Thursday, April 7, 2011

U.S House Votes Down FCC's Net Neutrality Rule

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 240 to 17 to pass a bill (H.J.RES.37) disapproving the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission with respect to regulating the Internet and Net Neutrality.

Opnext Trims Q1 Guidance -- Cites 10 Day Disruption in Japan

Opnext now expects revenues for its fourth fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2011 will be approximately $95.3 million, as compared to the original guidance for the quarter of $97.0 million to $102.0 million. The company blamed the revenue shortfall on a ten-day interruption in its module manufacturing operations in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

Opnext said its module assembly facility in Totsuka, Japan suffered minor disruption as a result of the March 11 earthquake and, while shipments of subassemblies to contract manufacturers and shipments of finished goods to customers from inventory each resumed on March 18, 2011, production at this facility was not reinstated until March 21, 2011.

The company's chip production facility in Totsuka suffered minor damage which has been repaired and the company is in the process of recalibrating and verifying the proper operation of the equipment at this facility prior to restarting full production, which is expected to resume by the end of April 2011.

Opnext's industrial and commercial production facility located in Komoro, Japan was undamaged and production at this facility resumed shortly following the earthquake. The Komoro facility is also being used to process pre-existing wafers from the Totsuka chip production facility pending full restoration of the Totsuka facility.

Opnext also continues to work with its suppliers affected by the earthquake and tsunami and related subsequent events to address component availability and, in certain instances, the Company is exploring alternative sources of supply. In addition, Opnext continues to be impacted by the planned power outages in the Totsuka area and the company is in the process of installing backup power capability to permit continuous operation.

Pakistan's PTCL Picks VDSL2 Bonding with ALU

Pakistan's PTCL will be using VDSL2 bonding technology from Alcatel-Lucent to provide existing DSL customers with speeds up to 50 Mbps. Alcatel-Lucent is providing PTCL with its Intelligent Services Access Manager (ISAM) IP access platform – which is the first platform to commercially support VDSL2 bonding. Alcatel-Lucent will also supply bonding-ready customer premises equipment (CPE). Alcatel-Lucent serves as the project's master network integrator, and is providing a range of professional services – including project management, installation and commissioning, integration and technical support. Deployment should be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2011.

Deutsche Telekom Launches Fixed Location LTE/HSPA Service

Deutsche Telekom last week began offering its first commercial LTE service under a"Call & Surf Comfort" campaign aimed at residential user and not mobile users. The service is available initially in areas without DSL coverage.

Call & Surf Comfort promises users up to 3 Mbps downstream and up to 500 kbps. The company is supplying a Speedport HSPA and LTE Speedport router, both of which offer a wireless LAN capability. The router comes with a SIM card that is site specific, meaning that it can only be used from the registered home and not from the road.

The rate Call & Surf Comfort via radio costs EUR 39.95 per month. It contains a data plan for Internet use and a fixed line telephone flat rate for the German fixed network. The minimum term for the contract is 24 months. Existing fixed line number can be ported to the new service.

Deutsche Telekom said it is planning to launch a mobile LTE soon, but timing and pricing have not yet been announced.

With the launch of this residential LTE service, Deutsche Telekom said it is taking a major step to eliminate the so-called white spots in its broadband DSL coverage.

Globecomm Acquires ComSource for Test Facility

Globecomm Systems, a provider of satellite-based managed network services, has acquired ComSource, which provides independent testing services for telecom gear. The initial purchase price is $20.0 million, funded through $2.0 million of existing cash and $18.0 million through Globecomm's existing credit facility with Citibank. ComSource may receive up to $21.0 million of additional consideration, through a two-year earn-out, based on reaching certain earnings milestones.

ComSource, which is based in Frederick, MD, operates a state of the art test facility. Client testing includes basic performance, data assurance, reliability and system security. ComSource is capable of testing the following wireless equipment types: UMTS (3G) platforms and mobile devices, GSM platforms including GPRS and EDGE and mobile devices, CDMA platforms and mobile devices, Wi-Fi platforms and mobile devices, and WiMax platforms and mobile devices.

ComSource currently employs 48 individuals, of which 39 are dedicated to wireless technologies software development. The company had unaudited revenues of approximately $22.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2010.

