Sunday, March 20, 2011

NSN Unveils "Liquid Radio" Mobile Architecture

Nokia Siemens Networks unveiled its new "Liquid Radio" mobile network architecture for dynamically directing mobile broadband capacity to where it is needed most. Baseband pooling is at the heart of the approach.

Liquid Radio promises a more economic use of network resources through sharing and redistributing capacity based on user demand. Nokia Siemens Networks said its baseband pooling approach centralizes the resources needed to undertake processing functions common to every base station in a given area. Baseband pooling helps to achieve a more cost efficient sharing of resources over a large geographical area.

Liquid Radio architecture comprises three key elements:

  • Baseband pooling achieved via Nokia Siemens Networks‘ recently launched Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station enables centralized pools of over 10 Gbps baseband capacity to manage up to 100 cells dynamically via smart scheduling algorithms.

  • A new Flexi Multiradio Antenna System that provides true active antennas and complements the company's Flexi Multiradio Base Station family. The Flexi Multiradio Antenna System is based on several distributed radio frequency components integrated in the antenna housing to genuinely cooperate as a single entity to enable advanced features like beamforming. Beamforming provides additional capacity exactly where it is needed, allowing up to 65% capacity gain. Commercial availability is expected at the end of 2011.

  • Unified heterogeneous networks enable various network layers to be used as a logically unified network with automated management, seamless interworking and uncompromised quality of experience to the user. As modern mobile networks continue to carry most of the traffic for mobile broadband in the future, they are getting more complex with several bands and mobile technologies (like LTE, HSPA+, Long Term HSPA Evolution) and the use of smaller cells like micro, pico and femtocells. Also, alternative technologies like 802.1x WiFi are increasingly being used for mobile broadband capacity enhancement as well as the more traditional in-building coverage.

"Liquids are unconstrained, streaming to fill any gap or space," said Thorsten Robrecht, head of Network Systems product management, Nokia Siemens Networks. "In the same way, our Liquid Radio architecture removes the constraints of traditional mobile broadband networks to address the ‘ebb and flow' of traffic created by users' movements across the network."

"We foresee demand for network capacity increasing to up to 1 GB per user per day[1] ," said Robrecht. "Not only will this require substantial network investments, but also a unique combination of base station sites for wide area coverage complemented by Wifi and small, compact micro, pico and femto cells. Nokia Siemens Networks Liquid Radio ensures that existing network investments are fully leveraged and that future investments deliver the return necessary to support today's pressing challenge of maintaining and transitioning GSM, evolving 3G and introducing LTE and LTE-Advanced."
  • In February 2011, Nokia Siemens Networks unveiled its "Single RAN Advanced" architecture for supporting the full range of air interface technologies from GSM up through LTE-Advanced using software defined radios.

    Key components of Single RAN Advanced include a new highly powerful, compact and scalable Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station. This base station will be 10 Gbps capable for high capacity cell sites. Single RAN Advanced also includes the Flexi Lite Base Station for micro and pico deployments, which are ideal for providing hotspot coverage in high traffic areas, and a Multicontroller platform for GSM and 3G.

    Nokia Siemens Networks Flexi Base Station will also have the capability to reallocate radio frequencies for maximum efficiency. The 4.2 MHz technology can rapidly refarm HSPA to lower frequencies with less spectrum required. It also offers spectral efficiency features like Orthogonal Sub Channel in GSM.

    Flexi BTS will also come with integrated IP transport interfaces. Flexi BTS will also feature a modular design and the ability to deployed outdoors, eliminating the need for shelter or huts with air conditioning.

    Nokia Siemens Networks' Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station will be available for commercial deployment during 2011, while the Flexi Lite Base Station will become available for commercial use during the first half of 2012. The Multicontroller platform is already being used in customer trials.

Rural Telecommunications Group Opposes AT&T+T-Mobile Merger

The Rural Telecommunications Group, a trade association representing rural wireless carriers who each serve less than 100,000 subscribers, condemned A&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA, saying the deal would ultimately result in a duopoly of AT&T versus Verizon.

