Thursday, October 6, 2011

Alvarion Expects $7 Million Charge Due to Open Range Bankruptcy Filing

As a result of the bankruptcy petition filed by Open Range Communication Inc.. Alvarion expects a one-time charge of approximately $7 million. It has not been determined whether this charge will affect the financial statement for the third quarter, which ended September 30, 2011, which will be reported on November 2, 2011, or if the impact will appear in the fourth quarter results. Alvarion was the turnkey network technology provider to ORC.

Eutelsat's W3c Satellite Successfully Launched from China

Eutelsat's new W3C satellite was successfully launched by a Long March 3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China.

Built for Eutelsat by Thales Alenia Space, W3C will replace the EUROBIRD 16, W2M and SESAT 1 satellites at 16degree(s) East. The satellite has 56 transponders, (53 Ku and three Ka). It will deliver broadcasting and telecom/data services via four footprints:

  • A high-power footprint optimised for Direct-to-Home broadcasting in Central Europe will anchor the 16degree(s) East neighbourhood as a point of reference for satellite TV in the region, serving over 11 million households.

  • High-power coverage over Indian Ocean islands will support the expansion of pay-TV and accelerate digital switchover in Mauritius and Reunion Island.

  • A wide footprint serving Europe, North Africa and the Middle East will serve markets for data networks and news gathering.

  • A new footprint for 16degree(s) East, with Ku coverage stretching from Senegal to Madagascar and enabling connectivity with Europe in Ka-band, will respond to high-growth applications that include GSM backhaul and Internet access for enterprises and public agencies.

Telesat Restores Service on Anik F2

Telesat confirmed that service has been restored on its Anik F2 satellite. The company blamed the outage on a software error encountered during a routine maneuver which triggered the satellite to place itself into a safe mode, shutting itself down and pointing itself at the sun to ensure
it remained powered.

Clearwire Stung by Sprint's Network Vision

Shares in Clearwire Corporation (NasdaqGS: CLWR ) fell 32% on Friday to close at $1.39, following Sprint's Network Vision webcast. Sprint revealed that it is pursuing FDD LTE using its own spectrum in the 1900 MHz band (and later its own 800 MHz spectrum) and shifting away from WiMAX and Clearwire's TDD LTE transition strategy. Sprint has network agreements in place with Clearwire through 2012 but not after that. Sprint executives also declined to state whether they would invest more in Clearwire to ensure that it remains a viable on-going network. Negotiations between the companies are expected to continue.

For its part, Clearwire issued the following statement:

“As the largest wholesaler of 4G capacity, with unmatched spectrum, Clearwire is uniquely positioned to offer capacity to Sprint, and other carriers, particularly in urban areas where demand is high and their 4G spectrum will be inadequate. Sprint remains dependent on Clearwire for 4G and nothing about today's announcement changes that. Even with their re-allocation of existing spectrum, it's obvious that their spectrum resources are insufficient to meet the long term demands of mobile data, but this is not unique to Sprint. Data capacity will clearly stress the capabilities of the low capacity 4G deployments of other carriers due to their spectrum constraints.

“We are also working globally with other members of the Global TDD-LTE Initiative (GTI), including China Mobile, to develop a low-cost, highly scalable device ecosystem that will work across various LTE networks and frequencies. As demand for mobile data increases, Clearwire remains the only viable 4G wholesaler with an operating 4G network, substantial spectrum resources, and a global technology road map to serve this growing market."
  • Clearwire ended Q2 2011 with approximately 7.65 million total subscribers, up 365% from 1.64 million subscribers in the second quarter 2010. The subscriber base consists of 1.29 million retail subscribers and 6.36 million wholesale subscribers. During the second quarter 2011, Clearwire added 1.54 million total net new subscribers, comprised of 39,000 retail and 1.50 million wholesale net new subscribers. Clearwire's wholesale subscribers consist primarily of users of 3G/4G smartphone devices. The company reported Q2 revenue of $322.6 million and a net loss from continuing operations attributable to Clearwire was $160.5 million, or $0.65 per basic share.

  • Clearwire is currently seeking funding to continue its expansion and network conversion.

