Thursday, April 14, 2011

China Unicom Selects ZTE for HSPA++PTN in 7 Cities

China Unicom has awarded an exclusive contract to ZTE for an HSPA+ network upgrade in seven key cities, including Changchun, Ningbo and Wuhan.

China Unicom will use ZTE's packet transport network equipment and IP RAN gear. The construction of this PTN network has also officially started the transition of China Unicom's Delivery network, laying a solid foundation to facilitate China Unicom's 3G and 4G strategies in the future.

Bamboom Targets Cloud-based TV Antenna, DVR, Social Interface

Bamboom, a start-up based in New York, raised $4.5 million in seed funding to develop new concept in digital TV distribution. The company promises to develop a TV service over broadband IP connections but using content from free, over-the-air broadcasts. The subscriber would buy a miniaturized TV antenna that would actually be deployed in a centralized location by Bamboom. This antenna would gather the over-the-air content and then transmit it securely over IP to the subscriber. Each subscriber would have their own antenna. Bamboom would also offer a personalized DVR to the subscriber, as well as a cool interface that also integrates with Netflix.

New York-based FirstMark Capital led the round, which included money from High Line Venture Partners, SV Angel/Ron Conway, First Round Capital, and Highland Capital Partners.

Bamboom Labs was started by Chet Kanojia, whose previous venture, Navic Networks, was backed by FirstMark Capital and acquired by Microsoft in 2008. The Bamboom team also includes others from Navic and Microsoft, as well as RF and digital engineers from Andrew Corporation, Lucent and others.

Russia's Vimpelcom Moves into Group of Top Mobile Operators

Russia's Vimpel-Communications completed its previously announced deal with Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris to acquire Weather Investments S.p.A, which owns 51.7% of Orascom Telecom (Egypt) and 100% of Wind Telecomunicazioni (Italy). The US$1.495 billion cash deal, which was first announced in October 2010, was financed from Vimpelcom's existing cash balances and new debt facilities.

Vimpelcom said the acquisition will make it the world's sixth largest mobile telecommunications carrier by subscribers. Total mobile subscriber base reached 181 million as of December 31, 2010. The combined company had with pro forma net operating revenues of US$21.5 billion and pro forma EBITDA of US$9.5 billion for 2009. The combined company has operations in 20 countries with a combined population of 850 million.

The company provides services under the "Beeline", "Kyivstar", "djuice", "Wind", "Infostrada", "Mobilink", "Leo", "Banglalink", "Telecel", and "Djezzy" brands.

VimpleCom plans to sell off several newly-acquired business units from Weather, including Orascom Telecom's investments in Egypt and North Korea, as well as Wind Italy's Wind International Services S.p.A. subsidiary.

Jo Lunder, Chairman of VimpelCom, commented: "This landmark transaction is a significant step forward for VimpelCom. It establishes the growth platform that the Supervisory Board has strongly supported, allowing us to become a truly global player with a strong presence across Europe, Asia and Africa. At the same time, the enlarged VimpelCom remains committed to delivering enhanced shareholder value in 2011 and beyond, which is critical to the success of a leading global company."

Naguib Sawiris, Chairman of Wind Telecom, commented: "We share a common global vision with our new partners at VimpelCom. The prospects for our new, enlarged and diversified telecoms platform are exciting and a reflection of our high quality assets across each of the geographies where we operate. Moreover, I am confident that our minority shareholders in Orascom Telecom will benefit from the synergies created from the combination of the two entities and by the overall strengthening of the Orascom Telecom balance sheet."

Alexander Izosimov, Chief Executive Officer of VimpelCom, added: "The closing of this large and complex transaction opens the door for new and exciting growth opportunities, positioning the Company to capitalize on strong growth in emerging markets, industry consolidation, and the rapid development of mobile data. VimpelCom has already commenced integration initiatives and we are focused on realizing synergies, particularly in the area of procurement, and capitalizing on the Company's strengthened leadership, scale and market expertise. Furthermore, we look forward to delivering on our commitment to strengthening our financial position through rapid debt paydown and to driving sustained growth in our business."

The company now has operations in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Algeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Central African Republic, Italy and Canada. The Group's headquarters is in Amsterdam.
  • In November 1996, OJSC VimpelCom was the first Russian company to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

  • In February 2008, OJSC VimpelCom merged with Golden Telecom, a leading facilities-based provider of integrated telecommunications and Internet services in Russia and the CIS.

  • In October 2008, VimpelCom acquired a 49.9% stake in Euroset, the largest mobile retailer in Russia and the CIS.

