Saturday, September 24, 2011

LightSquared CEO Pleads Case in Open Letter to Americans

LightSquared's CEO, Sanjiv Ahuja, published the following letter in major U.S. newspapers.

"To Americans everywhere,

Today, with limited competition in the U.S. wireless market, there are still vast areas of our country without access to broadband. Other areas are plagued by dropped calls and weak signals.

America's wireless infrastructure is at a critical crossroad as weak signals, dead-zones, and over-subscribed networks risk stalling American innovation and failing to meet consumer needs now and in the future. Within the next 24 months, demand for broadband wireless will outstrip the current total spectrum available in the United States—jeopardizing everything from the smartphones and tablets we love to the emergency responder services we rely upon to keep us safe. The current nationwide wireless providers have failed to innovate and in the process have failed to keep pace with consumer and technological demands.

Understanding this impending reality, LightSquared began investing nearly a decade ago in the development of America's first state-of-the-art nationwide wireless broadband network integrated with satellite coverage to provide high quality broadband access and affordability for all Americans. After the review of our engineering and technological plans, LightSquared received the license to operate our network in 2003 and again in 2005 with the full endorsement of the GPS industry. Half a dozen years ago, Republican and Democrat regulators and policy experts understood the impending crisis caused by a lack of competition and innovation, and they, too, endorsed our plan to bring an affordable solution to Americans no matter where they live.

Recently, concerns have been raised about interference with GPS devices. We take these concerns very seriously. Despite the fact that the interference is caused by others' inappropriate use of LightSquared's licensed spectrum, we have been proactive in working toward a solution to the GPS issue. We are making a $150 million private investment in the solution for GPS. We have moved our spectrum farther away from the core GPS frequencies and at the request of the FCC, we set up, funded, and ran the largest and most comprehensive testing program this country has ever seen.

Hundreds of engineers tested hundreds of devices in laboratories around the country, providing experts an enormous bank of data to assess the extent of the problem and design the solution.

With 99.5 percent of all commercial GPS interference accounted for and solved, LightSquared has now tackled solving the remaining .5 percent of GPS interference occurring on precision devices that also inappropriately violate our licensed spectrum. We have partnered with established GPS manufacturers to develop technology that eliminates interference issues for high-precision GPS devices, including those in the agriculture, surveying, construction, and defense industries. Pre-production designs are already in testing; once completed, this technology can be implemented simply, quickly, and inexpensively into GPS devices.

This solution allows our network to coexist harmoniously, side by side, with GPS—generating much-needed competition in the marketplace and ultimately providing more than 260 million Americans with access to wireless broadband.

The facts are clear. The need for additional wireless broadband is imminent. The desire to expand free-market competition and to provide consumers with broader access has been the hallmark of both Republican and Democrat policy makers for more than a decade. Regulators from both Democrat and Republican Administrations have conducted reviews and tests of the LightSquared network—the most extensive in the history of the FCC—and both have reached the same conclusions: they support the LightSquared network.

LightSquared's commitment to infuse $14 billion of private investment—without any government funding—into America's infrastructure will bring 75,000 jobs over the next five years, competition, and innovation to the U.S. wireless industry, with affordable prices and better service for Americans everywhere. I hope you will join with us as we work to build the 21st-century communications network all Americans deserve.

Yours sincerely,

Sanjiv Ahuja

Chairman and CEO, LightSquared"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Texas Instruments Completes Acquisition of National Semiconductor

Texas Instruments completed its previously announced acquisition of National Semiconductor. Both companies are leaders in analog semiconductors.

More than 5,000 National employees will immediately become part of TI. The two companies will begin the work to integrate National as a unit of TI's Analog business, which will have a combined portfolio of nearly 45,000 analog products, strong customer design tools, and a sales force that is 10 times larger than National's previous footprint.

"National is now a strategic part of TI's Analog growth engine. Together, we're focused on accelerating semiconductor innovation to improve performance and power efficiency for our customers' electronic systems," said Rich Templeton, TI's chairman, president and chief executive officer.
  • In April 2011, Texas Instruments agreed to acquire National Semiconductor for $25 per share in cash -- valuing the deal at about $6.5 billion.

ATLANTIC BIRD 7 Satellite to Serve Middle East

Eutelsat Communications' ATLANTIC BIRD 7 satellite was successfully launched into orbit by a Zenit-3SL rocket operated by Sea Launch AG from the ocean-based Odyssey Launch Platform in international waters of the Pacific Ocean.

