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News summary for 8/01/07

Wed, 08/01/2007 - 10:25am

Infinera to build national network for Cox
By Brian Santo

Cox plans to create a national transport network that stretches from coast to coast, and it has entrusted Infinera with the responsibility for building it.

The 12,000-mile network will lead to voice, video, data and wireless, for both residential and business customers, being converged on a single network. The network will be based on the Infinera Digital Optical Networks architecture.

Dan Estes, Cox's director of transport and access engineering, said that the Infinera Digital Optical Network will help Cox provide for traffic on the Cox network, which has been doubling every 12 to 18 months.

“The flexibility of remote re-configurability allows us to rapidly respond to customer needs and dynamic demand patterns. We know that our wireless services, enhanced video offerings and increased data speeds will drive bandwidth growth in the future. With the Infinera architecture we are positioned to handle that growth,” Estes said.

Infinera said its DTN platform is designed to enable MSOs to take advantage of protection and digital multicast features as well as digital ROADM functionality that integrates DWDM transport with sub-wavelength switching and reconfigurability. The network can be used to deliver high-density Gigabit Ethernet, which can be used for any number of applications, including high-speed Internet, video-on-demand, switched digital video, and high definition TV.

Cox’s business will no doubt have a salutary affect on Infinera’s finances. Infinera’s losses increased from the first quarter of 2007 to the recently completed second quarter, from $19.8 million to $26.1 million. On the plus side, Infinera reported a sequential boost in revenue from $49.2 million in Q1 2007 to $58.4 million in Q2. This was Infinera’s first quarterly report as a public company.

Time Warner Cable shines in second quarter earnings report
By Mike Robuck

Time Warner Cable was a highlight during today’s second-quarter earnings report by Time Warner.

Overall, Time Warner reported that its quarterly profit increased 5.2 percent, thanks in large part to more digital cable, Internet and voice customers from Time Warner Cable.

"I'm pleased with Time Warner's solid results for the quarter. Our performance over the first half of 2007 keeps us firmly on track to achieve all of the company's full-year financial objectives, Time Warner chairman and CEO Dick Parsons said, in a prepared statement. “Driving this quarter's profits were gains at our cable, publishing and networks segments. Most importantly, our earnings per share delivered double-digit growth, benefiting from our recently completed stock repurchase program."

Time Warner Cable, which was partially spun off as a separate stock earlier this year, saw its revenue increase 59 percent to $4 billion, largely due to the divvying up of former Adelphia systems with Comcast.

Time Warner Cable’s subscription revenues increased 59 percent, or $1.4 billion, to $3.8 billion, led by a 59 percent growth in video revenues, a 54 percent increase in high-speed data revenues and a 75 percent increase in voice revenues. Operating income in cable rose 31 percent to $711 million while net income dropped 8 percent to $272 million.

 As of June 30, Time Warner Cable served approximately 13.4 million basic video subscribers, but those subscribers decreased by 57,000 in the quarter primarily due to the Adelphia transactions.

At the end of the quarter, nearly 6.7 million customers, or 45 percent of Time Warner Cable's 14.7 million customer relationships, subscribed to two or more of the company’s triple play services, reflecting net additions of 184,000 during the quarter.

Triple play subscribers totaled 1.9 million, or 13 percent of customer relationships, for net additions of 186,000 during the quarter.

Currently, Time Warner Cable has a 58 percent digital video penetration rate with a total of 7.7 million digital subscribers at the end of the quarter. Digital video net additions were 184,000 during the quarter.

On the data side, Time Warner Cable had 7.2 million residential high-speed subscribers, reflecting 28 percent penetration of service-ready homes passed, while residential high-speed data net additions totaled 188,000 during the quarter.

Digital phone subscribers at the end of the quarter numbered 2.3 million, representing a 12 percent penetration rate of homes passed. Digital phone net additions were 241,000 during the quarter.

Time Warner broke out the increases for the triple play services by legacy systems and by acquired systems.

Time Warner said its board has approved the buyback of $5 billion of its stock, after completing a previous buyback worth about $20 billion.

Qwest more than doubles Q2 net income
By Traci Patterson

Qwest reported a net income of $246 million for its second quarter, ended June 30, up from $117 million in the year-ago quarter, an increase of 110 percent, and a 3 percent improvement sequentially.

The company said its bundle penetration increased to 60 percent in the quarter, compared with 54 percent a year ago.

Qwest added 66,000 net DirecTV subscribers. The company ended the second quarter with 572,000 video subscribers, a 121 percent increase year-on-year.

Broadband subscribers grew by 100,000 in the quarter, to a total of 2.41 million, and mass markets data and Internet revenue increased 41 percent year-on-year. The company ended the quarter with 9.1 million mass markets access lines.

During the quarter, Qwest’s high-speed Internet was re-named "Qwest Broadband," and the service product names are now called "Qwest Connect."

CEO Dick Notebaert announced in June that he will retire. A search is underway for his successor, and an announcement is expected soon. During his tenure, Notebaert saved a troubled Qwest from bankruptcy amid a multibillion-dollar accounting scandal.