  • In May 2009, VimpelCom launched commercial operations outside of the CIS in Cambodia and in July 2009 in Vietnam.

  • In April 2010, a new entity, VimpelCom Limited, completed a tender offer to exchange ownership of OJSC VimpelCom and Ukraine’s Kyivstar for shares in VimpelCom Limited, listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “VIP�? previously held by OJSC VimpelCom.

AT&T Sells its 49% Stake in Mexico's Alestra

ALFA has agreed to buy out AT&T's 49% stake in Mexico's Alestra, giving ALFA 100% control of the firm. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close in Q2.

"Mexico is a critical market for AT&T, and we are committed to offering multinational enterprise customers operating in Mexico a wide range of advanced communications solutions," said Mary Livingston, AT&T's vice president for the Canada, Caribbean and Latin America region. "This transaction is consistent with AT&T's global strategy for providing enterprise services directly. We highly value the outstanding work AT&T is doing with ALFA and Alestra, and we're confident that we will keep working together for our customers."
  • Alestra offers a range of business-class services, including converged communications, hosting and cloud capabilities. The company operates a 40 Gbps fiber network spanning 6,700 kms. across Mexico, including 1,750 kms of metro rings.

Cox Hires Clearwire Exec to Serve as CTO

Cox Communicationsnamed Kevin Hart as its new chief technology officer (CTO), effective April 25. In this role, he will be responsible for providing overall leadership, strategic and operational direction to the planning and development of an integrated technological platform. Hart most recently served as Chief Information Officer at Clearwire Corporation. During Hart's 20 year career, he has also served as CIO at Level 3 and held leadership roles at Capgemini Consulting, International Paper and the former Southwestern Bell Communications (SBC).

Hart earned a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tulsa and an MBA in Finance with Honors from Notre Dame.

LG-Ericsson Enters U.S. Voice Market

LG-Ericsson USA, which is a joint venture between LG-Ericsson and Accton Technology, launched its full-featured, business communications systems -- the iPECS-LIK -- in North America.

iPECS-LIK delivers all of the functionality of a traditional PBX with the addition of productivity-enhancing features like Unified Communications for conferencing voice and video data collaboration, remote and roaming user support and scalability. iPECS-LIK scales from a small 10-user office to a 1000-user corporation. Its complement of applications includes soft-phones (both PC and PDA based), PC Attendant for incoming call management, Network Management, Unified Communications, Unified Messaging (with an open interface based on TAPI) and the unique Advanced Interface Messaging (AIM) for computer telephony interface with 3rd party applications.

NBN Co Picks SPATIALinfo's Network Inventory Software

SPATIALinfo has won a 2-year, multi-million dollar contract to supply its physical network inventory software provider for Australia's national broadband initiative. As part of this initial contract, SPATIALinfo is providing its integrated product suite that includes spatialNET, spatialWEB, spatialOFFLINE, ADDRESSmanager, MAPupdater, and spatialWEBSERVICES. SPATIALinfo's products are designed for end-to-end physical network design and management so that network operators can leverage their physical network asset data for improved business operations.

European Union Cyber Security Agency Calls for More Drills

To ensure its cyber security, Europe should continue to hold exercises in Critical Information Infrastructure Protection, according to ENISA, the European Union cyber security agency. This is the conclusion of ENISA's final report on "Cyber Europe 2010," which was conducted on the 4th of November, 2010. Its objective was to trigger communication and collaboration between countries in the event of large-scale cyber-attacks. Over 70 experts from the participating public bodies worked together to counter over 300 simulated hacking attacks aimed at paralysing the Internet and critical online services across Europe. During the exercise, a simulated loss of Internet connectivity between the countries took place, requiring cross-border cooperation to avoid a (simulated) total network crash.

The report underlines the need for more cyber security exercises in the future, increased collaboration between the Member States and the importance of the private sector in ensuring IT security.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Alcatel-Lucent to Build Vanuatu to Fiji Undersea Cable

Alcatel-Lucent has been selected to deploy Vanuatu's first international submarine cable system linking Port Vila, Vanuatu, to Suva, Fiji. The 1,230-km cable will link directly into the high capacity Southern Cross Cable between Sydney and Hawaii. At an initial 20 Gbps in capacity, the new cable will provide approximately 200 times the current satellite-based connection serving this Pacific Island nation. Vanuatu will now join Fiji, PNG, Samoa, American Samoa, New Caledonia and French Polynesia as smaller South Pacific Island countries which have a submarine cable.