  • In August 2011, Clearwire confirmed its intention to deploy "LTE Advanced-ready" technology in its 4G network while restating its commitment to its existing 4G WiMAX network, which covers approximately 132 million people while serving 7.65 million retail and wholesale customers. The company expects to end 2011 with approximately 10 million 4G customers.

    Clearwire said the initial LTE deployment will target densely populated, urban areas of its existing 4G markets where current 4G usage demands are high.

    Clearwire said its LTE network will be "LTE Advanced-ready," meaning that it will use spectrum configurations capable of 100+ Mbps downlink speeds. The LTE implementation plan, which is subject to additional funding, contemplates deploying Time Division Duplex (TDD) LTE technology. The plan calls for upgrading the all-IP network architecture and base station radios, as well as some core network elements. The LTE overlay will include the use of multicarrier, or multichannel, wideband radios that will be carrier aggregation capable. Carrier aggregation is a key feature of LTE Advanced that will enable Clearwire to further leverage its spectrum depth to create larger "fat pipes" for deploying mobile broadband service.

    Clearwire also stated its decision not to use Sprint's "Network Vision" infrastructure for the LTE overlay because it substantially more expensive that overlaying its own network, but Clearwire said the companies are discussing the possibility of using Sprint's "Network Vision" in new markets. The WiMAX infrastructure will be preserved for a significant period. The believes its key competitive advantage is having "the deepest spectrum" on the only globally coordinated 4G band (2.5 GHz).
    Clearwire holds an average of 160 MHz of spectrum nationwide, more than AT&T and T-Mobile together, in one contiguous band, enabling wider channels for high-bandwidth applications. The company noted that even if LightSquared gets permission to go ahead with a 2x10 MHz LTE wholesale network, the Clearwire network eventually could offer 20x more capacity at each cell site using superior spectrum.

    With the overlay initially focused on the most heavily-used urban areas, Clearwire estimate the CAPEX costs for an LTE overlay are $600 million. A typical market overlay can be completed in 12 months of initiating the build.

  • In August 2011, Clearwire named Erik Prusch as its new President and CEO. John Stanton, the company's Chairman and interim CEO, will become Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors.

  • In August 2010, Clearwire began testing coexistence scenarios for WiMAX and LTE in Phoenix using both Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) of 40 MHz of spectrum paired in 2 x 20 MHz contiguous channels ("LTE 2X"), and Time Division Duplex (TDD) configurations using 20 MHz of spectrum. Initial tests have recently confirmed that the company's LTE 2X trial network achieved peak download speeds on commercially available equipment and devices in excess of 90 Mbps and upload speeds of more than 30 Mbps. Clearwire later updated the test reports noting consistent 120 Mbps downlinks using TDD-LTE.

U.S. Carriers Note Brisk Sales of iPhone 4S

On Friday, AT&T reported record online pre-sales of the new iPhone 4s -- 200,000 online orders in the first 12 hours. On Sunday, Sprint's website stated that the iPhone 4S 16GB was already sold out, two days after the pre-sale began. Apple's own website now states "shipping in 1-2 weeks".

BT Openreach Cuts Prices for Pole and Duct Access

BT's Openreach division significantly cut prices for pole and duct access as well as breaking down many of those products into their component parts. Other carriers are encouraged to use such infrastructure to deliver fibre broadband to rural areas.

Openreach said its new prices are significantly lower – in some cases more than 60 per cent lower - than the draft ones issued in January when there was a limited understanding of the costs and challenges incurred with providing such access. They are up to 38 per cent below the European average for rural areas – according to independent research firm Ovum – and will come into force in November.

OIF Approves Micro Tunable Laser for High Density 100G

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) approved a Micro Integrable Tunable Laser Assembly (uITLA) implementation agreement (IA) which addresses the form factor for 100G applications with a 60% reduction in area and a nearly 30% reduction in height. In addition, the power consumption was reduced by 25%. The uITLA is expected to help prevent market fragmentation in component mechanical form factors for new high-density modules or line card applications.

OIF members also approved two additional documents under the 100G framework umbrella this month.

The following IAs are maintenance updates to 100G technology areas that came about as vendors began building product. OIF working group members found there were clarifications needed to maintain commonality among these components.