Kabel Deutschland Expands 100 Mbps Residential Service

Kabel Deutschland (KD), Germany's largest cable operator with approximately 8.8 million connected households, is expanding its footprint of cities and neighborhoods where it offers 100 Mbps residential Internet service. The 100 Mbps connectivity is delivered over a DOCSIS 3.0 network.

Kabel Deutschland intends to deliver superfast Internet capability to the following German cities by June 2011: Hildesheim and Oldenburg (Lower Saxony), Glinde, Norderstedt, Pinneberg and Reinbek (Schleswig-Holstein), and Arnstadt, Erfurt, Gera, and Gotha (Thuringia). More than 450,000 new households will be able to opt for up to 100 Mbps fast Internet. This top tier service is currently available to approximately six million households across Germany.

New customers are eligible to get the 100 Mbps service for 19.90 euros a month for the full 12 months of the minimum contract term. After that, the monthly charge for the Internet & Telefon 100 package is 39.90 euros.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

FCC Sets New Pole Attachment Rules

The FCC reformed its pole attachment rules to streamline access and reduce costs for attaching broadband lines and wireless antennas to utility poles across America - a key component of broadband infrastructure.

The revised FCC rules:

  • Set a maximum timeframe of 148 days for utility companies to allow pole attachments in the communications space, with a maximum of 178 days allowed for attachments of wireless antennas on pole tops, and an extra 60 days for large orders;

  • Set the rate for attachments by telecommunications companies at or near the rate paid by
    cable companies;

  • Confirm that wireless providers are entitled to the same rate as other telecommunications

  • Allow ILECs, which are not covered by the rate schedule, to file complaints with the FCC
    for relief from unreasonable rates, terms, and conditions;

  • Clarify that the denial by a utility of a request for attachment must explain the specific
    capacity, safety, reliability, or engineering concern;

  • Encourage negotiated resolution of disputes and pre-planning and coordination between pole
    owners and attachers, which will be taken into account in any enforcement action; and

  • Remove the cap on penalties for unauthorized attachments.

FCC to Require Mobile Data Roaming

The FCC voted 3-to-2 along party lines to require facilities-based providers of commercial mobile data services to offer data roaming arrangements to other such providers on commercially reasonable terms and conditions.

Supporters of the measure included Chairman Genachowski and Commissioners Copps and Clyburn, who argued that mandatory data roaming will enable consumers to remain connected wherever they go because coverage will be available on a competitive basis. Roaming is already required for voice services. Supporters also expect the measure will increase competition and benefit consumers by making more choices available, especially in rural areas.

Commissioners voting against the measure included McDowell and Baker, who argued firstly that the FCC does not have the authority to establish the requirement, secondly that it will discourage investment in mobile broadband infrastructure, and thirdly that the market does not require additional government intervention.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski -- "Roaming obligations have helped fuel competition, investment and consumer choice in America's wireless marketplace since the first cellular voice service in 1981. Today, we take a
vital step to update this framework for the 21st century, as Americans increasingly use their mobile devices for data as well as voice. The framework we adopt today will spur investment in mobile broadband and promote competition. It will ensure that rural and urban consumers have the ability they expect to use their mobile phones throughout the nation for voice calls or data—like email or mobile apps."

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell -- "Even though the order attempts to explain otherwise, in mandating the provision of data roaming and establishing a means for dispute resolution that includes adjudicating terms and rates, my colleagues in the majority are, in essence, imposing a Title II common carrier regulatory regime in violation of Title III of the Communications Act and contrary to Commission precedent."

Verizon's Tom Tauke: "Today's action represents a new level of unwarranted government intervention in the wireless marketplace. By forcing carriers that have invested in wireless infrastructure to make those networks available to competitors that avoid this investment, at a price ultimately determined by the FCC, today's order discourages network investment in less profitable areas. That is directly contrary to the interests of rural America and the development of facilities-based competition and potential job creation. Therefore, it is a defeat for both consumers and the innovation fostered by true competition."

Time Warner Cable Seeks Declaratory Judgment on iPad Carriage

Time Warner Cable filed a request for declaratory judgment relating to Viacom cable networks and whether its carriage agreement allows it to deliver the programming of this company over its cable systems for viewing on devices of its video customers' choosing, including iPads, in their homes. The app, which launched to customers on March 15, 2011, currently features 43 channels which are available to customers whose subscriptions include them.