"November 4, 2008, the day the FCC approved the Alltel/Verizon merger under Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin, was the first day the United States wireless market ceased to be competitive," stated RTG's General Counsel, Caressa Bennet. "The market has failed and T-Mobile's decision to throw in the towel only confirms it." The Department of Justice and the FCC have approved similar mergers in the past and American consumers should brace themselves for losing yet another marketplace choice in the mobile sector."

Ceragon Debuts Long-Haul Microwave Backhaul

Ceragon Networks introduced its Evolution IP-10 Compact Long Haul (CLH) all-indoor microwave system for high capacity long distance applications. The new platform is optimized for the North American market and delivers Ethernet traffic at up to 1.4 Gbps per channel. The 3-RU platform offers exceptionally high transmit power and configuration options for 1+1/2+0 systems.

Key Features of the Evolution IP-10 CLH include:

  • Highest possible capacity and efficiency for Ethernet traffic with up to 1.4Gbps per channel.

  • Robust, redundant equipment design for maximum network availability.

  • Advanced radio features with high system gain and errorless adaptive power modulation.

  • Unique "Rack & Stack" design providing simplified and flexible network design, installation and maintenance – significantly reducing CAPEX and OPEX.

  • MEF-9 and MEF-14 Certified

  • Operates at 5.8, 6L, 6H, 7, 8, 11 GHz licensed and unlicensed bands using channel bandwidths of 5, 10, 20, 30, 40 MHz

  • Optimized for risk free migration from TDM to all-IP networks.

AT&T Cites Benefits of T-Mobile USA Deal

In an investor presentation, AT&T executives laid out the reasons for the $39 billion deal to acquire T-Mobile USA. They expressed confidence in getting the deal approved by the FCC and Department of Justice.

The main reasons given for the acquisition are:

1. It improves network capacity, density, spectrum and efficiency.

2. It expands and accelerates the LTE rollout.

3. It improves the growth potential of the company, adding over 33 million customers.

4. It achieves important business synergies for enhanced efficiency.

5. The companies have highly compatible 4G spectrum (700 MHz, AWS) and operate common network technology (UMTS, GSM, HSPA+).

6. The cell splits achieve by integrating the network in areas where they overlap would double 3G capacities in many urban centers.

7. The fastest LTE speeds possible can be achieved by the pairing of AT&T's and T-Mobile's existing AWS spectrum holdings.

8. The deal will deliver substantial on-going synergies of >$3B in year three.

As for getting the deal approved, AT&T's General Counsel, Wayne Watts, said he fully respects the legal process and that the company can demonstrate that wireless competition "will continue to flourish" after this merger. AT&T sees new entrants into the market, such as Clearwire, LightSquared, MetroPCS and Leap, rather than a consolidation to 3 players.

Frontier Deploys Actelis

Frontier Communications has selected Actelis to provide its Ethernet-over-copper platforms for delivering business-class Ethernet services as well as backhauling DSL services to residential customers who have been out of reach until now. The deployment will cover Frontier's entire footprint, including the 13 new territories acquired from Verizon Communications. Financial terms were not disclosed.

For DSL, Frontier will deploy Actelis' Ethernet access devices, central office aggregation systems and spectrally friendly ANSI T1.417-compliant EFM repeaters, enabling high-bandwidth services at tens of thousands of feet from their central offices and remote terminals.

"Legacy T1 circuits were never designed to meet the bandwidth requirements being imposed by new applications and cloud-based services today," said Joe Manuele, executive vice president of worldwide sales and customer service at Actelis. "By leveraging Actelis' innovative and patented DRB technology with our industry-leading EFM repeaters, Frontier can deliver dramatically more bandwidth to more customers than previously thought possible. And unlike alternative solutions, Actelis' continued innovation in Ethernet-based technology will boost the bandwidth provided by Ethernet, protecting Frontier's investment and providing the means to meet evolving bandwidth requirements."