ATLANTIC BIRD 7, which will be located at 7 degrees West, will deliver Arabic and international channels into almost 30 million satellite homes across North Africa and the Middle East. ATLANTIC BIRD 7 will assume broadcasting of the 370 digital and High-Definition channels currently being delivered from this position by Eutelsat's ATLANTIC BIRD™ 4A satellite. The new satellite offers up to 50 transponders, 11 more than ATLANTIC BIRD 4A.

Following ATLANTIC BIRD 7's entry into service, ATLANTIC BIRD™ 4A will be redeployed to an alternative location where it will remain in full commercial service.

For Sea Launch, the successful mission marks its return to service following its corporate reorganization last year.

XO Appoints Laura W. Thomas Interim CEO

XO Communications announced the appointment of Laura W. Thomas as interim CEO. She currently serves as XO's Chief Financial Officer and will retain these responsibilities as she takes up the leadership role. Before joining XO in 2009, Laura held executive positions in finance with Concert Communications and MCI. She earned her MBA in Finance from George Washington University and also holds a BA from Radford University.

LightSquared to Use Convergys for Billing and Rating

LightSquared will implement Convergys' Rating and Billing Manager to deliver transaction volumes and flexible handling of complex account hierarchies for its upcoming, wholesale LTE service.

The Convergys Rating and Billing Manager, part of a suite of Smart Revenue Solutions, is a charging, rating, and balance management system that supports emerging services, such as those to be offered by LightSquared.

Germany's E-Plus Ex Alcatel-Lucent for Upgrade

Germany's E-Plus has selected Alcatel-Lucent for a significant expansion of broadband coverage throughout the country to increase the availability of high-bandwidth services like video and music downloads on smartphones. Alcatel-Lucent will continue to have overall responsibility for network operations, field maintenance, and build-out of services.

This renewed agreement builds on the long-standing Managed Services relationship between the two companies.

France's SFR Shows LTE in Marseille with NSN

SFR, France's second-largest telecom operator, held a live demonstration for the press in Marseille using Nokia Siemens Networks' Single RAN radio access equipment and Evolved Packet Core (EPC). The companies showcased very high-speed mobile internet access with near instant response times.

Cavium Trims Q3 Outlook

Cavium Networks now expects its Q3 financial results to be below the company's previous outlook. The company now expects revenue for the third quarter of 2011 to be approximately 4% to 6% lower than second quarter 2011 revenue of $71.6 million, based on information currently available. on-GAAP gross margins and non-GAAP operating expenses are expected to be consistent with previous guidance.

“Customer revenues have been weaker than expected this quarter, in the enterprise market as well as recognized software services revenue. Sales into the enterprise market were affected by a much larger than expected impact of a hub transition at one of our major customers as well as lower demand from other enterprise customers as they adjust their supply chain inventory due to the softer demand environment,�? said Syed Ali, president and CEO of Cavium.

FCC Paper Considers Deployable Aerial Communications

The FCC published a staff whitepaper discussing deployable aerial communications architecture (DACA) to provide communications when the terrestrial communications infrastructure is severely damaged or unavailable. The paper looks at the deployment options for aerial broadband and cellular communications systems in the first 12-18 hours following a catastrophic event. Options could include small, unmanned aerial vehicles, weather balloon technologies, high altitude long distance unmanned vehicles, and quick mounted antennas on wheels.

Xelerated's 100 Gbps NPU Aims to Upgrade Carrier Ethernet Market

Xelerated has begun volume production of its HX family of 100G network processors (NPU) for packet-OTN, mobile backhaul/PTN and Carrier Ethernet Switch-Routers. The company said it now racked up 20 system design wins for the HX family of NPUs, the first will go into production later this year. The HX chip delivers wirespeed processing and advanced traffic management with deep packet buffering and can be used for pizza box and line card slot capacities of 20-200 Gbps. These line cards are designed for aggregation and transport, and support a range of interface types including GE, 10GE, 40GE, 100GE and OTU0-OTU4. In mobile backhaul, the HX family implements complete L2 and L3 switch-router applications.

Key features include:

  • Dataflow architecture featuring 448 PISC processor cores and 28 engine access points to connect to on-chip or off-chip table memory and hardware engines

  • Advanced traffic manager with hierarchical per-user, per-service scheduling and shaping and deep off-chip packet buffer fully implemented in DDR3 DRAM

  • Embedded switching with advanced pre-classification for intelligent oversubscription

  • Internet-scale forwarding of IPv4 and IPv6 through high-performance memory interfaces to off-chip TCAM, SRAM and DDR3 DRAM
    Synchronous Ethernet and support for one-step PTP IEEE-1588.