The 100G Long Haul DWDM Transmission Module Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) is a follow-on to the successful 300-pin transponder used in 10G and 40G applications. The OIF worked with the CFP MSA to align the two MSAs to incorporate a common management interface that addresses module communication and commands, including interfacing to the laser and adjusting for changes in power. In addition, clarifications were made to several mechanical specifications.

The Integrated Intradyne Coherent Receiver IA provides definition for a highly integrated photonic component enabling reductions in the cost and size of 100G transceivers. This update clarified several operating and mechanical characteristics and resulted in a body length reduction of 80% from 60 mm to 50 mm.

“The OIF is continually refining our technology driven documents to fit the rapidly evolving market,�? said Karl Gass of TriQuint Semiconductor and the OIF's Physical and Link Layer Working Group vice-chair. “The OIF has completed several tunable laser projects that are commercially successful and will continue to update our 100G centric documents to support the needs of vendors and carriers and the emerging market.�?

Sprint Ties its Future to Network Vision

Sprint is moving full speed ahead on Network Vision. Sprint's strategic plan calls for an initial LTE service launch in its wholly-owned 1,900 MHz spectrum by mid-2012, a migration of iDEN subscribers onto the CDMA and LTE network, and a re-farming of the 800 MHz iDEN spectrum for LTE during 2013. Significantly, Sprint is moving away from Clearwire and its 4G WiMAX network, which boasts the deepest nationwide spectrum holdings. Clearwire, however, has announced intentions to adopt TDD-LTE (time division duplex LTE) -- a technology that offers asymmetric use of unpaired spectrum but which is incompatible with FDD-LTE (frequency division duplex LTE). At the same time, Sprint's Network Vision aims to provide the host infrastructure for other operators, notably Lightsquared and its proposed wholesale satellite + LTE service. Network Vision calls for the rebuilding of 22,000 base stations across the country over the next two years.

Here are highlights from Sprint's Network Vision webcast on October 7.

  • Sprint currently has over 52 million mobile subscribers and believes it has turned the corner and is again on the ascendancy in key subscriber metrics.

  • Sprint claims it has sufficient spectrum for the LTE rollout in the near term (1,900 MHz) and the mid-term (800 MHz). In the long term, Sprint will evaluate market opportunities for additional spectrum.

  • Network Vision has a targeted construction completion date of late 2013.

  • Sprint has already made "considerable" progress in Network Vision deployment. This includes 3G/4G lab testing, field testing and first field integration; the completion of detailed deployment plans with it three vendor partners (Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Samsung); the completion of tower agreements; and plans for initial devices.

  • A key operating principle of Network Vision is that multimode equipment allows every tower to support all frequencies. This enables Sprint to be the host for other operators, for instance, LightSquared. For Sprint's 3G customers, Network Vision promises better signal strength, faster data speeds, better in-building performance, expanded coverage. It also reflects Sprint's long-term commitment to its CDMA network. For 4G, Sprint expects Network Vision will deliver LTE speeds exceeding its current WiMAX offering.

  • Spectrum hosting provides flexibility and potentially cheaper access to roaming.

  • The key equipment vendors for Network Vision are Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Samsung. This selection had been previously announced. The contracts are divided regionally: Alcatel-Lucent will deliver equipment for the eastern seaboard, southern California, parts of Nevada and Arizona; Ericsson is the supplier for the southern states including Texas and Florida; and Samsung is the supplier for the mid-west and north western states.

  • Network Vision will deliver considerable energy savings.

  • Ericsson Managed Services will provide deployment support and will operate the network after acceptance.

  • Push-to-talk on CDMA launched earlier this month and Sprint reports iDEN-like performance. The CDMA network provides 3X the coverage. Network Vision will push it further and deliver better in-building penetration.

  • Sprint will offer a PTT DirectConnect app for Android devices.

  • Network Vision add $2.5 billion of incremental CAPEX over previous spending plan.

  • Network Vision investment is now $10 billion over two years. The CAPEX budget shifts $7 billion in planned CDMA costs and $4 billion in planned iDEN costs. Sprint said its CAPEX budget as a percentage of overall revenue is in-line with major competitors.

