009, Portugal Telecom's consolidated operating revenues amounted to Euro 6,785 million, up by 0.9% y.o.y, while EBITDA reached Euro 2,502 million, up also by 0.9% y.o.y. EBITDA margin stood at 36.9% in 2009. Adjusting for the effects of the consolidation of Telemig, lower mobile termination rates (MTRs) and using constant exchange
rate, consolidated operating revenues and EBITDA would have grown by 2.3% and 2.0% y.o.y respectively.

The company reported a net gain of Euro 267 million on the sale of its interests in Meditel, the Moroccan operator.

Some highlights from the annual report:

  • Growth in "Meo" triple-play services offset continued fixed line deactivations. Portugal Telecom's wireline operating revenues increased by 0.8% y.o.y, from Euro 1,931 million to Euro 1,948 million. Retail revenues posted a 1.8% y.o.y increase, from Euro 953 million to Euro 971 million.

  • Retail net additions reached 325 thousand in 2009, driven by the success of PT's Meo triple-play offer,
    decelerating fixed line disconnections and gain in broadband market share.

  • ADSL retail customers increased by 21.5% y.o.y in 2009, reaching 862 thousand customers. Broadband retail net additions reached 152 thousand in 2009 compared to 73 thousand in 2008

  • Pay-TV net additions reached 269 thousand in 2009 and total pay-TV customers stood at 581 thousand, equivalent to 67.4% penetration of the ADSL retail customer base.

  • Retail RGU per access increased by 12.2% y.o.y in 2009 from 1.36 to 1.53.

  • In 2009, TMN's operating revenues decreased by 4.8% y.o.y to Euro 1,518 million, mainly due to the negative
    impact of lower MTRs (Euro 62 million) and lower equipment sales (Euro 15 million), which more than offset
    growth in customer revenues (+0.5% y.o.y in 2009) underpinned by growth in post paid customers and data

  • In Brazil, Vivo's mobile customer base in Q4 2009 increased by 15.1% y.o.y to 51,744 thousand, surpassing the 50 million customer mark during December. GSM and 3G accounted for 43,504 thousand customers at the end of
    December 2009, equivalent to 84.1% of total customers (+14.9pp y.o.y).

NTT Com Expands Global IP-VPN in Russia with TTC

NTT Communications and Company TTK, which operates Russia's largest fiber-optic network, have interconnected their IP-VPN services.

The strategic partnership between NTT Com and TTK began with a memorandum of understanding signed in 2006 to develop data networks, which resulted in the construction and launch of the Hokkaido-Sakhalin Cable System, a 570 km, 640 gigabit/second undersea fiber-optic cable linking Ishikari, Hokkaido, and Nevelsk, Sakhalin, the shortest route between Japan and Russia.

"NTT Communications has been working aggressively to support the global expansion of multinational enterprises by providing them with a growing range of high-quality services," said NTT Com's Yosuke Seki, Vice President of Service Development in the Global Business Division. "Russia is a key emerging market for our customers, a main reason why we established NTT Communications Russia in January 2009. TTK, of course, has been a strategic partner of ours since 2006, when we began collaborating on the Hokkaido-Sakhalin Cable System. The interconnection of our IP-VPN services now enables us to provide fully managed ICT services throughout Russia in support of our customers' ICT optimization initiatives."

Verizon Spends $1.16 Billion in 2009 in CA for Network Projects

Verizon invested $1.167 billion in wired network and wireless network expansion and enhancement programs throughout California in 2009. Verizon invested $682 million in its wired network and $485 million in its wireless network.

Verizon built new FiOS network facilities reaching nearly 166,000 more households, expanding availability of its FiOS TV and FiOS Internet services to more than 1.15 million premises in more than 85 cities and communities across Southern California. FiOS services are now available to more than 1 million single-family homes, nearly 90,000 apartments and condominiums, and more than 46,000 businesses.

ITOCHU to Resell Extreme Networks in Japan

ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) of Japan has become an Extreme Networks' Solution Partner in Japan.

Extreme Networks' said this strategic reseller agreement with CTC, Japan's premier technology integration company with $3B in annual sales, is part of its evolution of its partner strategy in Japan.

AT&T Sets Eco-Friendly Standards for Handsets

AT&T will require mobile handset suppliers to follow a new set of eco-friendly standards.

The first step is to reduce plastic and paper in the mobile phone packaging. For example, the packaging for batteries and data cables will change from plastic "clam shell"-style packaging to small, recyclable paper boxes. The packaging for protective phone cases and car chargers will change to slimmer packaging.