The US$30 million contract was awarded by Interchange Limited, a Vanuatu based company.

Verizon Adds More Interactivity to FiOS TV

The next generation of Verizon's all-fiber-optic FiOS TV service will add more than 25 upgrades to the Interactive Media Guide as well as greater personalization and customization, easier navigation, deeper search, bigger storage options and optimization for new 3D technology.

Highlights include:

  • 3D content software, which automatically detects when a customer tunes to a 3D program or channel and instantly changes the necessary settings for watching those programs on a 3D television set.

  • DVR chaptering, giving viewers DVD-like capabilities to jump ahead or resume viewing at a particular moment of recorded programming by using on-screen thumbnails in 10-minute increments, providing more visual navigation.

  • Multi-hub DVR, which turns any DVR or HD set-top box in the home into a "hub," allowing customers to record and manage DVR settings from any room in the home, provided one of the DVRs is a multi-room DVR.

  • eSATA external storage device compatibility, available with most FiOS TV DVRs, allowing for increased overall storage capacity. eSATA hard drives can be purchased at most consumer electronics stores and will automatically record customer selections once plugged into the DVR.

  • New "play all" and "delete all" options, allowing customers to play episodes back-to-back and automatically delete all episodes of a show with the push of a button.

  • New parental control options that make monitoring children's viewing even easier, with the ability to block out portions of programming by rating during key hours of the day, like homework time, and schedule certain times for Parental Controls to be automatically turned on and off for greater flexibility.

  • Guide customization, enabling a variety of settings, with a mini guide on the bottom of the screen, a half guide on the right side of the screen, and a full guide with a look at more hours of scheduled programming.

  • Improved search capabilities, which provide a smarter search function that predicts what the customer is looking for and automatically provides potential matches. FiOS TV customers also can filter and sort by channel, and more easily locate favorite programs.

Telecom Italia Appoints Franco Bernabè Chairman and CEO

Franco Bernabè, who currently serves as CEO of Telecom Italia, has now been elected Chairman of the company's Board of Directors. Telecom Italia also appointed Marco Patuano to serve as chief operating officer and managing director in charge of domestic operations.

VideoSurf Raises $16 Million for Video Discovery

VideoSurf, a start-up based in San Mateo, California, raised $16 million in Series C financing for its video discovery technology.

VideoSurf holds a patent for a technology that analyzes all frames within a video to visually identify prominent objects at a speed not previously possible. This analysis occurs 10 times faster than the speed of video playback and enables VideoSurf to know more about the video content. The company said it now has over 20 million unique users per month searching for video content.

The new funding came from Pitango Venture Capital.

Internet2 Carries a 32 Screen Telepresence Call

Internet2 maxed out it current capacity with a telepresence session linking 32 screens. The call linked Cisco TelePresence single and multiscreen systems, legacy Tandberg high definition systems, Polycom high def and standard def systems, Lifesize systems, and even desktop clients including Cisco Movi and Vidyo Desktop. A blog posting describes the set-up.

ECI Telecom Signs ICT Distributor in China

ECI Telecom announced a partnership with ECS Technology, a leading ICT distributor in China. ECS will now become a the premier distributor of ECI solutions in the country.

FCC Opens Inquiry into AT&T + T-Mobile

The FCC and the Department of Justice have each opened proceedings into the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA by AT&T. The cash-and-stock transaction is currently valued at approximately $39 billion.


Mindspeed Readies 10G-EPON Burst-Mode Receiver Chipset

Mindspeed Technologies is ready to demonstrate a 10 Gigabit Ethernet Passive Optical Network (10G-EPON) burst-mode receiver chipset -- the first such device in the industry, according to the company.

Mindspeed's burst-mode receiver chipset includes its recently announced M02138 10G burst mode dual-rate transimpedance amplifier (TIA) and the company's companion M02142 11.3 Gbps limiting amplifier. Together, the two devices provide a complete, cost-effective solution for 10G-EPON Optical Line Terminals (OLTs), while maintaining backward compatibility with existing GEPON designs.

Comcast Pushes its Fastest Access Yet -- 105 Mbps

Comcast introduced its fastest Xfinity Internet speed tier so far: Extreme 105, which is now available to more than 40 million homes in major markets across the nation including San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Chicago, Miami, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and the majority of Boston, among others. It uses DOCSIS 3.0.

