And then there were three
BigBand Networks, having had enough of the CMTS business, is calling it quits. Or maybe its investors had had enough. Same difference. The company could no longer justify pouring any more development money into the line when it was not only in fourth place out of four CMTS providers, but was making little if any headway gaining market share.
BigBand bought the Cuda line from ADC in May of 2004. There has long been an expectation that the cable industry could sustain three CMTS companies, and in May of 2004 there were still five: Cisco, Motorola, Arris, ADC, and Terayon. Terayon exited the business later in 2004.
BigBand believed that a CMTS line would provide a good complement for its service routing products, and expected that innovation in modular CMTS technology would increase the appeal of the Cuda line.
M-CMTS became associated with DOCSIS 3.0, a technology unlikely to be commercialized before well into 2008. With that attenuating schedule, BigBand lost any advantage it may have had being early with M-CMTS innovations.
BigBand management didn't sound very sentimental about retiring the Cuda line. BigBand president and CEO Amir Bassan-Eskenazi called CMTS a low-margin, commodity business. It was good riddance from that standpoint.
Nonetheless, the company benefited from having entered the CMTS business. It helped them burrow deeper into the cable market, which has recently rewarded BigBand with some significant business for its switched digital video (SDV) products.
Also, the engineers working on the Cuda line have valuable expertise in DOCSIS and IP technology, and BigBand is keeping many of them, despite a company-wide layoff. They'll be contributing to new products that will help provide video over IP.
The company will focus on its routing products and edge QAMs, where it has been finding much more success, especially in switched digital video (SDV) and telco TV.
Bassan-Eskenazi said "We believe that switched digital video, edge QAM and telco TV offer BigBand a significant opportunity for growth over the coming years and that addressable advertising and IPTV will create additional opportunities."
The company supplies Verizon with products for its FiOS service, and Bassan-Eskenazi said during the third quarter the company added two more cable operators as customers for its SDV products.
Comcast also selected BigBand as a vendor for SDV managers (I incorrectly reported in CED's daily new update that Comcast will be a sole supplier for those products.)
But for all the success BigBand has had attracting customers for its SDV products, there have been delays with installations, which have slowed the collection of revenues, in part leading to lower Q3 results.
|Brian Santo, IP Capsule Editor & CED Magazine Editor
Hulu beta begins testing Internet TV
Hulu.com, the online baby of NBC Universal and News Corp., has begun private testing with select users at its Web site. The company provides professional video content only - feature films and network shows - on a streaming, on-demand basis. Hulu is also launching videos to the sites of its five distribution partners: AOL, Comcast, Microsoft, MySpace and Yahoo!.
Hulu has licensing deals with MGM Studios and Sony Pictures Television, as well as multiple broadcast and cable networks. NBC recently removed its content from YouTube in preparation for the Hulu introduction.
The company has also closed a $100 million investment from private equity firm Providence Equity Partners.
Entone's Hydra chosen for HickoryTech's IPTV rollout
Entone Inc.'s Hydra IP video gateway is being deployed by HickoryTech for the operator's IPTV rollout in Minnesota. Hydra can deliver multiple video streams over a single DSL or Ethernet connection using existing in-home coax cabling. The video gateway offers HD video services using MPEG-4 (H.264/AVC) compression technologies.
Covad sells for $300M
Covad Communications has found a buyer in Platinum Equity, which specializes in mergers, acquisitions and operations. Platinum will buy Covad for $1.02 a share, in cash. That's a premium of 59 percent from Covad's closing price on October 26, and will amount to a little over $300 million.
It appears Platinum Equity will dispatch a team to streamline Covad's operations and businesses as a means of guiding the company to greater success. The company has little experience with communications companies, however.
Headquarters: San Francisco (U.S. headquarters)
CEO: Michael Lantz
Claim To Fame: The company provides a range of applications, largely for TV providers. Applications include games, quizzes, puzzles, horoscope, karaoke, comics, plasma art, radio, news, messaging and e-mail.
Recent News Of Note: The company recently made sure its apps would run on boxes from Divx and from Amino.