  • Sprint said it chose FDD LTE because of the widespread acceptance by other operators and the vibrant ecosystem of LTE chipset vendors and device manufacturers.

  • Migration away from iDEN is expected to accelerate. The planned closure of the iDEN network is forecast for mid-2013. As iDen customers are migrated off the iDEN network, the 800 MHz spectrum will be repurposed for LTE.

  • In Q4 2008, Sprint announced plans to retain iDEN network and its Clearwire investment closed.

  • Sprint will continue to deliver WiMAX devices. Many customers will not know whether they are WiMAX or LTE.

  • CDMA/WiMAX devices will continue to be sold through 2012.

  • Sprint's first dual mode CDMA / LTE products will be on the market by mid -20102.

  • Multimode CDMA/WiMAX/LTE will only be launched in mobile hotspots.

  • As for Clearwire, Sprint has a network agreement in place through 2012. After that, who knows? Sprint noted that Clearwire has separately announced its intention to migrate from WiMAX to TDD LTE -- implying that the companies will have incompatible network technologies going forward. Discussions on future opportunities are still proceeding. The current agreement calls for Sprint to pay Clearwire a minimum of $1 billion during 2011 and 2012 for WiMAX wholesale services.

  • Under its recently announced agreement with LightSquared, Sprint has already received $290 million to date. LightSquared is currently awaiting approval from the FCC for permission to proceed with an initial 20 MHZ of its 1.6 GHZ. If LightSquared does not obtain this approval by year-end 2001, there is a right to terminate the deal.

The webcast is archived on the Investor Relations page of the Sprint website.

  • This summer, Sprint and Crown Castle announced a new agreement to enable the delivery of the next-generation networks through Sprint’s Network Vision plan. Sprint announced a separate agreement with Mobilitie, a tower leasing company.

  • In July, Sprint and LightSquared announced a 15-year agreement that includes spectrum hosting and network services, 4G wholesale, and 3G roaming. The deal gives Sprint $9 billion in cash to build out its 4G network and provides LightSquared with a Tier-One partner for bringing its wholesale-only, nationwide LTE + L-Band broadband satellite service to market, should the FCC approve its GPS terrestrial interference mitigation proposals. Specifically, LightSquared will pay Sprint to deploy and operate a nationwide LTE network that hosts L-Band spectrum licensed to or available to LightSquared. As a wholesale-only carrier with separate core network operations, LightSquared can sell its 4G broadband capacity produced through this spectrum hosting relationship to Sprint, other wireless carriers, and retail partners.

  • Sprint is the largest shareholder in Clearwire with a 51% stake.

  • In November 2008, Clearwire and Sprint Nextel combined their next-generation wireless Internet businesses. Sprint contributed all of its 2.5 GHz spectrum and its WiMAX-related assets, including its XOHM business, to Clearwire. The implied equity valuation of Sprint's contribution was approximately $7.4 billion. In addition to spectrum, Sprint contributed to the new Clearwire certain hardware, software and all of its WiMAX-based trademarks and other WiMAX-related intellectual property. In addition, Clearwire received a $3.2 billion cash investment from Comcast, Intel, Time Warner Cable, Google and Bright House Networks. The transaction with Sprint and the new cash investment were completed on the terms originally announced on May 7, 2008.

Wired: Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet

Wired magazine reported that a keylogger virus has infected the control systems for the U.S. fleet of Predator and Reaper drones. The Air Force has not commented on the story.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Canada's Telesat Reports Anomaly

Telesat's Anik F2 satellite suffered a technical anomaly that resulted in loss of satellite services to its customers across Canada and the U.S.

Telesat believes the satellite can be returned to service and is working with customers on restoration.
  • Telesat Canada's Anik F2 satellite was launched by Arianespace in July 2004. It was the biggest commercial satellite launched to date at that time (5,950 kg). It is equipped with 38 Ka-band transponders, 32 Ku-band transponders and 24 C-band transponders and designed for a 15-year life.

Equinix Secures $150 Million Revolving Credit Facility

Equinix secured a $150 million unsecured revolving credit facility. Lenders in the Company's revolver consist of a group of three large U.S. banks, including Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and HSBC Bank USA, N.A.