The Extreme 105 Mbps service tier offers up to 105 Mbps downstream and up to 10 Mbps upstream. It is priced at $105 per month for 12 months as part of their Triple Play bundle. In addition, the service comes with a wireless home networking gateway.

EU and US to Strengthen Cyber Security Cooperation

At a summit meeting in Hungary, Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano agreed to deepen cooperation to address the increasing threats to global internet and digital networks.

They agreed to strengthen trans-Atlantic cooperation in cyber-security by defining the issues to be tackled by the EU-US Working Group on Cyber-Security and Cyber-Crime. These efforts include:

  • expanding incident management response capabilities jointly and globally, through a cooperation program culminating in a joint EU-US cyber-incident exercise by the end of 2011

  • a broad commitment to engage the private sector, sharing of good practices on collaboration with industry, and pursuing specific engagement on key issue areas such as fighting botnets, securing industrial control systems (such as water treatment and power generation), and enhancing the resilience and stability of the Internet

  • a program of immediate joint awareness raising activities, sharing messages and models across the Atlantic, as well as a roadmap towards synchronized annual awareness efforts and a conference on child protection online in Silicon Valley by end 2011

  • continuing EU/US cooperation to remove child pornography from the Internet, including through work with domain-name registrars and registries

  • advancing the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, including a program to expand accession by all EU Member States, and collaboration to assist states outside the region in meeting its standards and become parties.

Infonetics: High Speed Port Market Takes Off

The number of 1G, 10G, 40G, and 100G network ports shipped on service provider and enterprise equipment in 2010 jumped 43% over the previous year, to 184 million, and manufacturer revenue grew 26%, to over $33 billion, according to a new 1G/10G/40G/100G Networking Ports Market Size and Forecast Report from Infonetics.

Equipment manufacturer revenue from 1G, 10G, 40G, and 100G networking ports is forecast by Infonetics to grow to almost $52 billion in 2015, as enterprises and service providers continue to build out their network infrastructure to respond to growing levels of traffic. In 2010, high-speed ports (10G, 40G, 100G) represented only 3% of all ports sold by manufacturers, but made up 43% of the revenue.

"There is a lot of excitement these days around 100G and 100GE, and whether or how soon 100G prices will cause 40G sales to decline. The truth is that we are at the start of a very long period where 100G and 100GE will be the major port player from 2015 through 2030, with bare beginnings of just several hundreds of 100GE ports on service provider routers shipped to date, and a few inter-city 100G WDM routes deployed. Already street pricing looks very competitive, and with a lot of 100G technology development in motion--more focused than 40G--we expect 100G pricing to get to 2X 40G pricing in the 2013 timeframe, which should be the turning point for 100G versus 40G in the service provider market," notes Michael Howard, principal analyst for carrier and data center networks and co-founder of Infonetics Research.

Internet2 Signs New Network Agreement with Level 3 -- Push for 100 Gbps

Internet2 has reached a new, multi-year agreement under which Level 3 Communications will build a national network with 8.8 Tbps of capacity. This backbone will support more than 200,000 community anchor institutions nationwide, including K-12 schools, libraries, community colleges, health centers, hospitals and public safety organizations.

Specifically, Internet2 will acquire the right to use fiber strands on Level 3's fiber-optic network as well as Level 3's network management support to a new 100 Gigabit Ethernet Network.

Internet2 will utilize more than 10,000 miles of fiber on the Level 3 national footprint and gain the ability to obtain additional miles for the next three years as needed. Level 3 will install Internet2's 8.8 Tbps optical equipment and provide 24/7 monitoring and field support to these facilities. Colocation facilities and power for the network will also be provided by Level 3.

Internet2 will partner closely with Level 3 on the daily operations of the network while remaining the owner of the optical equipment with the right of use on the fiber infrastructure and will also direct provisioning and capacity planning.

The new Internet2 network is partially funded by a federal stimulus grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).

"Today's announcement with Level 3 represents another major milestone in helping to fulfill the promise of Internet2's BTOP grant by providing the critical underlying infrastructure needed to support community anchor institutions nationwide," said Rob Vietzke, Internet2 executive director of Network Services. "Level 3 has been a committed, reliable provider to Internet2 for many years. They have gained a unique understanding of the needs of the research and education community, providing a customer-directed network support arrangement that allows Internet2 to be highly innovative and highly flexible. When coupled with Level 3's field support resources, this agreement is a natural evolution of our relationship. It also allows our members to leverage existing network investments to realize dramatically enhanced capabilities today, as well as position all of the communities we serve with the ability to significantly grow and take advantage of new opportunities well into the future."