Sunday, August 21, 2011

More Hollywood Studios Offer Facebook Streaming

Miramax is the latest Hollywood studio to offer direct streaming of its films via a Facebook app. The studio is initially offering the choice of 20 movie selections in the U.S.. Rental pricing is set at 30 Facebook credits -- the equivalent of $3.

FCC Chairman Deletes 83 Obsolete Rules

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the elimination of 83 "outdated and obsolete rules" as part of his ongoing regulatory review process. Genachowski has previously eliminated 50 other provisions deemed to be useless or unenforced.

Today's action include the elimination of the "The Fairness Doctrine," which has not been applied for more than 20 years, as well as the deletion of the obsolete "broadcast flag," cable programming service tier rate, and broadcast applications and proceedings rules.

"I'm proud of the work we are doing toward our goal of being model of excellence in government. This includes our recent commitment to act in accordance with the recent Executive Order on Regulation and Independent Agencies, which is consistent with the values and philosophy we apply at the FCC. The elimination of the obsolete Fairness Doctrine regulations will remove an unnecessary distraction. As I have said, striking this from our books ensures there can be no mistake that what has long been a dead letter remains dead. The Fairness Doctrine holds the potential to chill free speech and the free flow of ideas and was properly abandoned over two decades ago. I am pleased we are removing these and other obsolete rules from our books," stated FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

ABRY Partners Completes Acquisition of Masergy Communications

ABRY Partners completed its acquisition of Masergy Communications for an undisclosed sum. Masergy delivers managed, secure virtualized network services to enterprises over its national IP/MPLS network. The deal was first announced in June.

  • Masergy, which is based in Plano, Texas is headed by Royce Holland, who previously was CEO of McLeodUSA, a competitive local exchange carrier that was sold to PAETEC in January 2008. Mr. Holland was also previously Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Allegiance Telecom Inc., from 1997 until its 2004 acquisition by XO Communications Inc. Prior to Allegiance, he served as President and Co-founder of MFS Communications.

Sequans supplies TDD-LTE Silicon to NetComm

Sequans Communications will supply its TDD-LTE silicon to NetComm Limited.

NetComm, which is based in Sydney, Australia, is a developer of HSPA+, LTE, machine-to-machine (M2M) and fibre access devices.

"This licensing agreement supports our long-term TDD-LTE product strategy. Sequans has conducted comprehensive LTE interoperability testing with leading LTE equipment suppliers to ensure our LTE devices maximise the capabilities of commercial TD-LTE networks for outstanding performance results," said David Stewart, NetComm Managing Director.

nLIGHT Raises $17.5 million for its Chip-based Lasers

nLIGHT has raised $17.5 million in fully subscribed Series E financing to support its line of high-power semiconductor lasers. Its products include multi-kilowatt laser systems, high peak-power pulsed fiber lasers, and diode-pumped solid-state laser rangefinders.

This funding round brings the company's total equity funding to approximately $110 million. The company is based in Vancouver, Washington.

Vodafone NZ signs long term capacity deal with Pacific Fibre

Pacific Fibre announced Vodafone New Zealand as a customer on its forthcoming trans-oceanic cable system.

Pacific Fibre has previously announced a capacity deal with iiNet, Australia's second largest DSL broadband provider.

  • In July 2011, Pacific Fibre has awarded a supply contract to TE SubCom for its forthcoming 12,750km trans-Pacific cable.

    Pacific Fibre, which was founded in 2010, will deliver the longest and most technically advanced undersea cable systems linking Australia, New Zealand and USA. The two-cable system will link Australia and New Zealand via a trans-Tasman cable, while connecting New Zealand to the United States via a trans-Pacific cable. The cable landing points will be in Sydney, Australia; Auckland, New Zealand; and Los Angeles, California in the United States.

    The cables will each have two fiber pairs, with an ultimate cable design capacity of 12.8 Tbps.

    Pacific Fibre is headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand.

USDA Announces $103 million in funding for 23 Broadband Projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced more than $103 million in funding for 23 projects to provide broadband services to unserved and underserved rural communities. A total of 18 recipients will receive the awards.