FCC sets stage for airwaves auction
By Paul Davidson, USA Today
Copyright 2007 Gannett Company Inc.
All Rights Reserved

Federal regulators Tuesday approved rules for an upcoming airwave auction that are aimed at giving consumers new choices in cellphones and other devices by breaking the grip of the big wireless carriers.
 
The Federal Communications Commission's rules also make room for a nationwide network that would fix public-safety agencies' inability to communicate with each other in a crisis, a critical problem in disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

The rules, approved by a 4-1 vote, set the stage for the January auction of airwaves that will be vacated by TV stations when they start to broadcast in digital only in February 2009. They're some of the most desirable airwaves ever sold, because they allow signals to travel farther and more easily penetrate buildings.

"This is prime real estate in the spectrum market," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said in an interview.

Under the FCC's rules, the winning bidder of about a third of the spectrum must allow subscribers to use any handset, and download any software, they choose. Google, for instance, could sell its own phone that could be used on AT&T's network. Today, the big wireless carriers, such as AT&T and Verizon, tightly control the devices hooked to their services and the video, games and other software that they run.

The agency, however, did not require the winner of the airwaves to lease the spectrum to third parties, as Google requested. That would have opened the market to a provider that could have offered a wireless broadband service to the home in competition with the big cable and phone companies, Gene Kimmelman of Consumers Union says.

"I am concerned that we haven't done enough here to open these critical airwaves to badly needed (broadband) competition," Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein says.

The absence of a leasing mandate also makes it likely a large wireless carrier will win the spectrum and try to make it tough for competing devices to work on its network, says analyst Blair Levin of Stifel Nicolaus. The FCC imposed conditions to try to prevent that, including prohibiting the carrier from discriminating in price or other ways against competing handsets.

But Commissioner Robert McDowell dissented, saying the any-device requirement could dissuade anyone from bidding on the spectrum.

The winner of a separate chunk of nationwide airwaves must make its network available to police and fire agencies in an emergency. Many of the USA's public-safety agencies can't talk to each other in a crisis because their radios operate on different frequencies.

Levin says the requirement could discourage bidders that have different needs than public safety.

The FCC also set minimum bid prices, including $10 billion for the entire auction. If those prices aren't met, the FCC can re-auction the airwaves without the mandates to accommodate any device and public safety.

Harris supplies transmitters to Qualcomm’s mobile TV trials
By Mike Robuck

Qualcomm is using transmitters from Harris Corp. in mobile TV trials in Taiwan. Harris’ Atlas mobile transmitter is being used in the trials that are being conducted by China Networks Systems and Taiwan Television Enterprise.

Qualcomm created its MediaFLO ecosystem to deliver content to mobile handsets. Harris has worked with the MediaFLO technologies team to develop a version of its Apex digital television exciter for FLO air-interface requirements.

The trials, featuring two live channels provided by TTV and four from TTV and CNS, were designed to study and evaluate the performance of MediaFLO technology and to explore opportunities to deliver multimedia services to mobile devices in Taiwan. The trials started in spring and are slated to run through the summer.

BroadLogic to demo TeraPIX gateway at CableLabs Summer Conference
By Mike Robuck

BroadLogic Network Technologies will give the first demonstration of its TeraPIX-enabled residential gateway at next week’s CableLabs Summer Conference.

Using the gateway, BroadLogic will reconstruct an analog channel lineup from an all-digital channel line-up, which will help cable operators make the transition to all digital signals by Feb. 17, 2009.

"This is the first time a fully functional residential gateway, powered by our TeraPIX technology, will be demonstrated anywhere," said Danial Faizullabhoy, president and CEO of BroadLogic, in a prepared statement.

"With the support of some of the biggest names in the cable and technology industries, we will prove that the transition to the all-digital network is much sooner, easier, and less costly than previously thought."

BroadLogic recently completed a round of financing, totaling $17 million, led by Comcast Interactive Capital, including Advance/NewhouseCisco, and Intel, among other investors.

Sunflower taps Volicon for channel monitoring 
By Traci Patterson

Lawrence, Kan.-based Sunflower Broadband is utilizing Volicon’s Observer Remote Program Monitor (RPM) 400, which allows the independent cable operator to scan more than 200 channels continuously and detect audio and video problems.

The four-channel system at Sunflower Broadband scans the complete channel map in about 15 minutes and delivers alerts for mishaps - such as frozen video, black video, loss of video signal and low-level audio.

The Observer RPM can also record questionable content for a later review, or stream a troublesome TV channel over the network, enabling a technician to view the video and audio on a Windows-based PC. With the desktop video monitoring solution, users can search, retrieve, view, analyze, annotate, share and export video.

Sunflower Broadband provides video, data and voice services to its 31,000 residential and business subscribers.

EDS, Tech Mahindra will integrate Imake-Sun IPTV systems
By Brian Santo

Imake Software & Services is partnering with systems integrators Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and Tech Mahindra to deliver a highly scalable IPTV solution based on Imake’s OpenVision product suite running on Sun Microsystems’ new Sun Streaming server (see story).