Open Range Files for Chapter 11 -- Largest RUS-funded Project

Open Range Communication, the largest Rural Utilities Service (RUS) funded carrier in the U.S., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after its government loans were cut off. The company, which is based in Greenwood Village, Colorado, provides High Speed Wireless Internet and Home Phone services to rural communities across the U.S. Along with the filing, the company has laid off the majority of it workers and the CEO has reported resigned.

Open Range Communications operates a WiMAX network.

Open Range Communications is a unique public and private partnership. The company was approved in 2009 for a loan by the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Utilities Program (RDUP) to deliver High Speed Wireless Internet to more than 500 communities across 17 states. This Broadband Access Loan of $267 million loan (the largest in USDA history) was made possible through the positive and combined efforts of the USDA's RUS and FCC. Open Range received additional private equity funding on January 9, 2009 through an investment of $100 million from One Equity Partners (OEP), the private equity arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co. The OEP investment satisfied the RDUP's loan terms, making the funds available to Open Range.
  • In June 2009, Open Range Communications selected Alvarion to provide radio access equipment, customer devices (CPE) and systems integration for its planned rollout spanning 17 states, 546 rural communities, and reaching up to 6 million people. The contract wass valued at more than US$100 million over a five-year implementation. In addition to selecting Alvarion for its WiMAX platform, Open Range will rely on Alvarion for the end-to-end integration of the Open Range network solution.

FCC Chairman Proposes Replacing USF with "Connect America" Fund

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski outlined a "Connect America" plan to reform and modernize the Universal Service Fund (USF) and Intercarrier Compensation (ICC) system with the goal of expanding broadband infrastructure and extending mobile broadband to areas of the country where it is not currently available.

The plan calls for transitioning the $4.5 billion annual USF into the new Connect America Fund, which would have two core goals:

(1) Ensuring universal availability of robust, scalable, affordable broadband to homes, businesses and anchor institutions in unserved areas. The Connect America Fund would begin near-term build-out to hundreds of thousands of consumers in 2012, and would ultimately help get broadband to the 18 million Americans who can't get it

(2) Ensuring universal availability of affordable mobile broadband through a new Mobility Fund, which would be part of the Connect America Fund. Deployment of state-of-the-art mobile broadband would be extended to more than 100,000 road miles where Americans live, work, and travel. In addition to a one-time shot-in-the-arm effort to accelerate deployment of 4G networks in 2012, this Fund would provide significant ongoing support for rural mobile broadband.

Genachowski said the growth of the Connect America Fund would be constrained so as to limit consumer costs over the coming years. Unlike USF, the Connect America Fund would use a competitive bidding process among providers for obtaining universal service support, which would transition over time to a fully competitive system for distributing Connect America Fund dollars.

Regarding Intercarrier Compensation, Genachowski proposed the following 3 reforms:

The proposed ICC reforms include three main elements:

(1) Immediately close loopholes like phantom traffic and traffic pumping, and other arbitrage schemes like CMRS-in-the-middle, where some carriers divert wireline traffic to wireless networks to avoid paying ICC. The plan would also provide greater certainty about compensation for VoIP calls that either begin or end on the public
switched telephone network, ensuring symmetry in the treatment of such traffic.

(2) Phase down ICC charges over a measured but certain multi-year transition path, starting by bringing intrastate access rates to parity with interstate rates.

(3) Help companies transition by employing a tightly controlled recovery mechanism. The plan would permit some companies to receive transitional support from the Connect America Fund, but that support would be accompanied by obligations to serve the public as well as strong oversight and accountability.
  • In July 2011, A coalition of six of the leading carriers in the U.S., submitted a proposal to the FCC for reforming the Universal Service Fund (USF) and the Intercarrier Compensation (ICC) system. Members of the group include AT&T, CenturyLink, FairPoint, Frontier, Verizon and Windstream -- which collectively serve the vast majority of U.S. wireline customers, including those residing in high-cost rural areas, which are the primary focus of USF support.