In July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $192 million in loans for broadband projects by rural telecom carriers in eight states. The new awards add to this figure.

Administered by USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service (RUS), this financing is part of the $690 million investment during fiscal year 2011 and is in addition to the $3.5 billion in broadband funding RUS awarded for projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Integra Telecom Deploys Overture's Carrier Ethernet

Integra Telecom has deployed Overture Networks' Ethernet-over-Copper (EoC) technology as part of Integra's expansion of its Ethernet Services product portfolio. The launch of Overture Networks' EoC platforms encompasses more than 120 Central Offices (COs). Integra, which currently provides EoC in 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 Mbps increments, will be raising its symmetrical bandwidth offerings to 100 Mbps, an increase facilitated entirely by this latest deployment of Overture's solutions.

Integra Telecom operates a 5,000-mile high-speed long-haul fiber network and a 3,000-mile metropolitan access network including more than 1,600 fiber-fed buildings. http://www.integratelecom.com33877

6fusion Raises $7 Million for Cloud Management

6fusion, a start-up based in Raleigh, North Carolina, raised $7 million in funding for its cloud management platform.

6fusion features a unique Workload Allocation Cube (WAC) metering algorithm that standardizes the measurement of storage and compute resources. The company said its UC6 Cloud Management Platform federates private data center and third party cloud operators, providing a single console to allow IT organizations of all types to meter, manage and optimize hybrid cloud infrastructures.

The funding was led by Vienna, Virginia based Grotech Ventures. Intersouth Partners, which led the company's first institutional investment in August 2010, also participated in the round.

Cisco Acquires Axioss Software for Service Fulfillment

Cisco will acquire Axioss service fulfillment software from Comptel Corporation of Finland for EUR 21.3 million (US$31 million) in cash.

The software, which was developed by Axiom Systems, helps service providers to more quickly and efficiently launch new video, data, mobility and cloud services to their customers.

As part of the deal, Cisco is also taking on some personnel related to the Axioss assets, mainly based in the UK. Mr Gareth Senior, Comptel CTO and member of the Executive Board, will also be transferring to Cisco.

"Through the acquisition of AXIOSS software and talent we will be investing in a unique set of technology and skills in the UK that will be a valuable addition to Cisco's network management portfolio," said Jordi Ferrer, managing director, UK Service Provider and Media, Cisco. "Cisco will deliver network management technology and services that will help service providers significantly increase the speed and lower the costs of delivering a wide range of voice, video and data services to their customers."

  • Cisco's 2011 acquisitions include newScale for Self-Service Portal Software (March), Inlet for Digital Media Processing (February 2011) and Pari Networks for Security Alert Compliance (January).

Fujitsu Extends its Reach with Ethernet over Anything (EoX)

Fujitsu introduced an Ethernet over Anything (EoX) framework that enables its FLASHWAVE 9500 Packet Optical Networking Platform (Packet ONP) to serve as a gateway for delivering Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF)-compliant services across various transport networks.

Fujitsu's EoX vision, which is initially implemented as an EoX Gateway configuration of the FLASHWAVE 9500, now extends into the company's portfolio of access products.

The new or significantly enhanced Fujitsu EoX access solutions are:

FLASHWAVE CDS Micro Packet ONP – new COE cards enable 1GbE and 10GbE Ethernet over Fiber (EoF) applications for mesh, ring or point-to-point topologies on this trusted Micro Packet ONP platform. This Ethernet-centric, highly-scalable access and aggregation solution supports MEF-compliant EPL, EVPL, Access EPL and Access EVPL services supporting advanced traffic management with guaranteed bandwidth from 1Mbps to 10Gbps ensuring sub-50ms service protection and Y.1731-compliant Ethernet performance monitoring.

FLASHWAVE 9410 Ethernet Access Platform – a new Ethernet Network Interface Device (NID) supporting GbE EoF service demarcation at the customer premises. Supports Y.1731 for Ethernet service fault management and performance measurements to deliver high value SLAs. RFC 2544 support eliminates craft truck rolls for remote service turn-up.