BridgeWave's New 60GHz Pipe Delivers Small Cell Backhaul

BridgeWave Communications introduced its new "PicoHaul" backhaul product for serving the large number of low-cost, small-cell (picocell) base stations that expected to be deployed in 4G networks.

BridgeWave's new PG60C "pipe" shaped product is designed to hang off a lamp post or the side of a building and provide high-capacitybackhaul to the low-power picocell using 60 GHz spectrum over a distance of a mile or more. The design avoids the "dish antenna" featured in other solutions. Bridgewave said its PG60c is highly directional, which lessons the chance of interference with other picocell backhaul radios operating near-by. It could be deployed in star topologies or possibly as a daisy-chain.

The company cited a number of other benefits for its millimeter wave frequency bands, specifically the 60 GHz band, including spectrum availability, frequency reuse, interference immunity, and in many areas, licensee-free availability.

BridgeWave's PicoHaul product has already completed a several month-long trial with a North American Tier 1 carrier.

"The PG60C picocell backhaul product was developed for mobile operators looking for an affordable, high-capacity product for small-cell connectivity," said Amir Makleff, CEO of BridgeWave Communications. "BridgeWave is committed to developing products that tackle emerging 4G issues, ultimately providing operators with more tools for ubiquitous coverage. This product leverages our expertise in building high-quality gigabit transmission solutions that are being adopted by carriers world-wide."

FCC: Growth in Fixed Broadband Lines Ends

The days of subscriber growth in fixed broadband connections in the U.S. came to an end in 2010, according to newly released FCC reports on Internet Access Services and Local Telephone Competition. The two reports are based on data submitted by carriers as of 30-June-2010.

Highlights from the Internet Access Services report include the following:

  • 60% of connections were slower than the benchmark 4 Mbps download speed identified by the FCC as the minimum bandwidth generally required to accommodate today's uses: high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video.

  • At mid-year 2010, 63% of reportable connections (or 96.9 million connections) were slower than
    768 kbps in the upstream direction, 18% (or 27.7 million connections) were at least 768 kbps in
    the upstream direction but slower than 1.5 Mbps, and 19% (or 28.4 million connections) were at
    least 1.5 mbps in the upstream direction.

  • Growth of fixed broadband service appears to have flattened at 1% in the first half of
    2010, to 82 million connections.

Highlights from the Local Telephone Competition report including the following:

  • Interconnected VoIP grew by 21% between June 2009 and June 2010.

  • Conventional switched access lines (i.e., traditional wireline telephone lines) decreased
    by 8% between June 2009 and June 2010.

  • 28% of all residential wireline connections were interconnected VoIP as of June 2010.

  • An estimated 77% of interconnected VoIP subscribers received service through a cable

  • The number of subscriptions to wireless phone service grew by 5% in the year.

Overture Networks Completes Merger, Focuses on Carrier Ethernet

Overture Networks and Hatteras Networks completed their previously-announced merger. The new Overture Networks will continue to be headquartered in Research Triangle Park, NC and focused on the Carrier Ethernet market.

Jeff Reedy will lead the new management team as CEO. Kevin Sheehan will take on the role of company President, Prayson Pate becomes Senior Vice President of Engineering and Matt Squire, will assume the position of Overture's Chief Technology Officer.

AVG Technologies Gains $235 Million Credit Line

AVG Technologies, which supplies consumer security software, has secured a new $235 million credit agreement with a syndicate led by J.P Morgan and Morgan Stanley.

J.R. Smith, Chief Executive Officer, AVG commented, "AVG has created one of the world's largest installed customer bases for anti-virus software, and has delivered powerful security technologies and solutions that are proven and well-respected in the market. The potential and growth opportunities for our business are extraordinary, and we are delighted that the market has recognized that potential with this new credit facility led by two of the most respected global institutions, Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan. This agreement further strengthens AVG's market position, provides additional financial flexibility, and enhances our ability to execute our strategic plans. AVG firmly believes that basic internet protection should be free, and we continue to offer the most robust free offering in the market which forms the cornerstone of our financial success through the company's unique business model."

