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News summary for 5/15/07

Tue, 05/15/2007 - 9:02am

Optimum Lightpath launches voice over Metro Ethernet
By Brian Santo, CED

Cablevision Systems’ Optimum Lightpath today launched a carrier-class voice service delivered over Metro Ethernet, and claimed to be the first MSO to do so. 

The company had been providing TDM-based services largely on its HFC network. Optimum Lightpath (OL) voice services are now entirely IP-based. The company is using Cisco’s Communications Manager and CallManager Express, providing call processing for Internet Protocol (IP) phones.

Those services are also fully managed, thanks to the company’s partnership with NEC Unified Solutions.

“Traditional telcos stop at the wall of the building. We’re going right into the premises. Customers will have one provider to call, and it’s us,” said David Strauss, OL’s vice president of marketing.

OL quoted a Yankee Group report that said there is an 80 percent IP Telephony (IPT) penetration rate among enterprises, but less than 10 percent of those organizations have fully deployed IPT across the entire organization. A major factor inhibiting adoption enterprise-wide is the cost and complexity of deploying IPT solutions, as well as lingering concerns about performance, reliability and quality of service.

The new approach should assure QoS. “Typically voice is all on layer 3. This brings layers 2 and 3 together, which adds to quality of service,” Strauss said.

As for pricing, the company has developed a simple pricing schedule with flat rates and very few variables, which should make it easy for customers to predict their communications spending, Strauss explained.

GenBand spins out recently-purchased switch operation
By Brian Santo, CED

GenBand is spinning off one of the three product families it acquired when it purchased Tekelec’s Switching Solutions Group in March.

Tekelec built the group through the separate purchases of the companies Santera Systems, Taqua Systems (in 2001), and VocalData. The operation GenBand is spinning off is the Taqua operation, and its Class 5 T7000 switches.

Most of the management and employees of the spun-off Taqua have been affiliated with the company since its founding in 1999. Eric Pratt, who formerly managed the switching operation at Tekelec, will be CEO of the spin-off. Dave Long, Scott Weidenfeller and Cliff Manor will also join Taqua.

Though Santera and Taqua had different approaches to switching equipment, there had always been some overlap in the markets they serve.

GenBand said the transaction will enable it to focus on the market for next-generation class 5 replacement gear. 

Taqua claims more than 250 deployments at incumbent and competitive carriers in North America with its T7000, which the company describes as a switch-on-a-card.

Suddenlink subs get overnight voicemail migration
By Traci Patterson, CED

IP Unity Glenayre Inc. and Common Voices Inc. have completed a full voicemail migration project for thousands of Suddenlink Communications customers. 

“We insisted on full voicemail migration as part of our system upgrade because we thought it best to have the least possible subscriber disruption during our transition to IP Unity Glenayre’s Mereon unified messaging system,” said Leon Renfroe, director of ISP services for Suddenlink. “We wanted to maintain the highest levels of customer satisfaction and reduce churn.”

IP Unity and Common Voices completed the CommonVoices’ NowThere Migration Service—meaning they retained all of the customers’ voicemail data, including mailbox numbers, pass codes and voicemail messages—in a single night.

The phone service will reach 80 percent of Suddenlink’s 1.4 million customers by the end of 2007.

Celrun, Metalink unveiling IPTV STB
By Traci Patterson, CED

Celrun Co., an IP STB vendor, and Metalink, a wireless/wireline broadband communications silicon solutions provider, are collaborating to launch a next-gen IPTV STB at the IPTV World Forum Eastern Europe.

Celrun’s new IP STB, powered by Metalink’s 802.11n WLANPlus chipset, will feature the delivery of HD video over wireless home networks. The WLANPlus chipset family supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.

“According to our latest IP set-top box report, issued in March 2007, Celrun captured the top market share in the Asia Pacific region and landed among the top four vendors for the worldwide IP set-top box market share,” said Mike Arden, principal analyst for broadband at ABI Research. 

Report: DSL port shipments up, CMTS market down
By Brian Santo, CED

Worldwide DSLAM shipments grew in the first quarter, but CMTS shipments declined, according to Ovum-RHK.

DSLAM shipments were up 2 percent sequentially, and up 12 percent from the first quarter of 2006, while CMTS shipments were down 13 percent sequentially, and 10 percent compared to last year.

Alcatel-Lucent, which shipped 7.3 million DSL ports, remains the dominant vendor on a rolling 4-quarter basis, with 35 percent market share, followed by Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson, Siemens and Fujitsu, Ovum-RHK reported.

In the CMTS market, Cisco remained the dominant vendor with 51 percent rolling 4Q market share followed by Arris (29 percent), Motorola (17 percent) and BigBand (3 percent). Arris increased market share by 3 points, and Motorola edged up by 1 point.

Separately, Ovum reported that global service provider switching and routing equipment Q1 sales were $2.4 billion, up 12 percent from last year.

"Alcatel-Lucent continued its strong IP/MPLS growth, and Juniper Networks returned to growth after being mostly flat in 2006,” said Mark Seery, vice president, switching and routing, at Ovum-RHK. “Both IP and Ethernet over MPLS continue to grow, strongly driven by NGN transformation and the impact of video.”

Broadband Briefs for 5/15/07

* SCTE names Standards Award recipient
The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers announced that Mark K. Eyer, director of systems, technology standards office, Sony Electronics, will receive the SCTE Excellence in Standards Award for 2007.

The award was created to honor an SCTE Standards Program participant who has significantly contributed to both the technical standards program and the spirit of cooperation necessary for the success of voluntary standards.

Eyer is a participant in the SCTE Digital Video Subcommittee (DVS), whose charter is to explore the need for SCTE involvement in standards for digital video signal delivery through the coordination of efforts with the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and other related organizations.

The SCTE also said that Kyle E. McSlarrow, president and CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), will deliver the keynote address at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2007 on Wednesday morning, June 20, during the Opening General Session.

* EGT encoders used in Florida cable system
Advanced Cable Communications has selected EGT's Quartet encoding systems for digital simulcast and digital program insertion (DPI) applications in its Coral Springs, Fla. system. Additionally, Advanced Cable Communications will utilize EGT's Orchestra Element Manager to monitor, manage and control its network.

* Level 3 expanding content delivery platform
Level 3 Communications’ Content Markets Group is launching caching and downloading services as a part of its content delivery platform. The new architecture enables customers to tap into large-scale server clusters, which are deployed to leverage the scale and reach of the Level 3 backbone, the company said.

* TiVo offers on-screen search capability
TiVo Inc. is releasing Swivel Search, which allows broadband-connected TiVo subs to link from descriptions of a certain program to any others that have common elements, such as the program’s name or actors, or from suggestions based on other viewers' feedback.

The swivel ability can take TiVo users from a TV show to an actor, and then to another actor that leads them to a different TV show they might enjoy. Subs can also find programming related to a specific subject.

* Wal-Mart stores stocking Skype hardware
Wal-Mart is offering Skype hardware in the Internet and voice communications areas of 1,800 stores throughout the country.

Wal-Mart shoppers have access to headsets, handsets and Webcams designed to work with Skype, as well as the first pre-paid Skype cards. Skype’s software-based VoIP app is used by 196 million registered users to make free voice and video calls, and send instant messages, via the Internet.

* Deep links: Comcast done with Microsoft program guide
Comcast’s system in the state of Washington will drop Microsoft’s TV software in favor of GuideWorks, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The Washington system was the only Comcast operation using the Microsoft software. Comcast said it is converging on a single guide across the country.

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