Monday, February 5, 2018

Broadcom sweetens its bid for Qualcomm

Broadcom boosted its unsolicited bid to acquire Qualcomm to $121 billion, or $82 per share, consisting of $60.00 in cash and the remainder in Broadcom shares.

Broadcom described the bid as its "best and final offer", saying that it is prepared to pay to Qualcomm "a significant "reverse termination fee" in an amount appropriate for a transaction of this size in the unlikely event we are unable to obtain required regulatory approvals."

Several conditions were placed on the new offer, including that Qualcomm completes its own acquisition of NXP on current terms or that this merger be sracapped. A second condition is that Qualcomm not delay or adjourn its annual meeting past March 6, 2018.

Ampere emerges from stealth with 64-bit ARM server designs

Ampere, a start-up based in Santa Clara, California, emerged from stealth and revealed its plans for 64-bit ARM-based server processors aimed at hyperscale cloud applications and next-generation data centers.

Ampere Computing is headed by Renee James, the former president of Intel until 2016. Its team also includes three other Intel veterans: Atiq Bajwa, Chief Architect, and foremerly VP and GM of product architecture at Intel; Rohit Avinash Vidwans, Executive Vice President of Engineering, with 25 years experience at Intel including work on Xeon microprocessors for data center and enterprise servers; and Greg Favor, Senior Fellow, and 25 years experience at Intel including over 60 patents. Ampere is backed by The Carlyle Group.

Ampere said its processors will offer a high performance, custom core Armv8-A 64-bit server operating at up to 3.3 GHz, 1TB of memory at a power envelope of 125 watts. It will also offer mixed signal I/O features including PCIE Gen 3, SATA Gen 3, USB and workload accelerators, as well as the high-performance on-chip fabric. The processors are sampling now and will be in production in the second half of the year.

In October, The Carlyle Group acquired the compute business of AppliedMicro from MACOM, which earlier in 2017 acquired Applied Micro Circuits Corporation (AppliedMicro") in a deal was valued at approximately $770 million on the day it was announced.

In March 2017, AppliedMicro announced the sampling of its third generation 16-nanometer FinFET Server-on-a-Chip (SoC) solution, X-Gene 3.  The device is an ARMv8-A compatible processor that matches comparable x86 processors in CPU throughput, per-thread performance, and power efficiency while offering advantages in memory bandwidth and total cost of ownership. It features 32 ARMv8-A 64-bit cores operating at speeds up to 3.0 GHz, eight DDR4-2667 memory channels with ECC and RAS supporting up to 16 DIMMs and addressing up to 1TB of memory and 42 PCIe Gen 3 lanes with eight controllers.

“We have an opportunity with cloud computing to take a fresh approach with products that are built to address the new software ecosystem,” said James. “The workloads moving to the cloud require more memory, and at the same time, customers have stringent requirements for power, size and costs. The software that runs the cloud enables Ampere to design with a different point of view. The Ampere team’s approach and architecture meets the expectation on performance and power and gives customers the freedom to accelerate the delivery of the most memory-intensive applications and workloads such as AI, big data, storage and database in their next-generation data centers.”

Singtel seeks to increase stake in Bharti Airtel

Singtel will subscribe to new shares in Bharti Telecom under a proposed preferential allotment.

Specifically, Singtel International Investments will be allotted up to 85,450,000 new equity shares in Bharti Telecom at an issue price of INR310 per equity share. This will increase Singtel’s stake in Bharti Telecom by up to 1.7% for an aggregate consideration of approximately INR26.5 billion or S$555.6 million. Through this allotment, Singtel’s economic interest in Airtel will increase by 0.9 percentage point to 39.5%.

Airtel is India’s largest telecommunications company with operations in 16 countries across South Asia and Africa and a customer base of over 390 million. It has been an associate of the Group since Singtel acquired a stake in 2000.

Mr Arthur Lang, CEO International, said, “This is a good opportunity for us to deepen our strategic partnership with Airtel. While there are currently headwinds in India, we take a long-term view of our investment in Airtel which continues to be a strong market leader in a region with rapidly increasing smartphone penetration and mobile data adoption.”

Corning opens a new cable manufacturing plant in North Carolina

Corning has opened a new cable manufacturing facility in Newton, North Carolina. The factory will employ more than 200 people and is part of Corning’s previously announced plan to invest more than $250 million in its optical fiber, cable, and solutions manufacturing facilities.

In North Carolina, in addition to this new plant in Newton, Corning is also expanding its fiber manufacturing facility near Concord and its cable facilities in Winston-Salem and Hickory.

“Network operators around the world are challenged to meet exploding demand for high-speed connectivity and data storage,” said Clark S. Kinlin, executive vice president, Corning Optical Communications. “We are adding this cable capacity to help ensure reliable supply of the world’s highest performing optical cable in a growing market. This world-class facility was commissioned in record time, a feat that would not have been possible without our long-serving Catawba County employees, or the support of state and local leaders here in North Carolina.”

Telstra opens 5G Innovation Centre

Telstra opened a 5G Innovation Centre at its Southport Exchange on the Gold Coast..

The 5G Innovation Centre is hosting several 5G demonstrations:

  • Australia’s first 5G field trial using a moving vehicle demonstrating how the high bandwidth and low latency of 5G can deliver an immersive view from the driver’s perspective via virtual reality headsets and support autonomous driving.
  • A speed test of around 3 Gbps down and 300 Mbps up over mmWave spectrum demonstrating the speed and capacity that will be achieved over 5G and how that will support advanced multimedia applications such as augmented and virtual reality.
  • How drones enabled with artificial intelligence can support surf lifesaving and be operated on a mass scale by 5G beam forming technology targeting each drone.
  • A robotic arm demonstrating how the ultra-low latency of 5G can support a range of industrial applications requiring precise control.

“Telstra has already conducted Australia’s first 5G field trial and the world’s first 5G outdoor data call over 26GHz ‘mmWave’ radiofrequency spectrum.  From our new 5G Innovation Centre we will be completing a number of 5G firsts in 2018 to ensure Australia remains at the forefront of mobile technology,” said Robyn Denholm, Chief Operations Officer, Telstra.

Oclaro posts quarterly sales of $139 million

Oclaro reported revenues of $139.3 million for its second quarter of fiscal 2018, compared with revenues of $155.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2018, and revenues of $153.9 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2017. GAAP gross margin was 37.2% for the second quarter of fiscal 2018, down from 39.5% in the second quarter of fiscal 2017. Non-GAAP operating income was $24.5 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2018. This compares with non-GAAP operating income of $34.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2018, and non-GAAP operating income of $36.2 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2017.

"The December quarter results were in line with our expectations. While revenue declined from the prior quarter, the team again delivered strong gross margin, profitability and cash flow," said Greg Dougherty, Chief Executive Officer, Oclaro. "While we project March quarter revenue to be down sequentially, we anticipate another quarter of solid operating income. As the headwinds facing the industry begin to subside, and we ramp new products, our revenue is expected to resume growth in the June quarter."

Transpacific subsea capacity on the rise

We’ve entered a period in which subsea capacity along the major transoceanic routes is expanding by leaps and bounds, and the Pacific is no exception.

For years, the four fibre pair Pacific Crossing (PC-1) has ruled the roost for bandwidth between the west coast of the United States and Asia. Pacific Crossing's 21,000 km fiber optic ring first entered service in 2001 as a protected system with a capacity of 3.2 Tbps based on its ability to carry 10 Gbps wavelengths. A mid-life upgrade enabled the ability to carry 100G wavelengths, effectively tripling capacity to 10 Tbps.

In 2009, NTT acquired the cable system from Pacific Crossing Ltd, Inc., a former subsidiary of Global Crossing and of the former Asia Global Crossing. During the great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, the PC-1 North and PC-1 West segments were severed underwater, but were subsequently restored a few weeks later by the cable repair ship, CS Lodbrog. Service on the southern portion of PC-1 was unaffected by the disaster.

The 17-year-old PC-1 subsea cable network is now showing its age.  The new generation of cables offer much greater capacity and, some, even the ability to carry future 400G wavelengths. We are also seeing

The FASTER transpacific cable

The FASTER transpacific cable entered commercial service in June 2016 – a milestone event described at the time as “the world's highest capacity undersea cable system.”  Google touted the fact that it controls a single fibre pair on the 9,000km trans-Pacific cable connecting Oregon and two landing sites in Japan (Chiba and Mie prefectures).  Over this single fibre pair, Google is able to carry up to 100 wavelengths at 100 Gbps – the equivalent of 10 Tbps of traffic when fully loaded.  The design features extremely low-loss fiber, without a dispersion compensation section, and the latest digital signal processing technology. NEC was the lead contractor.  Significantly, it was the first major transpacific cable system to land in Japan after the Tohoku mega-earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

JUPITER will rule (at least for a while)

In October 2017, plans were unveiled for JUPITER, a new large-capacity, low-latency subsea cable between Japan and the United States with the backing of SoftBank, Facebook, Amazon, PLDT and PCCW Global.

The JUPITER cable system. which will have a total length of 14,000 km, will have two landing points in Japan — the Shima Landing Station in Mie Prefecture and the Maruyama Landing Station in Chiba Prefecture — as well as a U.S. landing station in Los Angeles, California, as well as a landing station at Daet in the Philippines.

 JUPITER will feature a state-of-the-art submersible ROADM employing WSS (wavelength selective switch) for a gridless and flexible bandwidth configuration. The cable system will also be designed to support 400 Gbps wavelengths. The initial design capacity is 60 Tbps.

NTT Com said its Asia Submarine-cable Express (ASE), Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) and Pacific Crossing-1 (PC-1) cables will connect with JUPITER to provide a redundant three-route structure linking major cities in Asia, Japan and the United States. NTT Com is also planning direct connections from the cable landing stations in Japan to data centers in Tokyo and Osaka.

JUPITER is expected to come online in early 2020

Telstra expands its transpacific subsea cable investments

Telstra has just announced plans to invest in two transpacific cable projects, expanding its transoceanic network by the equivalent of 6 terabits per second of new capacity. Most of Telstra’s transpacific traffic is currently carried on the AAG cable, which connects South East Asia to the US west coast via Hong Kong, Guam and Hawaii. The 20,000 Km AAG system went in service in late 2009. The system features 96*10G DWDM technology. In addition to Telstra, there are 18 other carriers participating in the consortium.

The first new Telstra undersea investment is a newly announced, 13,000-km Hong Kong Americas (HKA) cable project, which is also backed by China Telecom, China Unicom, Facebook, and Tata Communications. The HKA system will feature six fiber pairs and will connect from Chung Hom Kok in Hong Kong to Hermosa Beach in California. The designers are considering additional branching segments. It’s design capacity is stated at 80 Tbps. Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), which is the lead contractor for the project, will supply its submarine WSS ROADM units and the latest generation of repeaters.  In addition, the HKA cable will be compatible with future generations of submarine line terminal equipped with Probabilistic Shaping technology. Telstra will own a half-fibre pair on the HKA cable system.

The second Telstra project is the 12,800-km Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), which will also connect Hong Kong and the U.S. and offer an estimated cable capacity of 120 Tbps.  The cable is expected to enter service in the summer of 2018. This project is organized by Pacific Light Data Communication Co. Ltd., a new company based in Hong Kong, and has the backing of Google and Facebook. TE SubCom has been appointed lead contractor.

Carrier-neutral Hawaiki will be ready for service in June

The deployment of Hawaiki, a new carrier-neutral submarine cable linking Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Oregon, is progressing quickly as the new fibre is laid across the vast South Pacific.  This 15,000 km undersea system promises up to 43 Tbps of new capacity on the market. The project is owned by Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP, headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand. The key people behind the project were New Zealand-based entrepreneurs Sir Eion Edgar, Malcolm Dick and Remi Galasso.

TE SubCom serves as the lead contractor

More than half of the 15,000 route is now in the water and landing stations in Oregon, Hawaii and Sydney  have been built. Another cable landing station in American Samoa will be ready in March. TE SubCom’s cable-laying vessel CS Responder is now berthed in Auckland, poised to begin marine activities for the New Zealand leg of the transoceanic cable system later this month. The operation will include the landing of the Hawaiki cable in Mangawhai Heads. With FCC licensing now complete, this week the company is predicting that the whole system can be declared commercially ready-for-service in June.

“The start of 2018 finds Hawaiki closer and closer to ready for service”, stated Remi Galasso, CEO of Hawaiki. “Landing the cable in its home country represents a major event for our team and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our New Zealand partners for their continuous support. Hawaiki will bring huge benefits to New Zealand in terms of greater connectivity to Australia and the US, security of supply, diversity and increased business opportunities for the Telecom and IT industries.”

ATX appoints Charlie Vogt as CEO

ATX Networks, which supplies network infrastructure systems and commercial video solutions, has appointed Charlie Vogt as President and CEO, replacing Ken Wildgoose, who led the company as its President and then CEO for the last 18 years.  Mr. Wildgoose will remain with ATX as an advisor and continue to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors.

Vogt most recently was President and CEO of Imagine Communications, where he transformed the company from Harris Broadcast to Imagine Communications and GatesAir. Previously, Vogt was CEO of GENBAND. He has also held leadership roles at Taqua and Santera Systems (Tekelec), Accelerated Networks (Calix Networks), Lucent (Alcatel), Ascend Communications (Lucent), ADTRAN, Motorola and IBM.

“It has been an honor to lead ATX Networks and to be a part of the Company’s incredible team of dedicated employees,” said Mr. Wildgoose. “Charlie is a visionary and strategic thinker with a decades-long track record of hyper growth in the service provider and media communications industries. His passion and expertise in conjunction with the Company’s talented team and exciting new initiatives in the cable HFC access network and commercial video gateway markets positions ATX for an exciting and promising next chapter.”

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Openreach commits to "Fibre First" for the UK

Openreach announced plans to accelerate its rollout of Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) across the UK.

The new "Fibre First Programme" represents a strategic shift in the way that Openreach thinks about last mile infrastructure. Going forward, the company will seek to deploy "fibre first" wherever possible, including in rural areas.

Openreach said its new goal is to reach three million homes and businesses by the end of 2020. The programme will start in a few months in an initial eight cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London, and Manchester.

Reaching an all-fibre network across the UK is a massive and Openreach said the full rollout may take decades.

"I believe Openreach can be at the heart of this digital revolution and has a critical role to play in ensuring the UK has a FTTP network, fit for the future. The prize for our wholesale customers, their customers and the UK as a whole is huge," stated Clive Selley, Openreach CEO.

SD-WAN Video Spotlight - Tata Communications



Enterprise customers desire flexibility, agility, self-service, and clean economics in their network infrastructure. Tata Communications has invested in an SD-WAN that meets these expectations, says
Bob Laskey, Senior VP and Regional Head of Americas, Tata Communications.

See video: https://youtu.be/6fcYxaFDbww


Eir withdraws from Ireland's National Broadband Plan tender

Eir, the former incumbent telecoms operator in Ireland, has withdrawn its bid from Ireland's National Broadband Plan (NBP) tender process.

The company, which was shortlisted due to its extensive network infrastructure and business experience, cited significant commercial issues and complexity with the tender process. Eir concluded that the uncertainty on a range of regulatory and pricing issues presented too many risks to continue with a bid.

In a press release, Eir said it remains committed to supporting the NBP through commercial access to its network.

Eir also noted that it has invested €1.6bn to improve the telecommunications infrastructure in Ireland and that it now delivers high-speed broadband to 1.7 million premises across the country. Eir also remains fully committed to completing the rollout of high-speed broadband in rural Ireland through the commitment contract it signed with the Government in April 2017 to deliver speeds of up to 1,000Mb/s to 300,000 rural homes and businesses. Upon completion, 80% of premises in Ireland will have access to high-speed broadband.

France's Iliad to acquire Ireland's Eir for €3.5 billion

Iliad, the fully-integrated operator in France with nearly 20 million subscribers, has agreed to acquire eir, the Irish telecommunications and broadband carrier, for approximately €3.5 billion.

eir, which was formerly the state-owned telecom monopoly in Ireland until 1999 (Telecom Eireann), is currently owned by an investor group including Anchorage Capital Group, L.L.C, Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP, GIC, and management.

The offer from Iliad is backed by NJJ Group, the private investment firm of telecoms investor and operator Xavier Niel, who is a prominent French businessman.  Niel is the founder of and owns 52% of Iliad where he serves as Deputy Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer. Under the deal, NJJ will own 32.9% of eir. Iliad SA will own 31.6% of eir. Shareholders Anchorage Capital Group and Davidson Kempner will retain a combined 35.5% share in the company, respectively 26.6% and 8.9%.

eir had revenue of €1.3 billion and earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation of €520 million in the financial year to June 30, 2017. eir has about 32% share of the retail fixed broadband market in Ireland. Its share of the retail mobile market is about 18%.

Some additional notes about eir's operations in Ireland as of 30-September-2017:

  • 1,061,000 total mobile customers
  • 48.5% of customers are on postpay contracts
  • eir has approximately 96% LTE coverage
  • Strong momentum in FTTH connections - 12,000 connections, 72% of customers new to eir
  • 1,700,000 premises passed with fibre, including 80,000 of the 300,000 rural premises 
  • 551,000 fiber broadband connections, 61% of total broadband base
  • 896,000 total broadband connections, up 42,000 or 5% year on year 
  • 25% of customers now on triple or quad play bundles
  • eir Vision TV service has a customer base of 71,000 customers, up 17,000 year on year
Iliad, which operates under the "Free" brand, had nearly 13.4 million mobile and 6.5 million broadband subscribers as of 30-September-2017. Its market capitalisation is approximately €12 billion.

ZTE boosts VDSL2 with 35b bonding

ZTE has added 35b bonding profile support to its VDSL2 CPE device. Profile 35b technology can provide downstream rates three times those of profile 17a by expanding the spectrum to 35 MHz.

ZTE said the 35b bonding profile enables the CPE to deliver 500 Mbps downstream and 100 Mbps upstream rates over a 200-meter telephone line.

The company noted that profile 35b and other profiles, such as 17a, can use vectoring technology in the same bundle of telephone line pairs, thereby bringing the speed of multiple line pairs in actual deployments close to the speed achievable in ideal noiseless conditions.

ZTE ZXHN H186 is designed as a bridge modem with two GE ports at the LAN side. If an existing home gateway is linked to a GE port of the ZXHN H186, its rates can be upgraded to up to 500 Mbps downstream.

ZTE has shipped over 280 million CPE devices to date.

The CEOs of Verizon and KT complete 5G video call

Verizon chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam and KT chairman and CEO Chang-Gyu Hwang conducted a pre-commercial 5G video call on Sunday, February 4, 2018.

McAdam was in Minneapolis and Hwang was in Seoul.  Both participants used a prototype 5G tablet from Samsung.

Orange Business acquires Enovacom for e-health

Orange Business Services agreed to Enovacom, a software developer based in Marseille and dedicated to e-health. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Enovacom's software suite facilitates the exchange, sharing and security of data between all players in the healthcare system. Its solutions are found in over 1 500 healthcare institutions in France and abroad. In particular, Enovacom software is used to manage and secure hospitals’ electronic exchanges with their various partners.

Enovacom will become part of Orange Healthcare.

“Incorporating the skills of a healthcare publisher like Enovacom enables us to move up the value chain to offer more comprehensive e-heath solutions to our customers and in particular to hospitals. By acquiring such an innovative and effective player, we are strengthening our growth strategy in the healthcare market, especially under the Territorial Hospital Groups (Groupements Hospitaliers de Territoire) reform, which has made communication between hospitals and equipment interoperability a major issue,” says Thierry Bonhomme, Deputy CEO of the Orange Group, in charge of Orange Business Services.

Verizon and Ericsson complete NB-IoT Guard Band test

Verizon and Ericsson completed a series of tests of Narrowband IoT Guard band data sessions. The trials uses the latest Massive Internet of Things Ericsson software on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. 

NB-IoT Guard band technology occupies a dedicated frequency of 180 kHz bandwidth designated for IoT applications which does not share spectrum resources with commercial smartphone traffic.

Verizon has already launched a commercial CAT M1 IoT service that targets applications for business customers such as wearables, fleet and asset management, NB-IoT Guard band focuses on applications needing data rates below 100 kbps.

Bill Stone, Vice President - Network Planning at Verizon said, “We are committed to providing more customer options to the IoT ecosystem by leading with new technologies and capabilities such as NB-IoT Guard band that efficiently use dedicated spectrum and target different customer requirements for throughput and battery life.”

“The IoT ecosystem has tremendous potential for further growth and development,” said Kevin Zvokel, Head of Networks for Ericsson in North America. “With our IoT commercial software in combination with Verizon’s network, we are pleased to pave the way for future growth in this important segment.”

T-Mobile US tests NB-IoT guard band

T-Mobile U.S. successfully tested Narrowband IoT in guard bands. The carrier announced that testing has been conducted in the lab and in the field. NB-IoT is live in Las Vegas and T-Mobile aims to turn on the service nationwide by mid-year.



Intel leads $100 million investment in Joby Aviation

Joby Aviation, a start-up developing an all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) passenger aircraft, raised $100 million in a Series B funding round led by Intel Capital.

Joby Aviation is working on a 5-seat aircraft capable of flying 150 miles (240km) on a charge.  The company is based in Santa Cruz, California.

Besides Intel Capital, additional investors in this funding round included Singapore-based EDBI, JetBlue Technology Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, Allen & Company, AME Cloud Ventures, and Ron Conway, as well as existing investors Capricorn Investment Group, 8VC, Sky Dayton and Paul Sciarra. This brings the company’s total funding to over $130 million.

“People waste billions of hours sitting on roads worldwide each year. We envision a future where commuting by eVTOL is a safer, faster, and  cost-competitive alternative to ground transportation,” said Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt. “We have spent the last ten years developing
the technologies that have made our full-scale technical demonstrator possible and are now ready to build a commercial version of the aircraft. We’re excited to have attracted the backing of leaders in auto manufacturing, data intelligence, and transportation sectors.”

SK Hynix ships 72-Layer 512Gb 3D NAND Flash SSD

SK Hynix announced an enterprise SATA Solid State Drive based on its 72-Layer 512Gb (Gigabits) 3D NAND Flash chips.

SK Hynix combined the 72-Layer 512Gb 3D NAND Flash with its in-house firmware and controller to provide the maximum density of 4TB.  The drive supports sequential read and write speed of up to 560MB/s (Megabytes per second) and 515MB/s, respectively, and it can perform 98,000 random read IOPS and 32,000 random write IOPS. SK Hynix also improved the read latency, which is of the utmost importance in eSSD performance. The Company is sampling the product to server and data center clients in the United States.

SK Hynix is also sampling an enterprise PCIe (PCI Express) SSD to server and data center clients. The PCIe SSD will also use the 72-Layer 3D NAND and have a capacity of more than 1TB. The 1TB PCIe SSD operates at 2,700MB/s and 1,100MB/s of sequential read/write speed and runs random read/write performance of 230,000 IOPS and 35,000 IOPS.

See also