Verizon Joins CENX Carrier Ethernet Exchange in LA and Washington

Verizon is expanding its Ethernet services using the CENX Carrier Ethernet Exchanges in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.. The Ethernet exchanges provide a neutral place for buyers and sellers to peer, connect and purchase Ethernet services.

"The positive response we've experienced since launching this product demonstrates that customers are accepting the Ethernet exchange concept," said Matthew Duckworth, marketing director for Verizon Global Wholesale. "Ethernet is a dynamic field in and of itself, and as our customers discover how flexible and easy it is to use our Ethernet exchange services, they're quickly getting on board."

NetLogic to Acquire Optichron for LTE Base Station Processors

NetLogic Microsystems will acquire Optichron, a privately-held, fabless semiconductor provider of 3G/4G LTE base station digital front-end (DFE) processors, for approximately $77 million in cash, $22 million for restricted stock units for employees of Optichron, and a possible maximum earn-out or approximately $108.5 million payable in 2013 if certain milestones are met.

Optichron, which is based in Fremont, California, offers DFE technology for next-generation LTE systems requiring the highest data rates and lowest power consumption.
The company said its DFE processors have been designed into next-generation base stations by multiple original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Conventional DFE processing solutions typically support narrow bandwidths, a limited number of channels and a single protocol per signal band, and are therefore costly and inefficient for high-throughput base stations.
Optichron's DFE processors deliver performance of up to 5X increase in signal bandwidth and up to 9X increase in instantaneous bandwidth over available competing solutions In addition, Optichron enables simultaneous processing of multiple signal channels per frequency band, as well as the multi-mode co-existence of 4G LTE, 3G and 2G protocols. The design also eliminates the need for costly and very power-hungry FPGA devices and conventional DFE solutions that are traditionally used to implement DFE functionality. Optichron's investors include U.S. Venture Partners, Battery Ventures, TL Ventures and VentureTech Alliance.

NetLogic said the acquisition of Optichron will expand its footprint in 3G/4G LTE base stations by complementing its portfolio of multi-core processors, knowledge-based processors and 10 Gigabit Ethernet PHY solutions.
NetLogic expects that the acquisition will accelerate Optichron's technical leadership and product roadmaps in the advanced 40nm process node and beyond.

Broadcom to acquire Provigent for $313 Million -- Microwave Radio Silicon

Broadcom will acquire Provigent, a privately-held silicon developer with solution for microwave backhaul systems,
for approximately $313 million in cash.

Provigent's System-on-Chip (SoC) solutions address the backhaul bottleneck, including high capacity modem, baseband, networking and RF chain components. The company is based in Israel and it has offices in Santa Clara, California.

Broadcom said the addition of Provigent's engineering expertise in microwave radio products will expand its portfolio to more thoroughly address the $5B microwave backhaul equipment business.

"Provigent is a unique asset with world-class microwave backhaul technology and strong engineering talent developing innovative and highly integrated semiconductor solutions for the microwave segment," said Rajiv Ramaswami, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom's Infrastructure and Networking Group. "Combining their microwave backhaul solutions with our industry leading network infrastructure and wireless solutions allows us to better serve our customers and expand our addressable market."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

AT&T to Acquire T-Mobile USA for US$39 Billion

AT&T has agreed to acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for US$39 billion.

AT&T said the deal will provide it with an optimal combination of network assets to add capacity sooner than any alternative and that it provides a fast, efficient and certain solution to the impending exhaustion of wireless spectrum in some market.

Specifically, AT&T is looking to increase its density of cell sites in urban areas. The T-Mobile USA facilities would boost its density by 30% in key markets. AT&T estimates it would take 5 years to build these resources on its own.

AT&T also plans to expand and accelerate its push into LTE, committing to reach 95 percent of the U.S. population, or an additional 46.5 million Americans, beyond its current plans – including rural communities and small towns.


As of 31-Dec-2010, AT&T posted a net gain in total wireless subscribers of 2.8 million, to reach 95.5 million in service, the best net gain in the company's history. AT&T added 442,000 iPad- and Android-based tablets to its network, with more than 90 percent of these booked to the prepaid category. Retail net adds for the quarter include postpaid net adds of 400,000 and prepaid net adds of 307,000. Connected device net adds were 1.5 million, and reseller net adds were 595,000. Postpaid churn was 1.15 percent. There were 4.1 million iPhone activations.

As of 31-Dec-2010, T-Mobile USA served 33.73 million customers, down from 33.76 million at the end of the third quarter of 2010 and 33.79 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2009. In the fourth quarter of 2010, net customer losses were 23,000, compared to net additions of 137,000 in the third quarter of 2010 and 371,000 in the fourth quarter of 2009. Contract customers were the primary driver for the sequential and year-on-year change in net customers. Contract churn was 2.5% in the fourth quarter of 2010, up from 2.4% in the third quarter of 2010 and consistent with the fourth quarter of 2009.

"This transaction represents a major commitment to strengthen and expand critical infrastructure for our nation's future," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO. "It will improve network quality, and it will bring advanced LTE capabilities to more than 294 million people. Mobile broadband networks drive economic opportunity everywhere, and they enable the expanding high-tech ecosystem that includes device makers, cloud and content providers, app developers, customers, and more. During the past few years, America's high-tech industry has delivered innovation at unprecedented speed, and this combination will accelerate its continued growth."

Deutsche Telekom will receive 25 billion US-Dollar in cash and 14 billion US-Dollar in shares of AT&T. AT&T has the right to increase the portion of the purchase price paid in cash by up to 4.2 billion US-Dollar with a corresponding reduction in the stock component.

The merger will require approvals from the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and the FCC. The companies hope to complete the deal in the first half of 2012.

Deutsche Telekom plans to use approximately 13 billion Euro of the proceeds to reduce its debts.

Deutsche Telekom Chairman and CEO René Obermann said, "After evaluating strategic options for T-Mobile USA, I am confident that AT&T is the best partner for our customers, shareholders and the mobile broadband ecosystem. Our common network technology makes this a logical combination and provides an efficient path to gaining the spectrum and network assets needed to provide T-Mobile customers with 4G LTE and the best devices. Also, the transaction returns significant value to Deutsche Telekom shareholders and allows us to retain exposure to the U.S. market."

The number of AT&T shares issued will be based on the AT&T share price during the 30-day period prior to closing, subject to a 7.5 percent collar; there is a one-year lock-up period during which Deutsche Telekom cannot sell shares. The cash portion of the purchase price will be financed with new debt and cash on AT&T's balance sheet.

In January 2011, AT&T announced plans to accelerate its LTE rollout with the goal of launching initial service by mid-year 2011 and substantially completing the network by year-end 2013. AT&T's mobile broadband strategy calls for both HSPA+ and LTE.

The company has already completed its deployment of HSPA+ to virtually 100 percent of its mobile broadband network. The network upgrade program calls for faster rollout of Ethernet + fiber backhaul and AT&T now expects that nearly two-thirds of its mobile broadband traffic will be on expanded backhaul by year-end 2011.

In an investor presentation at the Citi Annual Global Entertainment conference, John Stankey, President and CEO, AT&T Business Solutions, said that CAPEX at the company would remain relatively constant as a percentage of revenue (mid-teens) but that the accelerated LTE deployment means that some spending will be brought forward. The "tail-end" of the Uverse build means that more money can now be spend on wireless infrastructure and mobile broadband -- therefore a higher percentage of CAPEX will be devoted to wireless, while the company continues to look for synergies in its wireline and wireless backbones.