    The big telcos said the key aim of their proposal is to speed broadband deployment to more than 4 million Americans living in rural areas. They also announced an agreement with three organizations that represent small carriers on a framework for complementary reform. Joining the companies in support of reform are the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association, the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies and Western Telecommunications Alliance.

    Core components of the proposal, called America's Broadband Connectivity Plan, include:

    Focusing the Universal Service Fund on Broadband Deployment

    Consistent with the National Broadband Plan, a new Connect America Fund (CAF) would transition the USF over five years to an exclusive focus on broadband deployment. Key features of the plan:

    • Connect virtually all Americans to broadband access within 5 years.

    • Do so without growing the $4.5 billion high-cost USF..

    • Target support to broadband deployment in areas where there is no business case for companies to provide service..

    • Promote efficiency by targeting support more precisely to identified high-cost areas, and supporting only one provider in each area.

    • "Broadband" is defined as a minimum of 4 mbps downstream and 768 kbps upstream (supporting robust education, health care and other applications).

    Rationalizing an Outdated Intercarrier Compensation System

    The proposal seeks to modernize intercarrier compensation to provide certainty, stability and a healthy foundation for growth to meet the needs of consumers.

    • Transition terminating intercarrier compensation to a low, uniform default rate of $0.0007 per minute over a five- to eight-year timeframe.

    • Eliminate, through new rules and lower access rates, costly arbitragescams that exploit today's outdated rules at the expense of broadband companies and consumers, as well as FCC resources, as the Commission chases after these fast-proliferating schemes.

    "After years of debating and discussing how to update the universal service and intercarrier compensation programs for the broadband era, a workable framework has emerged," said Hank Hultquist, vice president, AT&T Federal Regulatory. "To truly bring broadband services to all Americans, the rules of the road for the black rotary phone desperately needed to be updated for today's competitive, high-speed communications networks. We look forward to continuing to work with policymakers, Congress and others to ensure we accomplish this important goal this year."

    "This plan recommends significant federal regulatory reforms to achieve the goal of connecting more Americans to broadband," said Melissa Newman, vice president, CenturyLink Federal Regulatory Affairs. "The policy changes offered in this proposal also are necessary for bringing long-term stability and predictability to the nation's universal service program. We look forward to working with the FCC as it develops an order that ultimately will provide consumers with the support they need to connect to broadband and its many opportunities."

    "This proposal modernizes the USF and ICC mechanisms as our industry migrates toward a broadband-oriented future," said Mike Rhoda, senior vice president, Windstream Government Affairs. "Importantly, the proposal provides an adequate transition period for carriers to move from the current structure to one that will meet the changing needs of telecommunications consumers and help close the rural-rural divide that has persisted under the existing flawed framework."

Intelsat-18 Successfully Launched

The new Intelsat-18 was successfully launched from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan aboard an Zenit-3SLB.

Intelsat-18, which was built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, carries a hybrid C- and Ku-band payload and is located at an orbital slot at 180 degrees East Longitude. The satellite's C-band payload will serve Eastern Asia, the Pacific and the Western United States and its Ku-band payload serves French Polynesia, Eastern Australia and the United States. It will enable enhanced DTH coverage and network services capabilities via the Ku-band and C-band platforms.

Once operational in November, it will replace Intelsat 701 at 180ºE and is expected to have a useful life of nearly 17 years.

Sprint's Network Vision Webcast -- 9:30am ET

Sprint's 4G network strategy update will be webcast live:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Time: 9:30 a.m. EDT

Call-in Number: 1-888-393-1149 ID required: 6395937

Sprint Continues Unlimited Data Plan with iPhone

Sprint confirmed that it will continue to offer an unlimited data for its new iPhone customers.

Sprint iPhone plans start at $69.99 per month plus the required $10 Premium Data add-on charge. Sprint's Simply Everything Plan (unlimited voice, data and texting) is priced at $99.99 per month plus the required $10 Premium Data add-on charge (all while on the Sprint network). A Mobile Hotspot option will be available for an additional $29.99 per month supporting up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices simultaneously. (Pricing excludes taxes and surcharges.)

Orange Business Launches SSL SaaS based on Junos Pulse

Orange Business Services introduced a secure remote access service called Flexible SSL based on Juniper Networks' Junos Pulse.