Imake said IPTV systems are being installed at Tech Mahindra’s lab in Pune, India, and at EDS’ lab in Plano, Texas. Imake’s open systems design, innovative workflows and Offer Management, targeted advertising, and the ability to easily scale to millions of customers are key factors supporting the solution.

Imake said its Asset Management System can manage the distribution of up to 30,000 VOD assets per month, and also contains dynamic playlist management which allows for the insertion of targeted advertising videos. The company said its Entitlement server is integrated to major billing system providers such as Amdocs and CSG Systems. 

VDC, Motorola to commence WiMAX trial in Vietnam
By Jing Li
Copyright 2007 World Markets Research Limited
All Rights Reserved

Motorola and Vietnam Datacommunication Company (VDC), the data and Internet unit of state-owned VNPT, have signed an agreement to commence a WiMAX trial in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's two largest cities. The year-long trial is expected to begin in October. Phase one will cover an urban area in Hanoi, and the second phase will cover a similar urban area in Ho Chi Minh City, according to Motorola.

There were an estimated 4 million Internet users in Vietnam at the end of 2006. The broadband-Internet market has started to grow since 2004, driven by incumbent VNPT's roll-out of DSL infrastructure. However, the country has a relatively low average-income level, which has, to a large extent, inhibited subscriber growth.

Across the South-East Asian region, the industry regulators and operators are increasingly looking into the potential of wireless broadband in the hope of providing broadband links to more households, particularly in the remote areas.

Broadband Briefs for 8/01/07

* Sprint WiMAX will use FiberTower for Ethernet backhaul
By Brian Santo

In preparation for deploying a WiMAX network, Sprint Nextel has contracted with FiberTower for wireless, Ethernet-based backhaul services in seven of Sprint’s initial markets. Sprint said it will launch its Mobile WiMax broadband services in initial markets by year-end 2007.

* Carlo Gavazzi launches 650 Series chassis
By Traci Patterson

Carlo Gavazzi Computing Solutions has unveiled its new 650 Series MicroTCA chassis - for applications in VoIP nodes, modular telco line units, Wi-Fi and WiMAX radio boxes, Ethernet hubs and fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC) optical network units.

The 650 Series, offered in a 2U 19-inch rack-mount configuration, features a 6HP MicroTCA Carrier Hub and a 12-node backplane, which supports configurations for full- and half-height Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC) slots. The chassis starts at $2,500.

* VoIP Logic improves middleware
By Brian Santo

VoIP Logic has released a new version of its middleware. Cortex 2.0 is a customizable Web-based management platform that enables service providers to provision and customize service offerings, and enables their end users to self-administer. Enhancements include customizable enterprise and consumer end user Web-portals; flexible module-based login credentials for easy-to-manage access privileges and layers; and full voicemail and auto-attendant management integration with Iperia ActiveEdge 3.6, among others.

* Minerva Networks opens doors on new development center
By Mike Robuck

IPTV vendor Minerva Networks has opened a development center in Bulgaria as well as a sales and support office in Italy. The development center in Sofia, Bulgaria will draw a bead on product development and testing, while the sales office in Milan, Italy will provide sales and field support in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

* Alliance Atlantis hooks up with Maven for Internet TV 
By Mike Robuck

Maven Networks and Alliance Atlantis announced a partnership today to launch broadband video players throughout Alliance Atlantis’ Web properties. Alliance Atlantis will be using Maven’s Internet TV Platform for online channels that include FoodTV.ca, HGTV.ca and Slice.ca.

"Video deployment on our sites is growing exponentially, and the monetizing opportunities around that growth are critical for the long-term success of our broadband channels," said Claude Galipeau, senior vice president of Digital Media for Alliance Atlantis, in a prepared statement. "We chose Maven because it offers a mature and scaleable solution for advertising as well as incredible design capabilities."

* J:Com consolidates cable properties
By Brian Santo

Jupiter Telecommunications merged its three subsidiaries – J:Com Kanto, Chofu Cable and J:Com Setamachi – to strengthen group competitiveness and improve management efficiency.

The three combine for a total of approximately 520,000 subscribing households.

*Clearwire launches Internet, phone services in Texas, N.Y.
By Traci Patterson

Clearwire Corp. has launched its wireless high-speed Internet and phone services in Syracuse, N.Y., and Corpus Christi, Texas. This marks Clearwire’s first market deployment in New York.

Clearwire's wireless broadband network connects customers through licensed or secured spectrum, and the Internet phone service connects through a subscriber’s existing high-speed Internet access.

* ViewCast upgrades Niagara SCX 5-series
By Traci Patterson

ViewCast Corp. has added a Web-services software development kit (SDK) to its Niagara Stream Control Extension (SCX) 5-series streaming media management software. The new SDK will allow third-party vendors, content providers and content delivery systems developers to control and manage all of the compression codecs of the ViewCast Niagara media encoder.

"With the addition of the Web services SDK, developers now have even more control with a single, unified suite of tools and example applets to simplify the creation, delivery, and management of compressed audio and video media for today's growing, multimedia-rich marketplace," said Dave Stoner, president of ViewCast.

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