Regarding bottlenecks in its existing 3G network, Stankey said supply chain issues in procuring radio access network (RAN) equipment finally appear to be alleviated and that the company is now moving ahead with upgrade projects as quickly as it can. However, some projects, such as downtown San Francisco, are delayed by zoning and permitting requirements, while other sites, such as sports stadiums, are delayed by property owners.

Some key points from AT&T's Developer event at CES in Las Vegas:

  • AT&T is delivering 6 Mbps downlink speeds on its HSPA+ network where Ethernet backhaul is in place.

  • AT&T plans to introduce 20 4G devices by the end of the year, some on an exclusive basis. This will include more than 12 new Android devices in 2011. AT&T expects to offer two 4G smartphones in Q1 2011.

  • AT&T plans to launch two 4G tablets, including its first LTE tablet, by mid summer. Additional LTE tablets are planned for the second half of 2011.

  • AT&T is offering Wi-Fi access at more than 125,000 hot spots.

  • AT&T will launch an HTML-5 development kit. The company has also inked an agreement with Open Feint to offer a social gaming platform that can work across wireless networks. The agreement opens API's for the popular Open Feint social gaming platform for AT&T smartphones.

"AT&T is the only U.S. company committed to both HSPA+ and LTE technologies. Today our customers are benefiting as we repeatedly increase speeds on our mobile broadband network. As we accelerate our LTE network build, our customers will have blazing fast LTE speeds and when they go off LTE, they will still have faster mobile broadband speeds with HSPA+ -- something our competitors will not be able to match," stated Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. http://www.telekom.deAt a separate investors' conference in January 2011, Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann predicted that T-Mobile USA would return to growth this year and increase its revenue by $3 billion by 2014. The plan called for T-Mobile USA to become much more aggressive in mobile data services as it positions its HSPA+ network against LTE and WiMAX. It currently ranks as the fourth largest mobile operator in the U.S.

T-Mobile's HSPA+ network is currently available in 100 major metropolitan areas across the U.S., reaching approximately 200 million people nationwide. It currently supports peak downlink rates of 21 Mbps and an upgrade to 42 Mbps will occur this year. The company enables it claim the "4G" moniker and compete against Verizon's LTE.

One example is the newly-announced, T-Mobile exclusive, Samsung Galaxy S 4G -- its first smartphone capable of delivering theoretical peak download speeds of up to 21 Mbps. The phone is powered by Android 2.2 (Froyo) and features a Super AMOLED touch screen display. T-Mobile calls it the "fastest smartphone running on America's largest 4G network."

Some other points of interest presented at the event:

  • T-Mobile USA believes it has sufficient spectrum for the next few years. It will look to acquire more spectrum in the long-term, possibly 2014 or 2015, from auctions (700 MHz AWS) or from the secondary market. It might also look for partners.

  • Backhaul is competitive advantage for the company. It also nearly 75% of sites on fiber already and this number will climb to 87% by Q3.
    Growth in the U.S. market will come mostly from mobile data.

  • T-Mobile's growth strategy calls for "affordable" data services, a focus on both consumers and business, and better customer support.

  • Its first 4G tablet is expected this Spring.

  • No comment on the selling the iPhone, instead it will "go big" with Android.
    The company currently has 34 million subscribers.

  • T-Mobile USA expects to save $1 billion in operational costs through "process reinvention." This include Zero Waste (moving to eBills, reducing handset return rates), Self-Service Automation, Simplifying products, and Network Efficiencies (transitioning 100% to all-IP, roaming overbuilds).

Gulf Bridge Build Undersea Fiber Network from Qatar

Gulf Bridge International (GBI), the Middle East's first privately-owned submarine cable operator, along with its partner, Vodafone Qatar, announced the landing of its new cable at Vodafone's international cable landing station just north of Doha.

The GBI cable system is a high-capacity, fiber optic cable that will connect all the countries of the Gulf region to each other and provide onward connectivity to Europe, Africa and Asia.

Over the coming months, the cable ship, "Responder", will continue to install the GBI cable system, which is configured as a self-healing ring within the Gulf.