The Security-as-a-Service provides business customers secure remote access to corporate IT systems from desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets via different network connections, such as WiFi, 3G and DSL. The Junos Pulse software client ensure authenticated access.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

BT's Openreach Expands its FTTP Ambitions to 300 Mbps

Openreach, the wholesale access division of the BT Group, launched its initial 110 Mbps Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) service and announced plans to boost this capacity to 300 Mbps starting next year. The company's first commercial FTTP connections are launching in Ashford in Middlesex, Bradwell Abbey in Milton Keynes, Highams Park in North London, Chester South, St Austell and York this month. Trials of 1 Gbps connections are also underway.

Openreach also revealed a third boost for broadband speeds by saying it now has approval from the relevant authorities to roughly double the speeds delivered by Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) broadband. This development will see FTTC downstream speeds roughly double from up to 40Mbps to up to 80Mbps.

The network upgrade is part of the company's £2.5 billion initiative to make fibre broadband available to two thirds of UK premises by the end of 2015. Openreach reports that more than five million premises already have access to the network.

“Today is a significant step in the UK's broadband journey. These developments will transform broadband speeds across the country and propel the UK up the broadband league tables,�? stated Openreach chief executive Liv Garfield.

Huawei Launches Enterprise Business group in the U.S.

Huawei has opened a third major division to serve the U.S. market.

The Huawei Enterprise Business group will deliver a broad product portfolio and solutions, including teleconferencing, switches and enterprise-class routers, to channel partner (VARs, Distributors, System Integrators and via Carriers as a channel.) Huawei and its channel partners will also focus on vertical segments. Solutions will include campus networks, branch access, IP backbone, Data Center and Video Conferencing.

Huawei's other two U.S. divisions are focused on Devices and telecom infrastructure.

"Huawei is uniquely positioned to combine our growing device expertise and market presence with our traditional telecommunications infrastructure products and services solutions with emerging leadership in open-application-based cloud computing and mass storage solutions," said Karen Yu, President of Huawei's Enterprise business in the U.S. "Success in our Enterprise business will focus on nurturing an open, interoperable and partner-based ecosystem to ensure long-term and maximum value for our channel partners and their enterprise customers."

Microsoft Signs Big Players for Xbox 360 LIVE Entertainment Service

Microsoft unveiled its Xbox 360 online entertainment service boasting content and support from nearly 40 leading TV partners, including Bravo, Comcast, HBO GO, Verizon FiOS and Syfy in the U.S.; BBC in the U.K., Telefónica in Spain; Rogers On Demand in Canada; Televisa in Mexico; ZDF in Germany; and MediaSet in Italy. Content providers already on the Xbox include AT&T, Netflix and Hulu Plus in the U.S., TELUS in Canada, BSkyB in the U.K., Canal+ in France, Vodafone Portugal, VimpelCom in Russia, and FOXTEL in Australia.

Xbox 360 aims for seamless, living room entertainment integrating gaming, music, live TV and video-on-demand using a common interface and controlled by remotes, voice or Microsoft's exclusive Kinnect technology.

Xbox LIVE currently has 35 million members worldwide who spend 2.1 billion hours a month on the service. Microsof said the service has seen three times the growth in video consumption last year.

"Today's announcement is a major step toward realizing our vision to bring you all the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, made easy,�? said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Combining the world's leading TV and entertainment providers with the power of Kinect for Xbox 360* and the intelligence of Bing voice search will make TV and entertainment more personal, social and effortless."

"Microsoft and Verizon share a common vision to transform the ways people enjoy and interact with the entertainment they want — what Verizon calls the borderless lifestyle,�? said Eric Bruno, vice president of consumer and mass business product management for Verizon. “FiOS TV on the Xbox 360 is an excellent example of how we're working with market leaders to erase old technology borders to expand the FiOS TV experience and taking advantage of unique new features including voice- and gesture-control of live TV entertainment via Kinect. This holiday, Verizon will bring a selection of popular live TV channels to Xbox 360 and will be a leader in delivering live, multichannel streaming HD TV, integrated with Kinect, via Xbox."