The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

"We have steadfastly maintained that we have the rights to allow our customers to view this programming in their homes, over our cable systems, without artificial limits on the screens they can use to do so, and we are asking the court to confirm our view. With over 360,000 downloads of our TWCableTV app, it is clear that our customers welcome the convenience and flexibility our new app provides," stated Marc Lawrence-Apfelbaum, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Time Warner Cable.

Zayo Launches Subsidiary for Managed Services

Zayo Group, which offers fiber-based bandwidth infrastructure and network-neutral colocation services, has consolidated its managed communication services business in a newly formed subsidiary under the Onvoy Voice Services unit of Zayo Group Holdings, Inc.

"We believe there are ongoing opportunities for growth in managed communication services including IP-based voice services and managed networks for customers," stated Dan Caruso, CEO of Zayo Group. "We feel that separating the managed communications services from our core bandwidth infrastructure business enables both businesses to more effectively focus on their customers and continued growth."

IBM Unveils Smart Cloud Enterprise Services

IBM announced an expansion of its existing cloud portfolio with the launch of IBM SmartCloud, its next-generation, enterprise cloud services based on IBM hardware, software, services and best practices.

The IBM SmartCloud enables enterprise clients to select key characteristics of a public, private and hybrid cloud to match workload requirements from simple Web infrastructure to complex business processes, along five dimensions, including: (1) Security and isolation, (2) Availability and performance, (3) Technology platforms, (4) Management Support and Deployment, and (5) Payment and Billing.

Also available later this year, IBM SAP Managed Application Services will be offered on the IBM SmartCloud. These new services automate the most common labor intensive tasks associated with managing SAP environments.

Facebook Launches Open Compute Project

Facebook kicked off its "Open Compute Project" -- an initiative to share its data center expertise with the industry as a whole.

Facebook claims its Oregon data center is 38% more efficient and 24% less expensive to build and run than other state-of-the-art data centers, making it one of the most efficient in the world. Specifically:

  • Facebook's energy consumption per unit of computing power has declined by 38% with the new facility.

  • The new data center has a PUE of 1.073, well below the EPA-defined state-of-the-art industry average of 1.51. This means 93% of the energy from the grid makes it into every Open Compute server.

  • Facebook has removed centralized chillers, eliminated traditional inline UPS systems and removed a 480V to 208V transformation.

  • Facebook is using Ethernet-powered LED lighting and passive cooling infrastructure reduce energy spent on running the facility.

Through the Open Compute Project, Facebook is sharing the specifications of its "vanity-free" servers, which use barebones AMD and Intel motherboards optimized for low-power. Facebook is sharing all of its data center designs in hopes that others will adopt them. The company is also welcoming others "to tell us where we screwed up"

Google Offers 1 Billion hours of Computational Capacity to Researchers

Google is launching a new program called Google Exacycle for Visiting Faculty, which provides 1 billion hours of computational core capacity to researchers. This program is focused on large-scale, batch computations in research areas such as biomedicine, energy, weather and climate, earth sciences and astronomy.

Sipera Teams with Future Com Partner to Secure UC

Sipera Systems and Future Com announced a partnership to better secure enterprise UC. Future Com has joined Sipera's Reseller Program as a Gold Tier Reseller, and is working with a major aviation industry customer, updating its security infrastructure to include UC, using best practice recommendations from Sipera and Future Com.

Sipera's UC-Sec appliances proactively address security risks associated with UC applications such as VoIP, instant messaging, IP video and collaboration tools, enabling government agencies and enterprise customers to adopt UC applications and apply comprehensive security. Sipera's "Borderless UC" architecture enables all communications to be encrypted and compliant on any UC device, at any internal and external location.

China Mobile Selects Ericsson for TD-LTE Trial in Shenzhen

China Mobile has selected Ericsson to build a TD-LTE trial network in the city of Shenzhen. The approval of the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) follows the successful completion of interoperability tests of Ericsson's TD-LTE network equipment with multiple chipset manufacturers, including ST-Ericsson and Qualcomm.

Ericsson will provide its end-to-end TD-LTE solution, which includes RBS 6000 multi-standard base station and its Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network; operations support systems software and professional services.