The GBI cable system deploys several state-of-the-art technologies, such as new dual-stage repeaters and wavelength monitoring units. The architecture offers 128 x 10 Gbps wavelengths per fiber pair to achieve a total system design capacity of 2.56 Tbps. It will incorporate Optical Add Drop Multiplexing (OADM) undersea branching units to reduce upgrade costs, and increase reliability and system resiliency with the ability to by-pass a branch.

Commissioning is expected later this year.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cisco Announces First Dividend in its History

For the first time since its IPO in 1990, Cisco will pay a quarterly cash dividend to its shareholders. A quarterly dividend of $0.06 per common share will be paid on April 20, 2011, to all shareholders of record as of the close of business on March 31, 2011. Future dividends will be subject to Board approval.

"As the role of the network expands across the IT sector, Cisco's leadership position in the markets we serve is strong, and the time is right for Cisco to pay our first-ever cash dividend," said Frank Calderoni, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Cisco. "This dividend complements our leading position, and is an important part of our commitment to bring value to shareholders."

Telstra Postpones July 1 Vote on NBN Partnership

Due to ongoing negotiations, Telstra will not be able to complete work necessary to bring the proposed A$11bn deal with the NBN Co. to a shareholder vote on July 1. The company cited statutory requirements for the delay and said it is now looking for a later date. Telstra characterized the ongoing negotiations as continuing "to progress well."
  • In February 2011, Telstra provided an update on negotiations with NBN Co. concerning the National Broadband Network. Key commercial terms of the deal have been now been finalized. NBN Co. would gain access to Telstra facilities and there would be a progressive migration of Telstra traffic onto the National Broadband Network. The deal is expected to deliver approximately $9 billion in post-tax net present value to Telstra.

    Telstra has provisionally agreed commercial terms relating to copper network decommissioning, dark fibre and duct usage, exchange usage, certain roll-out arrangements and other matters with NBN Co. The parties are working to complete the associated operational details and ensure all contingencies are addressed as part of the documentation process which is expected to be completed in the near future.

FCC Approves CenturyLink+Qwest Deal with Conditions

The FCC approved the pending merger of CenturyLink and Qwest Communications, with the following binding and enforceable conditions:

Broadband adoption program for low-income consumers
  • Launch major broadband adoption program focused on connecting the millions of
    low-income consumers in the combined company's 37-state territory.
  • Offer qualifying households broadband starting at less than $10 per month and a
    computer for less than $150, and keep the window open for five years for
    qualifying consumers to sign up.
  • Make a significant annual commitment to marketing, outreach, and digital literacy
    training, and include detailed reporting on outcomes and an independent analysis
    of the program's effectiveness.

Broadband deployment
  • Significantly increase the capacity of the Qwest network, bringing broadband
    with actual download speeds of at least 4 Megabits per second (Mbps) to at least 4
    million more homes and businesses, and at least 20,000 more anchor institutions,
    such as schools, libraries, and community centers.

  • Significantly increase availability of higher-speed broadband: The company will
    more than double the number of homes and businesses that can get 12 Mbps
    broadband, and more than triple the number that can get 40 Mbps broadband.

Advancing Universal Service Fund reform
  • Phase down three forms of support designed for smaller companies, which the
    company currently receives from the federal Universal Service Fund.

Protection against potential transaction-related harms
  • No increase in enterprise service prices for 7 years in a few dozen buildings where
    the companies currently compete (Minneapolis, Minn., and Olympia, Wash.).

  • Safeguards for smooth transition of operations support systems, to protect
    wholesale customers.

  • Ensuring the merger does not harm interconnection agreements with competing
    phone carriers.

  • Maintenance of wholesale service quality.

CenturyLink offers voice, video, and data services in 33 states, serving
approximately 7 million access lines and 2.2 million broadband customers in its region.
CenturyLink also operates as a competitive local exchange carrier in certain local and regional

Qwest operates as a local exchange carrier serving 10.3 million lines in a 14-state region; has 3 million broadband customers; and sells wireless, video, and extensive wholesale services through its subsidiaries. Under the deal, Qwest will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of CenturyLink.