"The high demand for the HX family of NPUs is due to its combination of low power consumption, programmable wirespeed processing and integration of advanced traffic management," said Anders Ericsson, Xelerated VP Sales and Marketing. "We are thrilled about some of our new customer projects now going into production. These platforms have the potential to reshape the Carrier Ethernet market."

IEEE Targets High-Density 100 Gbps Backplanes

The IEEE has approved work on a new amendment to the 802.3 Ethernet standard aimed at specifying 100 Gbps operation over backplanes and short-reach copper cables. The project is essential for the development of systems with higher densities of 100 Gbps ports.

The work undertaken by the IEEE P802.3bj Task Force will define four-lane, 25 Gbps electrical signaling architectures that will support 100 Gbps Ethernet operation across backplanes up to one meter in length and copper cable operations up to at least five meters in length. Furthermore, IEEE P802.3bj will specify maximum compliance and compatibility with other IEEE 802.3 installations.

“From the challenges of ever-increasing front-panel capacities to continuing advances in processors, high-performance computing, and server virtualization technologies, the ability of systems to meet spiraling bandwidth demands remains challenging,�? said John D'Ambrosia, chair, IEEE P802.3bj Task Force and chief Ethernet evangelist, CTO Office, Dell. “By expanding on the solid foundational standards work already completed, IEEE P802.3bj will provide better options for system designers to minimize or eliminate the bandwidth bottlenecks facing end-users.�?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

AT&T Still Confident in T-Mobile Deal

AT&T remains confident that its T-Mobile acquisition will come to a successful resolution, said Randall Stephenson, AT&T's CEO, speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia XX Conference. Despite the DOJ lawsuit, Stephenson said the deal continues to gain support from the high tech community, labor unions, and numerous politicians because of the advantages it offers -- more services from the combined spectrum, $8 billion in additional network investment, and the repatriation of overseas call center jobs. The trial date of February 13 has just been set. If the case goes to trial, it might take 4-6 weeks to reach a conclusion. AT&T is seeking to pursue a separate negotiation track with DOJ and FCC that might bring resolution before the trial. Should the deal collapse, in addition to the break-fee and certain spectrum, T-Mobile would also gain a multi-year 2G/3G roaming agreement, which Stephenson said would not have a material impact on AT&T. Some other notes from his talk:

* AT&T had forecasted low growth for the U.S. economy in 2011 and so no adjustments are needed for its cost structure at this time. The company expects the low-growth or no-growth scenario for the U.S. economy to persist in 2012.

* Stephenson does not expect the availability of the iPhone on the Sprint network will be a factor for AT&T. The smartphone's adoption rate has continued to grow on the AT&T network even after if became available on Verizon.

* The nationwide HSPA+ upgrade was completed on schedule.

* Stephenson is very excited about LTE. The company had just launched its first five LTE markets and is on pace to add 15 more markets by the end of the year, covering a total of 75 million POPs. He sees big possibilities in LTE + Cloud services. The network is delivering 15 Mbps but the biggest advantage for LTE is its low-latency.

* The Chicago LTE network is using 2.1 GHz AWS spectrum.

* The cost curve benefits of the LTE network are going to be significant. There will be a capacity gain for the network and there will be a margin boost.

*The Uverse rollout will hit its target of a 30 million POP footprint this year. Going forward, AT&T is only planning fill-in upgrades to its plant. The deployment of new IP DSLAMs in certain markets will continue.

* As for sharing video content between Uverse and its LTE subscribers, Stephenson said AT&T has long been pursuing a multiscreen strategy. The issue is not really a technological one. The content guys are still trying to figure out the right business model for distributing across platforms.

A recording of the presentation is on the AT&T investor relations web page.

Oracle Acquires GoAhead for Service Availability Management Software

Oracle agreed to acquire GoAhead, a supplier of privately-held Service Availability and management software, for an undisclosed sum.

GoAhead's packaged service availability software is deployed by leading Network Equipment Providers (NEPs), such as Ericsson, Motorola and Alcatel Lucent to ensure the highest level of up-time for carrier services -- seven 9s of reliability. The middleware leverages the OpenSAF open source high availability software project. It also enables rapid provisioning, configuration and monitoring. GoAhead is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington.

Oracle said the acquisition enables it to deliver a more comprehensive stack of carrier grade software and hardware from a single vendor for network equipment providers.

“NEPs are moving to a standardized software and hardware platform that can deliver and manage highly available services,�? said Nigel Ball, Vice President, Oracle Communications Industry Solutions. “GoAhead software is the leading commercially-available solution that is compliant with Service Availability Forum specifications, the most widely adopted standard for service availability software. The addition of GoAhead technology will help us deliver a comprehensive, standards-based, carrier-grade platform that supports the delivery of new services in the call path of the network.�?