This change will eliminate more than 60 percent of the paper and more than 30 percent of the plastic previously used for accessory products. In addition to containing less paper and plastic, the improved accessory packaging will be printed using non-petroleum-based inks. AT&T estimates that the packaging improvements for device chargers, cases, batteries and data cables will help to avoid more than 200 tons of wasted plastic and paper in 2010.

In addition, AT&T reiterated several significant environmental requirements for handsets that were first announced last year. These requirements begin to take effect for new wireless phones this year. These include:

  • Suppliers will be required to reduce packaging, use non-petroleum based inks and use recycled materials for in-box documentation of new devices.

  • Seventy-five percent of new devices will be at least 65 percent recyclable. By weight, most of the new phones AT&T sells will be made of materials that can be recycled when the phones are retired.

  • A majority of new devices will comply with the GSMA Universal Charging Solution. This will allow consumers to use a single, more energy-efficient charger with most new devices.

  • All new devices will be compliant with the European Unions' Restriction of Hazardous Substances mandate. This directive restricts the use of lead, mercury, and other hazardous materials used in electronic equipment.

  • Suppliers will be required to assert that all devices delivered to AT&T have avoided virgin materials mined in conflict zones within the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Marvell Posts Q4 Revenue of $843 Million, up 5% Sequentially

Marvell Technology posted net revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 of $843 million, a 64 percent increase from $513 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, ended January 31, 2009, and a 5 percent sequential increase from $803 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2010, ended October 31, 2009.

Net revenue for the fiscal year ended January 30, 2010 was $2.81 billion, a decrease of 5 percent over reported net revenue of $2.95 billion for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2009.

GAAP net income was $205 million, or $0.31 per share (diluted), for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, compared with a GAAP net loss of $65 million, or $0.11 per share (diluted), for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009. GAAP net income in the third quarter of fiscal 2010 was $202 million, or $0.31 per share (diluted).

"The results for our fourth quarter and fiscal year bring to a close one of the most challenging but successful years for Marvell," said Dr. Sehat Sutardja, Marvell's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Alcatel-Lucent Appoints Jules Meunier as head of W-CDMA/HSPA

Alcatel-Lucent has appointed Jules Meunier to lead its W-CDMA/HSPA product unit. Jules will report to Wim Sweldens, president of the company's Wireless Networks Product Division. Meunier previously served with Nortel Networks for two decades, helping shape the company's direction as its chief technical officer and as head of its wireless business. He also held senior positions in Nortel's wired, wireless and optical communications divisions. After leaving Nortel in 2001 he became president and CEO of Boston-based ProQuent Systems. Meunier has also served on a number of company boards, including Spectrum Signal Processing, Inc. and Zarlink Semiconductors, Inc. and has served on the board of DigiBC, the 250-member Wireless Innovation Network society of British Columbia.

Alcatel-Lucent Notes DSL Milestone -- 200 Million Lines Shipped

Alcatel-Lucent noted a significant milestone -- the company has now shipped over 200 million DSL lines to date.

Alcatel-Lucent's 200 millionth DSL line shipped is a VDSL2 line that will be part of Telefónica's global network transformation project. Alcatel-Lucent's VDSL2 technology enables Telefónica to offer to its customers a wide array of advanced services.

Ciena Reports Revenue of $176 Million, Delays

Ciena reported revenue for its fiscal first quarter 2010 (ended 31-Jan-2010) of $175.9 million, which compares to $167.4 million for the fiscal first quarter 2009.

Ciena's net loss (GAAP) for the fiscal first quarter 2010 was $(53.3) million, or $(0.58) per common share, which compares to a GAAP net loss of $(24.8) million, or $(0.27) per diluted common share for the fiscal first quarter of 2009.

"Revenue recognition delays associated with initial deployments of new platforms with certain customers adversely impacted fiscal first quarter revenue," said Gary Smith, Ciena's CEO and president."However, with strong order flow in the quarter we remain encouraged by continued signs of an improving market environment."

"Based on our current view of the business, we anticipate that our fiscal second quarter revenue will be in the range of $185 million to $195 million," stated Smith. "We also expect that as-adjusted gross margin will be within our target range of mid to high 40s, and as-adjusted operating expense exclusive of integration costs will be roughly flat with that of our first fiscal quarter."

Ciena also confirmed that its acquisition of Nortel's MEN division is now expected to close by end of March.

Level 3 Wins Contract with U.S. Dept. of State

The U.S. Department of State awarded a multiyear contract to Level3 Communications to provide metro network services. Level 3 will deliver services under the Washington Interagency Telecommunications Services (WITS 3) contract that negotiates telecommunications services on behalf of all federal agencies operating within the National Capital Region (NCR). Specifically, Level 3 will provide Internet connectivity to 17 locations within the NCR, including the State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. http://www.level3.comhttp://