  • Last month, Nokia Siemens Networks confirmed that it has been selected to participate in China Mobile's large scale TD-LTE trial. Specifically, Nokia Siemens Networks will offer its commercial 2.3GHz/2.6GHz TD-LTE equipment, professional services and management software to conduct the major field trial in Hangzhou.

  • Alcatel-Lucent also confirmed that China Mobile had selected it to participate in a TD-LTE trial network covering Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen. This qualification follows successful completion of various interoperability tests which started from January 2010 as required by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information (MIIT) and China Mobile.

nTelos Completes LTE Trial with Alcatel-Lucent

nTelos Wireless, which serves the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., has completed an LTE field trial in Waynesboro, Virginia. Alcatel-Lucent supplied an end-to-end solution including 4G LTE base stations (eNodeBs), the Evolved Packet Core (EPC), IP service routing network elements as well as operation, administration and maintenance (OAM) systems.

MEF Expands Carrier Ethernet certification program

The MEF (Metro Ethernet Forum) launched the third part of its MEF Carrier Ethernet certification program.

The MEF's Carrier Ethernet Certified Professional (MEF-CECP) test validates knowledge of Carrier Ethernet technology, standards and applications. To qualify for the MEF-CECP certificate, suitable individuals must sit a two-hour multiple choice exam covering topics that include: MEF definitions, access technologies, MEF certification, target applications, circuit emulation over Ethernet, SOAM and comparisons with other network services.

"With thirteen new services and five providers certified in the last quarter of 2010 alone, we are witnessing a strong and growing appreciation of the value of MEF certification. For the individual, this new aspect of MEF certification helps career advancement by providing industry recognition of their knowledge and expertise. For the employer, it simplifies the choice of candidates and helps to define standard training requirements. For the industry, it will enable growth via better trained sales, marketing, product management and technical professionals," stated Nan Chen, MEF President.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Metaswitch Acquires Colibria for Enhanced Mobile Messaging

Metaswitch Networks has acquired Colibria, a developer of enhanced instant messaging, presence and network address book solutions for service providers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Colibria's portfolio consists of:

(1) SIP Instant Messaging Server - providing rich multimedia messaging infrastructure components for all IP/IP capable networks, and building the basis for the evolution to Convergent IP Messaging (CPM)

(2) SIP Presence Server - providing key enablers such as real time status and service availability, enhancing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), driving Push to Talk over Cellular (PoC), and fundamental to the GSMA's Rich Communication Suite (RCS).

(3) XDMS Servers - providing contact, group, list, and policy management for Presence, IM, and Network Address Book deployments.

(4) Social Network Gateway - integrating and interfacing messaging and presence with existing services like Windows Live Messenger and Facebook Chat.

Colibria is based in Norway.

"Operators around the world have quickly come to realize that it is time to turn up the heat on their over-the-top competitors," said Kevin DeNuccio, CEO at Metaswitch Networks. "The way people communicate is quickly evolving from just voice and text to a new, richer set of social interaction and contextual calling services. Metaswitch is in the middle of this transformation, helping service providers address these demands and putting their brand front and center in the new communications experience. Colibria technology will play a key role in making this happen."

Metaswitch said the Colibria acquisition complements its recently launched "Thrutu" service, a unique in-call content sharing experience that enables mobile users to impulsively exchange information during a call.

  • Colibria was founded in 2000 and its investors included Verdane Capital, Ferd Venture, and Bjørgvin.

BBC: Pensioner Cuts Off Armenia's Internet

A 75-year old woman in Georgia who was scavenging for copper scraps cut a fiber cable thereby serving international connectivity for all three wholesale Internet providers in Armenia -- ArmenTel, FiberNet Communication and GNC-Alfa, according to the BBC. Service for entire nation of Armenia was disrupted on March 28.

Procera Appoints Juniper Exec as VP of Global Solutions Engineering

Procera Networks has appointed Shawn Sweeney as Vice President of Global Solutions Engineering. Mr. Sweeney most recently served at Juniper Networks for over four years in a senior leadership position. He joins Procera to lead the company's technical field and solutions organization and further its position as the leader in delivering Intelligent Policy Enforcement (IPE) solutions based on advanced deep packet inspection (DPI).

In addition, Procera Networks this week announced initial orders with a combined value of over $2.75 million for a first phase deployment at a leading cable MSO and a Tier-1 fixed/mobile operator. These two European service providers have a combined customer base of over 100 million subscribers.