FLASHWAVE 9420 Ethernet Access Platform – a new NID supporting Ethernet over PDH (EoPDH) available in two versions; one supporting Ethernet over up to eight bonded DS-1s (12 Mbps service) and the other supporting Ethernet over DS3. The product is ideal for delivering Ethernet services to off-net or out-of-franchise customer locations via wholesale Type 2 T1 or T3 access circuits. Interoperates with the FLASHWAVE 9500 EOX Mapper for single ended operation eliminating stacked units at hub locations.

The new products announced today join a pair of existing Fujitsu access solutions that also support EoX, including:

FLASHWAVE 7120 Micro Packet ONP – enables MEF-compliant GbE or 10GbE EPL, EVPL, ELAN and E-Tree services using Ethernet over wavelength (Eoλ) via CWDM/DWDM optics.

FLASHWAVE 4100 ES Micro Packet ONP – enables MEF-compliant EPL, EVPL, Access EPL and Access EVPL services using Connection-oriented Ethernet over SONET (EoS) over OC-3, OC-12 and OC-48 SONET networks including aggregation of DS1s and DS3s.

The Fujitsu NETSMART 1500 management solution provides the common management platform for the FLASHWAVE 9500 EoX gateway and EoX access product portfolio, greatly simplifying end-to-end Ethernet service provisioning, service fault management and troubleshooting, and ongoing performance monitoring of the network.

Fujitsu said that by deploying EoX at the customer premises and in the access network, as well as at the metro aggregation and core networks, means Ethernet services can be extended to locations that before may have been out-of-reach, or created quality concerns because of different transport technologies used in different parts of the network.

"Today's announcement is a huge step toward achieving the mass-market Ethernet services that end users are demanding," said Rod Naphan, senior vice president of product planning at Fujitsu Network Communications. "With Fujitsu's EoX solutions now extending to the access network infrastructure, ubiquitous Ethernet services can be deployed across SONET, wavelengths, PDH, copper, or directly over fiber using MEF-compliant service definitions. This enables our customers to deliver a standard set of Ethernet services using whatever transport network that is most cost effective for them which, in turn, gives their end users a consistent Ethernet experience. This flexibility will enable them to bring new, MEF-compliant Ethernet services to market more quickly."

  • Last month, Fujitsu announced that OneCommunity, which is launching a "Transforming Northeast Ohio: From Rust Belt to Tech Powerhouse" project, had selected its FLASHWAVE 9500 Packet Optical Networking Platform (Packet ONP) for integrating Ethernet, ROADM and SONET/SDH. While the FLASHWAVE 9500 supplies the majority of OneCommunity’s transport capabilities, the Fujitsu FLASHWAVE 7120 is a significant complement. The FLASHWAVE 7120 extends the reach and capacity of the OneCommunity optical network. The platform combines multiplexing, amplification, signal conditioning and performance monitoring, delivering managed services and wavelengths at the network edge.

    Backed by a $44.8 million grant from the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), the project will deploy 1,000 miles of fiber across northern Ohio.

  • In May 2011, Fujitsu announced that Verizon had selected its FLASHWAVE 7120 Micro Packet Optical Networking Platform (Packet ONP) as the foundation of a communications infrastructure that provides ultra low latency performance, reliability, and expansion capability. The Fujitsu FLASHWAVE 7120 Micro Packet ONP is a combination access WDM and intelligent edge service delivery platform.

    While performing benchmarking tests, Verizon used the Fujitsu NETSMART 1500 carrier-class management solution to provision and monitor the Fujitsu FLASHWAVE equipment dedicated to the customer. The software helps assure optimum performance and availability while delivering instantaneous alarm reports, performance data tracking and graphing, and bandwidth capacity reports.

    Fujitsu noted that its FLASHWAVE 7120 platform, when working in conjunction with other Fujitsu platforms, such as the Fujitsu FLASHWAVE 9500 Packet ONP, makes core-to-edge deployments possible without the need for back-to-back transponders and separate management systems.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Skype Acquires GroupMe for Mobile Group Messaging

Skype has acquired GroupMe, a provider of mobile group messaging services, for an undisclosed sum.

GroupMe offers a sticky group messaging experience that works across mobile devices and platforms. The company offers free apps for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and WP7. It allows you to start groups with people already in your contact list. With the group, you can then ask questions, share location on a map, or start conference calls.

Skype said the acquisition advances its vision to provide a global multi-modal and multi-platform communications experience that enables users to connect, share locations and photos and make plans with their closest ties. The group messaging will be tied to Qik , which Skype acquired earlier this year.

  • GroupMe, which is based in New York City, was founded a year ago by Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci. The company traces its origin to a project conceived at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon. Investors in GroupMe include Khosla Ventures, First Round Capital, Betaworks, SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, and Founder Collective, as well as other angel investors.

  • In July 2011, Facebook and Skype announced deep integration providing "the easiest one-click way to get connected via video with friends and colleagues." The companies said their partnership will make video calling widely pervasive and easily accessible for billions of people. Group video chat is not initially supported, although Facebook is also announcing a text-based group chat.

  • In May 2011, Microsoft announced plans to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion in cash -- its biggest acquisition to date. The deal is still pending.

  • In January 2011, Skype acquired Qik, a provider of mobile video software and services, for an undisclosed sum. Qik's app enables mobile phone users to share live or recorded video clips. The Qik service is available on over 200 mobile phones across the Android, iPhone, Symbian, Blackberry and Windows Mobile platforms, and comes pre-loaded on a wide variety of mobile handsets through partnerships with leading handset manufacturers and carriers. Qik was founded in 2006 and has 60 employees in Redwood City, California and Moscow, Russia.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Verizon Workers Back on Job, Negotiations Continue

The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers reached an agreement in principle with Verizon ending the nearly two week strike. Workers will be back on the job on Tuesday, August 23.

The agreement does not cover any of the substantive issues, but does set a framework on how bargaining will proceed and how it will be restructured.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Comcast Expands $10 Internet Essential Program to California

Comcast California has expanded its low-cost Internet access program to the Fresno area. Families with children who are eligible to receive a free lunch under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) can receive:

  • Residential Internet service for $9.95 a month + applicable taxes;

  • No price increases, no activation fees, or equipment rental fees;

  • A voucher to purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 + tax; and

  • Access to free digital literacy training in print, online, and in-person.

  • In approving the Comcast-NBCU mega-merger, the FCC and the Department of Justice imposed a number of conditions and commitments which generally will remain in effect for seven years. One of these conditions was a requirement to make available to approximately 2.5 million low income households: (i) high-speed Internet access service for less than $10 per month; (ii) personal computers, netbooks, or other computer equipment at a purchase price below $150; and (iii) an array of digital literacy education opportunities.

Russia's MTS Deploys Cisco CRS-3 with NAT in Siberia

Russia's Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has deployed the Cisco CRS-3 Carrier Routing System to provide its rapidly growing audience of subscribers with high-quality Internet access despite the growing shortage of IPv4 addresses. The equipment was delivered by Sitronics IT, a Cisco Gold Certified Partner in Russia.

Cisco noted that MTS is using its Carrier-Grade Network Address Translation (NAT) solution to connect new users by offering one address to several subscribers. The capability to extend the system to 80 million address translations will enable MTS to centralize Internet access for several regional mobile and fixed networks. In the initial phase, Cisco NAT has been installed in Siberia. In future this technology will be implemented in all other regional subsidiaries across the country.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

LTE in Latin America-- First Sites Likely to be Colombia and Puerto Rico

Ericsson expects the first commercial deployments of LTE in Latin America to occur this year, starting in Puerto Rico and Colombia. The first live LTE trial that Ericsson held in the region was with Entel PCS in Chile in January 2010. Since then, Ericsson has also demonstrated LTE with Telecom Personal in Argentina, in June 2010, and most recently with Orange Dominicana in the Dominican Republic in April 2011.

Brocade Reports Flat Performance -- Cites Headwinds for IT

Brocade reported quarterly revenue of $503 million, representing flat revenue performance year-over-year and resulting in breakeven diluted earnings per share (EPS) on a GAAP basis and $0.09 on a non-GAAP basis. The results are consistent with the anticipated ranges it provided on August 5, 2011.

Revenue for Brocade's Storage business, including product and services was $334.3 million in the third quarter, down 6% year-over-year. The lower revenue for Storage reflects a reduction in the third quarter of approximately one-half week of Fibre Channel inventory held at the OEMs, representing approximately $24 million. In addition, the Company experienced weaker-than-expected Storage end-user demand, which was down approximately 1% from the previous quarter.

Revenue for Brocade's Ethernet business was $168.5 million in the third quarter, an increase of 13% year-over-year. The year-over-year growth in Ethernet was driven primarily by Service Provider and Enterprise customers, with revenues from those customers up 28% from the prior year. The Federal Ethernet business was down 33% year-over-year, but up 32% sequentially, as Federal spending improved in the third quarter.

"Headwinds in the IT market, federal spending, and overall global economy made for a challenging quarter for the company," said Michael Klayko, CEO of Brocade. "While we are doing well in areas such as our Ethernet business including the adoption and deployment of Ethernet fabric solutions, we recognize that there are opportunities to optimize and improve our business. We have already taken, and will continue to take, important steps to generate growth, improve our profitability and make ourselves more efficient. Our goal is to ensure that our resources and priorities are well-aligned with our go-forward strategies for long-term success in the networking industry."

HP to Exit WebOS and PC Businesses, Double Down on Enterprise Services

HP announced a strategic plan to enter into higher value, higher margin growth categories by sharpening its focus on cloud, solutions and software for enterprises and government customers. Key aspects of the plan include:

  • Explore strategic alternatives for the company's Personal Systems Group, including a spin-off or sale of the division. PSG is the leading manufacturer of personal computers in the world and had annual revenues of approximately $41 billion in fiscal year 2010. For its most recent quarter, Personal Systems Group (PSG) revenue declined 3% year over year with a 5.9% operating margin. PSG remains the PC market leader in terms of units, revenue and profit share. For comparison, margins for HP's Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking group are 13% and margins for HP's Software group are 19.4%

  • Discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. The TouchPad entered the market only about a month ago, but sales have not met internal milestones and financial targets. HP is exploring the possible sale webOS software or intellectual property.

  • Acquire Autonomy Corporation plc for £25.50 ($42.11) per share in cash, representing a one day premium of approximately 64 percent and a premium of approximately 58 percent to Autonomy's prior one month average closing price.

  • Autonomy's Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL) platform allows computers to harness the richness of information, forming a conceptual and contextual understanding of any piece of electronic data, including unstructured information, such as text, email, web pages, voice and video.

    "HP is taking bold, transformative steps to position the company as a leader in the evolving information economy. Today's announced plan will allow HP to drive creation of long-term shareholder value through a focus on fewer fronts, thereby improving its ability to execute, invest in innovation and drive a higher-margin business mix," stated Léo Apotheker, HP president and chief executive officer.

Russia's Express AM4 Satellite Lost After Launch

The Russian Satellite Communications Company lost contact with the $265-million Express AM-4 satellite shortly after launch aboard a Proton-M rocket from Kazakhstan.

The Express AM4, based on Astrium's Eurostar E3000 satellite design, is the largest of the Express satellites so far. IT is equipped with a total of 63 active transponders in L-, C-, Ku- and Ka-bands and 10 antennas, both fixed and steerable. Its mission is to deliver digital TV, Internet and telecom services for eastern Russia.

ZTE Establishes Resource Hub in India

ZTE announced the opening of a global experts resource hub in India. The facility will serve as a key technical resource provider for ZTE's operations and subsidiaries in other countries as the company continues to scale up its global growth. To date, 200 ZTE India employees have been deployed to company projects in Africa, Europe, Hungary, Turkey and the UAE. The company aims to have 2000 employees at the center in two years.