“With over 100,000 deployments of GoAhead software by leading NEPs, GoAhead brings significant domain knowledge and engineering strength, coupled with a strong track record of delivering solutions to global network equipment providers,�? said Asif Naseem, President and COO, GoAhead Software.
  • In March 2010, GoAhead announced its move to OpenSAF-based solutions and the simultaneous acquisition of the Avantellis product line from Emerson Network Power.

Facebook's Open Graph Protocol Aims for New Ways to Connect

Facebook is working to "define a new language for how people connect", said Mark Zuckerberg, speaking at the company's fourth annual F8 developer's conference in San Francisco. Facebook now has over 800 million users. On a single day last week, over 500 million users signed into Facebook.

Facebook is adding the following new capabilities:

Timeline -- a visual chronology of major event's in a person's life. This is meant to be long term archive that might be shared with family and friends.

Ticker -- a feed of less important updates that can now be shared and stored in a more socially acceptable way that the existing News Feed

New OpenGraph protocol -- enables other applications, such as Spotify, to track what you are doing and share this information on line. This provides an easier way for applications to post updates on your music listening, TV viewing, reading, eating, traveling etc.

News integration -- publishers, such as The Daily, Washington Post, Economist etc., will now present their content inside of Facebook and be able to share which articles you read as well as any comments you make.

Video discovery -- as part of OpenGraph, content aggregators such as Netflix and Hulu will share your current viewing and viewing history to enable your friends to discover new content.

France Awards LTE Licenses to Four Operators

ARCEP, the office telecoms regulator in France, awarded licences to four operators to use the 2.6 GHz frequency band. The result of the auction is as follows:

Bouygues Telecom will be allocated a duplex frequency block of 15 MHz, for which the company bid the sum of €228,011,012.

Free Mobile will be allocated a duplex frequency block of 20 MHz, for which the company bid the sum of €271,000,000.

Orange France will be allocated a duplex frequency block of 20 MHz, for which the company bid the sum of €287,118,501.

Société Française du Radiotéléphone (SFR) will be allocated a duplex frequency block of 15 MHz, for which the company bid the sum of €150,000,000.

The licenses specify a maximum data rate of at least 60 Mbps. Each of the winning bidders also a commitment to host MVNOs on its network.

In total, the bids amounted to €936 million – significantly exceeding the reserve price of €700 million. ARCEP said the allocation procedure for the 2.6 GHz band marks the first stage in the award of 4G licences. The second stage will consist of the allocation procedure for the 800 MHz band, resulting from the digital dividend, for which the deadline for applications is 15th December 2011.

Alcatel-Lucent Pushes Broadband Faster with VDSL2 Vectoring

Alcatel-Lucent is pushing broadband over copper further and faster with VDSL2 Vectoring technology. The company is first to market with a VDSL2 vectoring solution capable of delivering 100 Mbps over existing copper loop lengths of 400 meters.

Alcatel-Lucent is equally committed to FTTx and VDSL2, said Stefaan Vanhastel, Fixed Access Product Marketing manager at the company. While fiber access is seen as the end game for wireline access, the company sees copper as a big opportunity to meet national broadband goals quickly and at a lower cost than fiber, especially in markets with high labor costs. There are approximately 1.25 billion households worldwide currently connected by a copper telephone line.

VDSL2 vectoring uses digital signal processing to remove crosstalk between copper pairs in a bundle, similar to noise cancellation in headphones. From line cards at the central office or DSLAM, the system measures the crosstalk from all the lines in the bundle and then generates an anti-phase signal to cancel out the noise. For this solution, Alcatel-Lucent developed its own chipset and software. It began field trials in 2010 with a number of operators, including Belgacom, A1 Telekom Austria, Swisscom, Orange, P&T Luxemburg and Türk Telekom.

Alcatel-Lucent's VDSL2 Vectoring solution includes both Board-level Vectoring (ideal for small nodes) and System-Level Vectoring options for the company's existing ISAM DSLAM platforms, including the 7356 ISAM, the 7330 ISAM and the 7302 ISAM. The new products include a 48-port Board Level Vectoring card, a 48-port System Level Vectoring card, and a Vector Processing card supporting 192 ports initially and expanding to 384-ports of system level vectoring by next year.