The companies expect to close the merger and combine operations on April 1, 2011, subject to receipt of the remaining necessary regulatory approval. As previously announced, the combined company will use the name CenturyLink and its stock will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under CenturyLink's current symbol, CTL. Qwest shares outstanding at the end of the business day immediately prior to the close date will convert to CenturyLink shares on the close date at an exchange rate of 0.1664 share of CenturyLink for each share of Qwest.http://www.fcc.gov

Xilinx Ships First 28nm FPGA

Xilinx has begun sampling its Kintex-7 K325T Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), marking the industry's fastest product rollout of next generation programmable logic devices built with 28nm technology.

Xilinx said its Kintex-7 K325T device is the first FPGA in this class to deliver the highest number of channels per dollar at less than 12 watts of power for LTE wireless radio cards and next generation wireless base stations. Kintex-7 FPGAs provide the optimized price performance required for flat panel displays, ultrasound equipment and many other applications and includes high-bandwidth, low jitter serial transceivers to address price sensitive wired communication applications. The Kintex-7 K325T FPGA is the first of 28 devices that make up the 7 series FPGA that includes the Artix-7 and Virtex-7 FPGA families.

"In parallel with the development of the first 28nm FPGAs Xilinx refined the Xilinx ISE design tools to enable faster runtimes, enable designs that use up to 2 million logic cells, and shorten migration of AXI protocol-compliant IP initially developed in Virtex-6 and Spartan®-6 FPGAs to the 7 series from weeks to hours," said Bruce Kleinman, Corporate Vice President of Platform Marketing at Xilinx. "As a result of these efforts Xilinx has been able to bring up the first 7 series targeted design platform within hours with a fully operational design that demonstrates the key benefits of the 7 series devices."http:/

NETGEAR to Acquire Westell Technologies' CNS Business

NETGEAR will acquire the Customer Networking Solutions (CNS) division of Westell Technologies, which supplies broadband networking products to U.S. telecommunications service providers, for approximately $33.5 million in cash. The CNS family of products enable high-speed transport and networking of voice, data, video and other advanced services over existing copper and fiber.

NETGEAR is acquiring a select team of Westell employees, including the CNS sales and marketing team, most of its customer base, its core CNS product and test engineering teams, nineteen patents and pending patent applications, proprietary technologies, current products, and products in development. The business relating to the assets that NETGEAR is acquiring generated approximately $39.5 million in net revenue for Westell during the twelve month period ended December 31, 2010.

Westell will retain certain customer relationships as well as its HomeCloud product line.

"This transaction will position NETGEAR as a leader in the U.S. telecommunications service provider home network equipment market. The addition of the CNS customer base that we are acquiring will allow us to accelerate our service provider revenue growth and strengthen our market position among North America Telecommunications operators. We believe that following completion of integration of the CNS business into NETGEAR that the transaction will not have an adverse impact on our overall company operating margins," said Patrick Lo, Chairman and CEO of NETGEAR.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ericsson Completes HD Voice Call on CDMA

Ericsson completed a CDMA wideband High Definition (HD) voice call using the Enhanced Variable Rate Codec Narrowband-Wideband (EVRC-NW) codec. The lab demonstration marks a first first for the CDMA industry.

CDMA HD voice delivers speech in a wider spectral range of 50Hz to 7000Hz.

"We have demonstrated the first high-definition CDMA voice call in the world over an Ericsson network utilizing the new EVRC-NW 3GPP2 standard codec and ensuring interoperability with existing functionality while easing the rollout of future wideband services." says Surya Bommakanti, Vice President, Product Area Core, BU CDMA Mobile Systems, Ericsson. "This is the starting point of a voice quality revolution that will significantly enhance CDMA networks as we know them today."

The Ericsson CDMA development team collaborated with Qualcomm for the HD voice over CDMA demonstration.