Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Australia declares NBN "built and fully operational"

Paul Fletcher, Australia's Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, has declared the National Broadband Network as " "built and fully operational." Thedeclaration is one of the steps that must occur under the NBN Companies Act before NBN Co can be privatised, but does not automatically trigger any further steps and the government has stated that it does not intend to consider privitisation during this term of Parliament.

Minister Fletcher stated that his formal declaration is based on a number of factors, including:

  • The number of premises able to connect to the NBN is over 11.86 million premises
  • At NBN Co’s FY20 results announcement in August 2020 there were around 100,000 complex premises yet to be made ‘ready to connect’ (RTC), that number has now reduced substantially and is expected to be around 35,000 as at 31 December 2020
  • New premises are being built all the time. This means that there will always be a number of premises around Australia that are not yet ‘ready to connect’. The fact that there is a certain number of premises which are not ready to connect is not of itself evidence that the network cannot be treated as ‘built and fully operational.’

“In my view the evidence before me shows it is appropriate to make the declaration that the NBN should be treated as built and fully operational’, Minister Fletcher said.

"Of course the government recognises that there are some premises which have not yet been made ready to connect – and I expect NBN Co to work as speedily as possible to make the network available to those premises.

"The government also recognises that there is continuing work to enhance the capabilities of the network. Earlier this year we announced a $4.5 billion upgrade to the NBN; the work to deliver that upgrade will be carried out over several years.

"Also, in some areas the NBN can only operate at full speed once all legacy copper services are migrated to an NBN or alternative service, which typically takes 18 months from when the NBN commenced services in an area. To minimise interference to the legacy services of other carriers during this period, the NBN operates with reduced signal power which reduces network speeds.

"But this doesn’t mean that NBN Co will stop developing. I fully expect that the Company will operate as a mature entity through continual improvement in the provision of quality services to its broadband retail customers, and ultimately to Australian households and businesses, as well as driving efficiency in its operations.

"As with all large telecommunications networks, NBN Co will need to keep investing in additional network capacity, extend its network to connect new developments and remediate technical issues as they arise."

https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/fletcher/media-release/nbn-declared-built-and-fully-operational


Australia's NBN Co pushes fiber deeper and advances HFC network upgrade

NBN Co is pushing fibre deeper into communities in selected metropolitan and regional areas of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. The fibre deeper work will pass more than 100,000 premises in areas currently serviced by Fibre to the Node (FTTN) technology, effectively converting FTTN locations to FTTP. NBN Co said it will consult with Internet retailers before finalising the design for its extended fibre network.

This marks the start of NBN Co’s $4.5 billion network investment program, which aims to make nbn’s highest wholesale speed tiers available, as demand arises, to around 8 million premises – or up to 75 percent of homes and businesses on the fixed line network by 2023.


NBN Co also reports that it is making good progress on its Hybrid Fibre Cable (HFC) network upgrade program. The company now expects to offer download speeds of 500 Mbps to close to 1 Gbps to approximately 625,000 premises, or around 25 percent of the HFC network footprint by November 2020.

NBN Co also reports that it is making good progress on its Hybrid Fibre Cable (HFC) network upgrade program. Since the company launched its nbn Home Fast, nbn Home Superfast and nbn Home Ultrafast wholesale speed tiers in May 2020, 100 percent of customers connected via HFC have been able to order nbn Home Fast; approximately 70 percent have been able to order nbn Home Superfast, and approximately 7 percent of customers in the HFC footprint have been able to access the fastest residential speed tier1.

https://www.nbnco.com.au/corporate-information/media-centre/media-statements/nbn-extends-fibre-to-additional-100k-premises

Cristiano Amon to take over as CEO of Qualcomm

Qualcomm's Board of Directors unanimously selected Cristiano Amon to succeed Steve Mollenkopf as CEO, effective June 30, 2021. 

Mollenkopf, who announced plans to retire as CEO after 26 years with the company, began his career as an engineer and, for nearly three decades, has helped define and lead Qualcomm’s strategy and technology roadmap. He has served as CEO since 2014.

Amon (50), who has worked at Qualcomm since 1995, is currently President of the company. In this role, he is responsible for Qualcomm’s semiconductor business (QCT), which includes Mobile, RF Front End, Automotive and IoT revenue streams, and the Company’s global operations. Amon has driven the expansion and diversification of the business across industries and customers, overseen Qualcomm’s 5G strategy, and for almost 15 years has been steering development of a leading and differentiated product roadmap. Amon holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an honorary doctorate from UNICAMP, the State University of Campinas, Brazil. He also serves as the co-Chairman of the World Economic Forum IoT Council.

“I am immensely proud of all that we have accomplished at Qualcomm and the position the Company currently enjoys as the world’s leader in wireless technologies,” Mollenkopf said. “With our business model clearly validated and our leadership in 5G, this is the right time for Cristiano to assume leadership of the company and preside over what I see as the single largest opportunity in the Company’s history. Cristiano spearheaded the development of our 5G strategy, including its acceleration, industry-leading technology roadmap and global rollout. He was also a key architect and driver of Qualcomm’s strategy to expand and diversify our business beyond mobile and into new industry segments such as Auto, RF Front-End and IoT. Qualcomm is well positioned for the future and I am confident that with Cristiano as CEO, the Company will continue to invent leading technologies and create value for all of our stakeholders.”

“Steve navigated through unprecedented circumstances during his tenure, facing more in his seven years as CEO than most leaders face in their entire careers,” said Mark McLaughlin, Chair of Qualcomm’s Board of Directors. “Under Steve’s leadership, the Company remained focused and created immense value for stockholders, inventing key technologies that are driving economic growth and improving lives. On behalf of the entire Qualcomm Board, I want to thank Steve for the vision and leadership he brought during his years as CEO and for leading what I am confident will be a seamless transition. Cristiano was the clear choice to be Qualcomm’s next CEO, having the track record of successful execution, deep Company knowledge, very strong relationships with our ecosystem of partners, and the strategic vision to take the Company forward. He is an authentic leader who has played a critical role in the Company’s success. We look forward to working together with him to lead the Company through its next chapter of growth.”


Pioneer Communications deploys Fujitsu 1FINITY in Kansas


Pioneer Communications, which serves residents and businesses in Southwest Kansas, has deployed the Fujitsu 1FINITY S100 layer 2 switching platform and Virtuora cloud solution.

With deployment of the Fujitsu 1FINITY S100 switching platform, Pioneer Communications can leverage Ethernet aggregation to boost bandwidth in a cost-efficient manner. The modular 1FINITY solution can be deployed in increments of just one rack unit each, which means minimal space and power requirements to achieve 100G speeds. And with the software-defined network management and control provided by Virtuora Network Controller (NC), Pioneer Communications has built a solid foundation for a more resilient, scalable network.

“We are proud to continue our pioneering tradition of delivering cutting-edge communications services to our customers throughout Southwest Kansas,” said Gavin Fowler, chief operations officer at Pioneer Communications. “With Fujitsu’s networking expertise, paired with the extensive distribution services of Power & Tel, we are well-positioned to address escalating capacity demands, today and tomorrow.”

“Service providers like Pioneer Communications are confronting internet bandwidth demands and the complexities of next-generation architectures,” said Annie Bogue, head of sales and marketing at Fujitsu Network Communications, Inc. “With the small footprint and pay-as-you-grow approach of the 1FINITY platform, Fujitsu is helping Pioneer Communications meet these challenges head on.”

http://us.fujitsu.com/telecom  

CommScope launches GPON gateway with Wi-Fi 6

CommScope expanded its Wi-Fi 6 home network gateway portfolio with the release of a GPON Wi-Fi 6 residential gateway.

The NVG578LX GPON home network gateway offers:

  • One 2.5G Ethernet WAN/LAN port, three 1G Ethernet LAN ports
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 6
  • 2.4 GHz 3x3 802.11ax
  • 5 GHz 4x4 802.11ax

“With more of us working and learning from home, consumers are demanding faster speeds and improved Wi-Fi performance,” said German Iaryczower, Senior Vice President, Broadband Home Solutions, CommScope. “This high performance Wi-Fi 6 residential gateway gives service providers a cost-effective solution to deliver the in-home connectivity experience their customers need.”

http://www.commscope.com

Monday, January 4, 2021

Ooredoo awards five-year 5G contract to Ericsson

Ooredoo Group awarded a global frame agreement to Ericsson for the supply of 5G radio, core and transport products and solutions, as well as related implementation and integration services. The agreement covers all 10 of the Group’s operating companies in Qatar, Indonesia, Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Palestine, Tunisia, Myanmar and Maldives.

The agreement covers Ericsson Radio System, including MINI-LINK 6000 products that are capable of 10Gbps, Ericsson Cloud Core, Cloud Infrastructure and Ericsson Cloud Communication solutions. 

Ericsson Radio System is already deployed and live in several of Ooredoo’s operating companies. In Ooredoo Qatar’s network, Ericsson Radio System, using the 4G/5G Ericsson Spectrum Sharing solution, has facilitated fast nationwide 5G coverage. Furthermore, in preparation of Ooredoo Qatar’s network to host multiple global sporting events, Ericsson is deploying its latest 5G midband Massive MIMO radios to create a unique digital experience for millions of sports fans in stadiums, at home, or on-the-go.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulla Al Thani, Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer, Ooredoo Group, says: “The agreement represents another step in the longstanding and successful partnership between Ericsson and Ooredoo, which enables our company to continue network expansion, enhancement and digital transformation. Ericsson is bringing state-of-the-art global technologies to the countries we operate in, which enables us to provide the latest digital solutions for communities to enjoy the best of the internet, including connecting the most remote areas, supporting startups digitally and providing immersive experiences for sports fans at upcoming mega-sporting events.”



Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks, Ericsson, says: “5G as a platform for innovation will speed up Ooredoo’s journey towards digital transformation. It will fuel new use cases that cater to evolving consumer and enterprise demands. It is with great pride that we strengthen our collaboration as we continue supporting Ooredoo’s ambition of delivering high-performing networks and superior user experience.”

https://www.ericsson.com/en/press-releases/2021/1/ooredoo-group-and-ericsson-sign-five-year-strategic-5g-agreement

Alaska Communications finds a new buyer

ATN International and Freedom 3 Capital agreed to acquire Alaska Communications Systems Group in an all cash transaction valued at approximately $332 million, including net debt. 

Alaska Communications’ prior agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of Macquarie Capital and GCM Grosvenor, through its Labor Impact Fund, has been terminated.

In connection with the termination, Alaska Communications paid Macquarie and GCM a $6.8 million break-up fee.

David W. Karp, Chairman of the Alaska Communications Board of Directors, said, "Today's announcement is the product of a comprehensive process that demonstrates what a strong business the team at Alaska Communications has built. The agreement with ATN is a great result for our stockholders, who will receive significant near-term value."

Alaska Comm. Sys to be acquired for $300m

Alaska Communications Systems Group (NASDAQ: ALSK) will be acquired by an affiliate of Macquarie and GCM Grosvenor (through its Labor Impact Fund) in an all cash transaction valued at approximately $300 million, including debt. 

Under the deal, all the outstanding shares of Alaska Communications common stock will be acquired for $3.00 per share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 57% over the closing per share price of $1.91 on November 2, 2020, the last trading day prior to the date the merger agreement was executed.

David W. Karp, Chairman of the Alaska Communications Board of Directors, said, "After carefully evaluating Macquarie Capital’s and GCM’s offer, we are confident that this transaction is in the best interest of Alaska Communications and its stockholders. Macquarie Capital has a proven track record of delivering large and complex transactions globally on accelerated timelines, and GCM’s Labor Impact Fund provides strategy driven capital that we expect will generate real value for our customers and the Alaska Communications workforce."

Bill Bishop, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alaska Communications, stated, "GCM’s Labor Impact Fund provides strategic value to our business both through its experience in the telecommunications sector and in fostering partnerships with a unionized workforce. We firmly believe this transaction will allow us to enhance our expanded fiber network services and drive long-term value for our customers in Alaska and the Lower 48."


Thailand's dtac picks Ericsson for 5G

Thailand's dtac has selected Ericsson 5G RAN products and solutions, including Ericsson Spectrum Sharing, to power dtac 5G services in the Bangkok Metropolitan area, the central plains and the eastern economic and industrial region of Thailand.


dtac is set to deploy its network on the 700MHz band to expand coverage and capacity nationwide, as part of its strategy to bring fast 5G and 4G to all customers.

The 5G deal is the latest stage in a long and successful partnership between Ericsson and dtac. The partnership already spans 3G, 4G and managed services, through the implementation of Ericsson Operations Engine.

Prathet Tankuranun, Chief Technology Officer, dtac, says: “dtac sets the priority on bringing high-speed internet service to all of our customers. We never stop and are speeding up the development of our nationwide 4G and 5G networks. The latter is being deployed on the low-band 700MHz, which will enhance our network efficiency across Thailand, particularly the high-density downtown areas with high-rise buildings. Our customers can experience better and better services from our restless efforts to roll out network through utilizing Massive MIMO technology to increase the upload and download speed by three times. We connect everyone to every important thing in life.”

Nadine Allen, Head of Ericsson Thailand, says: “5G will play a critical role in accelerating the digitalization of the economy and stimulating next-generation innovation for consumers and enterprises in Thailand. Therefore, we are delighted to strengthen our partnership with dtac for 5G deployment in Thailand. Our 5G RAN technology leadership will enhance dtac’s ambitions to deliver the benefits of 5G for consumers and enterprises in Thailand. Based on our technology leadership and experience with 5G deployments across the globe, we are in a good position to support Thailand on its 5G journey.”

  • Ericsson currently has 123 commercial 5G agreements and contracts with unique communications service providers globally, including 77 live commercial 5G networks.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

EXFO acquires InOpticals for 400G/800G testing

EXFO completed its previously-announced acquisition of InOpticals Inc. of Taiwan. 

InOpticals' solutions will be integrated into EXFO's  test and measurement (T&M) product family. The amount of the transaction was not disclosed.

"EXFO has made strategic investments in recent years, both internally and through acquisitions, to increase its footprint in the rapidly growing lab and manufacturing test segments," said Germain Lamonde, EXFO's founder and Executive Chairman. "This latest acquisition of InOpticals raises our T&M addressable market to more than $1 billion by expanding our high-end portfolio related to 400G and 800G technologies. Ultimately, it will allow EXFO to strengthen its leadership position in the global fiber-optic test equipment market."

EXFO to acquire InOpticals for 400G/800G oscilloscopes

EXFO has acquired InOpticals Inc., a Taiwanese supplier of sampling oscilloscopes, bit-error rate testers (BERTs) and other critical test instruments to manufacturers of optical transponders, components and network equipment. Financial terms were not disclosed.

InOpticals' product portfolio specifically addresses 400G/800G high-growth sectors like silicon photonics-based transceivers, active and passive components as well as integrated test systems for R&D and manufacturing use cases.


InOpticals' solutions will be combined with EXFO's advanced optical test offering, bolstered by the Yenista Optics acquisition in October 2017. This latest acquisition, which is expected to close by the end of October, will increase EXFO's global test and measurement (T&M) addressable market by approximately US$150 million to more than US$1 billion. The amount of the transaction, mostly valued in EXFO shares, was not disclosed.

"EXFO has intensified its focus on the research, development and manufacturing market as demonstrated by strong growth in this segment in recent years," said Germain Lamonde, EXFO's founder and Executive Chairman. "InOpticals brings to EXFO a remarkable product portfolio that is highly complementary and strategic. This synergistic acquisition will allow EXFO to leverage InOpticals' innovative test solutions across global sales channels and expand market share."

"We're excited to be joining EXFO, truly a global leader in optical testing," said Jones Huang, CEO of InOpticals. "Combining EXFO's global reach and market knowledge with our proven innovation capability will allow us to jointly have a more significant impact in this high-growth market."

Tejas Networks wins $13M broadband contract

Bengaluru-based Tejas Networks received a $13 milliom purchase order to supply and install its ultra-converged broadband products for a leading telecommunications service provider in South East Asia. The deployment will extend high-speed broadband services to underserved rural communities in the region. The project is expected to be executed within the next 12 months.

Mr. Sanjay Nayak, Managing Director and CEO of Tejas Networks said, "We are delighted to be chosen for this prestigious project that will enable a sizable rural population to experience the tangible benefits of high-speed, reliable and affordable wireless internet for the first time. TJ1400UCB is an innovative product that provides the flexibility to rapidly rollout broadband services on optical fiber, wireless or copper media, as per available infrastructure, at highly affordable costs.  Tejas was selected because of our cutting-edge products, as well as our vast experience in timely rollouts of large-scale broadband access and optical transmission networks around the globe, including Government of India's BharatNet and Railway WiFi projects."


euNetworks acquires fiber network in Manchester

euNetworks Fiber UK Limited acquired 100% of the shares of The Loop Manchester Limited from Gamma Telecom Holdings Limited. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

The Loop is a duct and sub-duct based fibre network stretching 87 km in Greater Manchester (UK). With over 180km of high capacity fibre cables, it connects into 20 data centres, two Exchanges and provides high capacity internet into more than 70 key multi-tenant commercial buildings. Approximately 48km of the duct network is entirely unique routing from alternative operators in the city.

“Manchester is an important and growing digital hub and we have been keen to develop our presence in the city for some time. It also enhances our Super Highway that runs from Dublin through to Manchester, London and Lowestoft,” said Brady Rafuse, Chief Executive Officer of euNetworks. “The acquisition of The Loop network strengthens our customer proposition in the bandwidth infrastructure market. As well as adding unique routes to our Manchester metro, the Loop provides us with a more local presence, the flexibility to connect more data centres and buildings and the opportunity for further expansion. Prior to this acquisition, our Manchester metro consisted of 42km of duct network, 276 chambers and direct connection into 17 data centres. The combined footprint will deliver immediate value to both existing customers and our new customers that we welcome from The Loop.”

“This is a great match for The Loop and we are delighted to have been acquired by euNetworks and to be joining the team,” said Ashley Griffiths, Managing Director of The Loop. “We’ve worked closely with euNetworks for a number of years in Manchester and I know our customers will immediately benefit from this acquisition. We remain focused on delivering a great service experience as well as more fibre-based service options to our customers.”

  • euNetworks owns and operates 17 fibre based metropolitan networks connected with a high capacity intercity backbone covering 51 cities in 15 countries across Europe.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Saudi Arabia's TAWAL picks Nokia for 5G expansion

TAWAL, the leading Saudi ICT Infrastructure company, has selected Nokia to provide full turnkey services towards expanding and deploying 5G for TAWAL’s infrastructure in the western and southern parts of Saudi Arabia. 

This project is part of TAWAL’s plan for 5G expansion in the western and southern parts of Saudi Arabia, where Nokia will be adding 5G capabilities to 670 4G sites over the course of six months. In addition, Nokia will be replacing some existing towers with new ones while modernizing and strengthening others.


Saeed Alshehri, Chief Operation Officer of TAWAL, stated: “We are delighted to work with Nokia in expanding and deploying the 5G network across our infrastructure. This comes in line with our strategy to enrich the communication needs of MNOs, the Government and Businesses by accelerating the roll-out of new technologies, together we will provide the best-in-class services to build and manage the infrastructure that will allow us to stay ahead of our clients’ needs”.

Stating on the partnership, Khalid Hussein, Country Senior Officer at Nokia Saudi, added: “The expansion of the 5G network opens up boundless horizons and strengthens the distinguished partnership between Nokia and TAWAL. This partnership will highlight Nokia's full turnkey services, which will contribute to achieve the Kingdom's 2030 Vision and support the digital transformation. Our partnership will further pave the way for future collaborations with TAWAL in the 5G-era”.

https://tawal.com.sa/

stc tests Open vRAN and invests $500m in cloud with Alibaba

Saudi Arabia's stc is conducting ORAN testing. Altiostar confirmed that its Open vRAN software is part of the trial.

Eng. Khaled Aldharrab, VP, Infrastructure, stc, said: “Open RAN is a large and crucial part of stc’s future virtualized infrastructure. This technology is promising to change the way we currently think of Network solutions, providing: Openness, disaggregation, speed, efficiency and reduced time to market. The future of Cloud-Native, modular software and Micro-services will go far in addressing the customers high expectations and delivering our future vision.

stc Group also announced plans to invest around $500 million in cloud services in a partnership with eWTP Arabia Capital, one of the largest venture capital funds in the region, and Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group.

stc said the investment aims "to reinforce digital infrastructure and to leverage the proven cloud-based technologies and services of Alibaba Cloud to accelerate the growth of local technology ecosystem, in alignment with its “DARE” strategy and Vision 2030 objectives."

Saturday, December 26, 2020

AT&T mounts disaster recovery effort in Nashville

AT&T mounted a round-the-clock recovery effort in Nashville to respond to the explosion on Christmas morning.  

The explosion impacted a range of telecommunications, including mobile phone, broadband, TV and 911 service in Middle Tennessee and Kentucky. A major challenge has been restoring power to its damaged building.

The network recovery effort includes two portable cell sites operating in downtown Nashville with numerous additional portable sites being deployed in the Nashville area and in the region.

https://www.wkrn.com/news/local-news/att-outages-across-tennessee-kentucky-affecting-multiple-911-services/





Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Oklahoma's Totah deploys Ribbon's packet transport

Totah Communications, a leading Independent Operating Company (IOC) and provider of residential and broadband communications services in Northeastern Oklahoma and Southeastern Kansas, has deployed Ribbon's Neptune 1300 Packet Transport solution.

The Neptune 1300 Extension Shelf provides Totah several benefits including allowing the company to reclaim precious fiber that was being used to deliver services in its legacy network; the ability to offer next-generation communications services; the ability to support 200 Gbps.


"We had outgrown our old network and were severely constrained by traffic bottlenecks and the inability to introduce new high-value services," said Mark Gailey, President and General Manager, Totah Communications. "Ribbon's Neptune Packet Optical Transport solution not only provides us with the ability to future-proof our network with needed bandwidth to deliver next-generation services and faster broadband speeds, but it also allows us to reclaim precious fiber and actively pursue new small to medium sized business customers and backhaul services."

Gailey continued, "We considered several vendors for this upgrade but after evaluating Ribbon's capabilities, experience and competitive pricing, they were the clear choice."

"We are delighted that we could help our longtime customer, Totah, dramatically expand their network capacity and improve their communications offerings with our Packet Optical Transport solution," said Elizabeth Page, U.S. Rural Market Director for Ribbon. "It is great that forward-looking IOC customers like Totah can realize an immediate return on investment by offering increased internet speeds on Day 1 and increased Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) that Ribbon's Neptune 1300 offers."


Monday, December 21, 2020

Nework Predictions 2021: TelcoDR's Danielle Royston

 by Danielle Royston, Founder, TelcoDR

A telco will figure out how to really use the public cloud and save 50% on its IT costs – or more

How will it happen? It'll move a ton of software to the cloud and prove: 1) it works; 2) it’ll save a ton of money (the company that embraces the software of the public cloud will see a 50% savings on IT costs); 3) life is sweet! (And way sweeter than it ever was before. I’m talking about taking the oldest, suckiest, super unsexy legacy applications and refactoring them for 90% savings.)

Who’ll be the bold telco? Definitely not a company in the US. Sorry America. It’ll likely be based in Asia, which has moved on from dumb private cloud, and we’ve already seen examples of successful moves to public cloud in this region (take a bow, M1). 

In 2021 we might be going back to 1981-style boldness, but it’ll be a huge move forward for modernizing the telco industry. A bold telco will successfully transition to the public cloud and show everyone else how it’s done. Note to everyone else: be prepared, this change will require all hands on deck.

Telcos will take the wrong approach – and fail

Alongside public cloud success, we’ll also witness public cloud failure in 2021. Without a proper understanding of the cloud ecosystem – and what ‘cloud native’ means: see my 2020 round-up above – telcos will foot some spectacular fuck-ups. On that note: if you want to avoid being that telco, look for my blog in January where I’ll clarify cloud language and explain how each part of the telco business can benefit.

Back to those failures though. It’s common sense to move to the public cloud, but there are still so many misconceptions that telcos will get bound in. It’s not just about infrastructure and IT, for instance. It requires a top-down, organization-wide cultural change. It requires clear communication.

Wrong moves will result in failure. Or, if not complete failure, then a load of back-tracking, additional costs and tails between legs. No one wants to hear ‘I told you so.’ Bank of America probably didn’t. For almost a decade, the institution was adamant that ignoring public cloud and obsessing about its vanity project (aka, building its own private cloud) was the way to go. It wasn’t. In 2019, Brian Moynihan, BofA chairman of the board and CEO, admitted that although it had been pursuing private cloud – and spending on private cloud – third-party cloud providers are 25-30% "cheaper.” It then teamed with IBM to develop a public-cloud computing service for banks.

There’s also the cautionary tale of Verizon, a company that thought it was a great idea to spend $1.4 billion on data center provider Terremark. It later realized it couldn’t compete with the might of the hyperscalers and dumped the business on Equinix.

People will fall for IBM’s #fakecloud

You thought the claws of Oracle were bad? In 2021, you’ll see it’s IBM that has the real talons.

In November IBM launched its cloud-for-telco play. Unfortunately for telco – and bad luck for buyers – Big Blue launched a big crock of shit. This is not cloud. It was fake news. It’s #fakecloud. In 2021 we’ll see the results from the poor suckers who’ve invested and we’ll hopefully see a greater realization that a hybrid strategy and a half-assed move to the cloud will never work.

At launch, IBM tried to persuade telco to keep things on-premise. If you do move to the BFCs, then IBM can manage it all for you. What they didn’t mention was that this would happen at a cost, and it’d be a massive waste of time. Telcos that fell for this trap last year will be adding five more years to their public cloud journey, by which time they’ll be way behind competitors that saved time and money, and whose customers love the service they offer. 

Be wary of IBM, my telco children. Do not fall for the trap!

OpenRAN will explode

The tail end of 2020 saw OpenRAN start to bubble rapidly to the surface of telco conversations. In 2021, it’s gonna explode. Vendors: be afraid, be very afraid. Ericsson’s revenue will slip even further through its fingers – something it already admitted last year, when CEO Börje Ekholm said he expected OpenRAN market developments to “impact revenues” from 2023 onwards. 

Other vendors will hemorrhage revenue as telcos realize that there is (finally!) an alternative to overpriced infrastructure and vendor lock-in. They’ll get choice, at last, picking and choosing best-of-breed elements from whomever the hell they want! More features will be driven into software. Networks will be easier and cheaper to maintain, easier and cheaper to upgrade. Spend on RAN will go from historic levels of around 90% of total spend to 50XX%. It might not be next year, but the development and industry excitement around disaggregated network components will certainly define the trajectory of telcos’ decision making next year.

Pioneers like Rakuten will gain column inches and market share next year. It’s no wonder: Rakuten claims operators can reduce capex CAPEX by 40% with its telco-in-a-box network. Vodafone has also been staking its claim in the OpenRAN space: last November it announced it would be deploying OpenRAN technology at 2,600 mobile sites across Wales and the South West of England.

Experimentation is the name of the game here. There might be failures along the way, but telcos will be less afraid of dipping their toe in the OpenRAN water. This will gear them up for taking a plunge in the public cloud ocean down the line.

There’ll always be another G

You can’t move nowadays without being bombarded with something about a ‘G.’ Clearly people believe the hype – 5G networks will cover an estimated one billion people by the end of the year, attracting 220 million subscriptions, according to Ericsson. And it’s not all about faster speeds and greater capacity … research suggests 5G is 90% more energy efficient than legacy mobile infrastructure.

Telcos are set to ramp-up 5G investment in 2021, according to Fitch Ratings, which has warned there will be increased pressure on credit metrics for most worldwide. Free cash flow, it says, will be constrained over the next three years. But if telcos believe they can monetize all 5G capex by simply boosting customer experience, that’s just not possible. Instead, they should focus on bringing new forms of life into reality with the help of 5G – I’m thinking best-in-class remote work, e-learning and virtual services. 

That capex pressure will only increase with demands for more connections, higher speeds, greater capacity. Telcos simply can’t afford NOT to move to the public cloud, helping them to further enrich their offerings, as well as cut time and costs with reduced latency. Only the foolish would add to that capex pressure by building their own cloud – remove that headache by using the BFCs!

U.S. Covid-19 relief bill provides $1.9 billion to rip/replace Huawei

The $900 billion coronavirus relief package approved by the U.S. Congress contains several provisions for telecommunications, including $1.9 billion to fund the rip/replace of Huawei and ZTE equipment, $3.2 billion for Keep Americans Connected programs, $250 million for telehealth initiatives, and requirements for the FCC to begin auctioning the 3.45-3.55 GHz band by the end of 2021."


FCC Chairman Ajit Pai:

“I applaud Congress for including in the coronavirus relief and omnibus funding legislation a number of provisions that advance critical national priorities in communications policy.  I am pleased, for example, that Congress is providing the FCC with $1.9 billion to fund the program that we adopted earlier this month to ‘rip and replace’ insecure equipment in our nation’s communications networks.  This program will strengthen both network security and our national security.  In addition, this legislation gives the FCC the funding we need to implement our Digital Opportunity Data Collection; this is a critical step toward the FCC being able to implement both Phase II of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund as well as the 5G Fund for Rural America that the Commission adopted earlier this year, which together will offer over $20 billion to support high-speed broadband in rural America.  I would like to thank Chairman Wicker, in particular, for his strong leadership in securing this funding.

“Building on our successful COVID-19 Telehealth Program, I’m also pleased that Congress has provided the Commission with an additional $250 million for that program, which will allow us to approve many more applications to expand connected care throughout the country and enable patients to access necessary health care services while staying safe.  Furthermore, I am glad that Congress has responded to my call from this past June to provide funding to Keep Americans Connected during the pandemic.  The $3.2 billion contained in this legislation will leverage private efforts to ensure low-income American families and veterans are connected, and will facilitate remote learning by funding connected devices for low-income American students."

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel:

“This pandemic has demonstrated that access to broadband is no longer nice-to-have, it is need-to-have for everyone, everywhere.  So it is terrific news that Congress has before it legislation that will boost connectivity during this crisis.  Too many people in too many places are struggling without the ability to go online.  With so much of modern life now dependent on internet access, no one should have to choose between paying a broadband bill and paying rent or buying groceries.  Simply put, no matter who you are or where you live in this country, you should have access to broadband. " 


Arista begins Attack Surface Assessment service

Arista Networks will begin offering an Attack Surface Assessment, an advanced security service delivered through the recent acquisition of Awake Security, a start-up offering a Network Detection and Response (NDR) platform. 

Arista's new offering finds threats to devices and applications known to the IT and security teams, as well as shadow IT and unmanaged infrastructure across client to campus, data center and cloud.

“Sophisticated threats are no longer reliant on traditional malware,” said Rahul Kashyap, Vice President and General Manager, Arista’s NDR Security Division. “The recent supply chain attacks have exposed gaps in security programs. This new offering reinforces our commitment to help our customers defend against Sunburst and future threats.”

For more details on Awake’s approach to detecting supply chains threats like the SolarWinds / Sunburst campaign, see the blog at

https://awakesecurity.com/blog/detecting-supply-chain-threats-like-solarwinds-sunburst/

Arista to acquire Awake Security

Arista Networks agreed to acquire Awake Security, a start-up offering a Network Detection and Response (NDR) platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Awake, which is based in Santa Clara, California, combines artificial intelligence (AI) with human expertise to autonomously hunt and respond to insider and external threats. The Awake platform analyzes network traffic and autonomously identifies, assesses, and processes threats. 

"We see an exciting future for Awake within the Arista family," said Rahul Kashyap, CEO for Awake Security. “Awake pioneered NDR platforms for real-time AI-driven situational awareness to secure digital assets and then respond to mitigate those risks. This acquisition allows us to further that mission.”

"We warmly welcome Awake Security to the Arista team,” stated Anshul Sadana, COO for Arista Networks. “With the proliferation of users, devices and Internet of Things (IOT), Awake’s best of breed threat detection platform is synergistic with Arista’s market leading cognitive cloud networks, delivering proactive security for our customers.”

  • In April 2020, Awake Security, raised $36 million in Series C financing led by Evolution Equity Partners with participation from Energize Ventures and Liberty Global Ventures, as well as existing investors Bain Capital Ventures and Greylock Partners. The latest investment brings Awake’s total funding to nearly $80 million and will be used to propel expansion in areas including R&D, sales and marketing to meet the growing demand for the company’s advanced network traffic analysis platform. Awake also said that it has increased its annual recurring revenue (ARR) by close to 700% and doubled its employee headcount over the past year. 

Verizon Business and Deloitte collaborate on 5G edge opportunities

Verizon Business is teaming with Deloitte to co-innovate 5G and mobile edge computing (MEC) solutions that can transform manufacturing and retail.

The companies plan to create transformational solutions to serve client-specific needs using Deloitte’s industry and solution engineering expertise combined with Verizon’s advanced mobile and private enterprise wireless networks, 5G Edge MEC platform, IoT, Software Defined-Wide Area Network (SD-WAN), and VNS Application Edge capabilities. Plans include an integrated network and application edge compute environment for next generation application functionality and performance that reduces the need for manual quality inspection, avoids lost productivity, reduces production waste, and ultimately lowers the cost of raw materials and improves plant efficiency. The combination of SD-WAN and VNS Application Edge will bring together software defined controls, application awareness, and application lifecycle management to deliver on-demand network transformation and edge application deployment and management.

 “By bringing together Verizon’s 5G and MEC prowess with Deloitte’s deep industry expertise and track record in system integration with large enterprises on smart factories, we plan to deliver cutting-edge solutions that will close the gap between digital business operations and legacy manufacturing environments and unlock the value of the end-to-end digital enterprise,” said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business. “This collaboration is part of Verizon’s broader strategy to align with enterprises, startups, universities and government to explore how 5G and MEC can disrupt and transform nearly every industry.”


Measuring the latency of AWS Wavelength on Verizon 5G

AvidThink recently performed a series of basic throughput and latency tests on AWS Wavelength on Verizon’s network: 


In this video, Roy Chua, founder and principal of AvidThink, and Jim Carroll, Editor of Converge! Network Digest, discuss the test methodology and results. A key takeaway: application developers need to determine their workload placement strategy based on the location of nearby EC2 regions and available Wavelength sites.

https://youtu.be/09QHGHoMEjc


Sumitomo Electric begins production of 0.14 dB/km ultra-low-loss optical fiber

Sumitomo Electric Industries is ready to begin mass production of an optical fiber having an ultra-low transmission loss of 0.14 dB/km, representing a significant reduction in transmission loss from the current 0.150 dB/km product. The applications of the product include the following.

Applications of the new Z-PLUS Fiber 150 could include:

  • Transoceanic submarine optical cable systems
  • Terrestrial trunk line, such as transcontinental networks
  • Transmission lines for quantum cryptography communication
  • Sensor applications, such as earthquake detection and fire detection
  • Various optical communication technologies that require ultra-low-loss characteristics

  • In 1988, Sumitomo Electric, as a pioneer in ultra-low loss fiber manufacture, succeeded in mass production of optical fiber with a transmission loss of 0.17 dB/km as a global first and commercialized this as the pure-silica-core optical fiber "Z fiber". Since then, Sumitomo Electric has continuously developed and launched ultra-low loss fiber technologies and new products.
  • In 2017, Sumitomo Electric set a world record of transmission loss as low as 0.1419 dB/km. 

https://global-sei.com/company/press/2020/12/prs125.html


Alaska's KPU Telecommunications deploys Infinera

KPU Telecommunications, a local provider of residential and business communications services owned by the city of Ketchikan in Alaska, deployed Infinera’s XTM Series to enhance broadband service connectivity.


 

Infinera said its XTM solution enables KPU to offer flexible optical and packet-based high-speed services while cost-effectively powering high-speed 200G optical transport over its 167-kilometer-long unamplified undersea fiber cable connecting the city of Ketchikan to mainland terrestrial destinations.

The high level of flexibility of the XH800, an ultra-low-latency packet aggregation device within the XTM Series, enables KPU to support reliable 1 gigabit (1G), 10G, 25G, 100G, and 200G transport connectivity to meet growing customer bandwidth demands now and into the future. The Infinera solution included Network Operations Center (NOC) services, delivering an operational assurance model that supplements KPU’s strong in-house operations team.

“Residents of local communities like Ketchikan have the same growing broadband needs as more densely populated regions, and ensuring reliable, high-capacity transport connectivity is no less critical to local network operators,” said Nick Walden, Senior Vice President, Sales at Infinera. “We were excited to take on this new challenge with a new customer and pleased to exceed expectations by delivering a solution that provided the economics, capacity, and future-proofing features KPU required. Our Network Management service worked directly with the KPU team to ensure a seamless operations transition.”