Alcatel-Lucent is also working with carriers to improve broadband speeds over copper by pursuing VDSL2/FTTx architectures where the goal is to push fiber as deep as possible into the network and shorten the copper loops, as well as by applying VDSL2 bonding where two copper pair are aggregated into one connection. Work continues on Phantom Mode techniques. The company noted that it has supplied more than half of the VDSL2 lines in the field today, worldwide. http://

  • In April 2010, Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs unveiled a "DSL Phantom Mode" technique that achieves downstream transmission speeds of 300 Mbps over distances up to 400 meters and up to 100 Mbps at 1km. This new DSL performance boost is expected to reinvigorate copper access network, including in-building VDSL2 network, for 100+ Mbps services.

    The gains are achieved using a virtual or "phantom" channel that supplements the two physical wires that are the standard configuration for copper transmission lines. This analogue phantom mode technique is further enhanced using vectoring to eliminate interference or "crosstalk" between copper wires, and the bonding of two copper pairs into an aggregated pipe. The company has demonstrated these techniques in lab tests.

    The "phantom mode" technique of creating virtual channels has actually been understood for decades. Alcatel-Lucent said this breakthrough was enable by combining phantom mode with the power of fast processor to eliminate crosstalk between copper pairs in a binder. Practical implementation will require CPE capable of bonding the 3 channels over two copper pairs. Vectorized VDSL2 silicon will also be required.

Zarlink Finally Accepts Acquisition Bid from Microsemi

After having previously declined multiple unsolicited acquisition bids from Microsemi, the Board of Directors at Zarlink Semiconductor agreed to a new offer. Microsemi will increase the price offered for all of the issued and outstanding common shares and 6% unsecured, subordinated convertible debentures maturing September 30, 2012 of Zarlink by 19% to CAD$3.98 in cash per Share and CAD$1,624.49 in cash per CAD$1,000 principal amount of Debentures plus accrued and unpaid interest to the date Debentures are taken up.

The total transaction value is approximately US$525 million, net of Zarlink's cash which is currently US$107M, representing a 67% premium over the closing price of the shares on the TSX and a 48% premium over the closing price of the Debentures on the TSX on July 19, 2011, the day prior to the initial public announcement of Microsemi's proposal to acquire Zarlink.

Zarlink supplies, mixed-signal chip technologies for a broad range of communication and medical applications. Its core capabilities include timing solutions that manage time-sensitive communication applications over wireless and wired networks, line circuits supporting high-quality voice services over cable and broadband connections, and ultra low-power radios enabling new wireless medical devices and therapies.

Microsemi offers a portfolio of semiconductor solutions for aerospace, defense and security; enterprise and communications; and industrial and alternative energy markets. Products include high-performance, high-reliability analog and RF devices, mixed-signal and RF integrated circuits, customizable SoCs, FPGAs, and complete subsystems. Microsemi is headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California.

"We are excited to add Zarlink to the Microsemi family and to enter into this transaction on a friendly basis," said James J. Peterson, Microsemi's president and chief executive officer. "Entering the process and performing diligence enabled us to confirm the compelling strategic fit between the two companies. Furthermore, Zarlink's fundamentals, technology capabilities, product roadmap and revenue growth opportunities exceeded our expectations. By bringing Microsemi's scale and discipline to this tremendous property, we expect to deliver outstanding results for our shareholders."

Adam Chowaniec, Chairman of Zarlink's Board of Directors, stated, "After careful consideration of strategic alternatives, protracted negotiations and the receipt of two fairness opinions from our financial advisors, the Zarlink Board of Directors unanimously recommends that Shareholders and Debentureholders tender their Shares and Debentures to the Amended Offers from Microsemi."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Valley Telephone Picks ADTRAN for FTTP

Valley Telephone Cooperative, which serves south Texas and is the recipient of the single largest Broadband Stimulus award in the state, has selected ADTRAN's broadband portfolio for its Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) rollout. This project will allow VTCI to extend high-bandwidth triple-play and Ethernet services throughout its coverage area, doubling its addressable market for Active Ethernet-based services to over 9,000 new subscribers in the region.

Mellanox Expects $104.1 million in New Share Offering

Mellanox Technologies expects to raise approximately $104.1 million in a public offering of 3,450,000 newly issued ordinary shares. The underwriters exercised their option to purchase an additional 450,000 over the 3 million shares previously expected in the offering. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and Barclays Capital Inc. are acting as the book-running managers for the offering. Stifel Nicolaus Weisel is acting as co-manager for the offering.

Taiwan Approves Cross Straight Telecom Cable

Taiwan's National Communications Commission (NCC) has given the go-ahead for an undersea cable system directing connecting with mainland China. The project will link Taiwan's Kinmen island with the city of Xiamen, in China's Fujian Province. It is funded by three Taiwanese operators (Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Telecom and Far EasTone Telecommunications) and three mainland operators (China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom).