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News summary for 11/14/07

Wed, 11/14/2007 - 8:15am
CED staff

RCN expands VOD service with Harmonic’s edgeQAM
By Mike Robuck

RCN Corp. said today that it was able to extend its VOD service capacity by using Harmonic’s edgeQAM.

RCN - with more than 350,000 cable subscribers in several metro markets, including Boston and Chicago - is using Harmonic’s Narrowcast Service Gateway 9116 eQAMs with privacy mode encryption, and the operator is receiving a software upgrade to existing NSG 8108 systems to add privacy mode.

With the Harmonic gear, RCN, which competes with Comcast and Verizon in some areas of its footprint, can deliver more VOD services to its subscribers.

The eQAMs perform a variety of functions at a network’s edge, including multiplexing, program routing, PCR re-stamping, scrambling, QAM modulation and RF upconversion.

"The expansion of our VOD service, which covers all of our geographical markets, is a critical component of RCN's growth strategy," said Rick Swiderski, VP of engineering for RCN. "In selecting our edge solution provider, it was important for RCN to choose a partner that could provide both customers and content owners with the assurance that the VOD program transmission is going to be secure and reliable, in addition to being able to successfully perform all of the required edge processing functions."

In other RCN news, the company announced yesterday that it had closed on its acquisition of Neon Communications Group. The cash purchase price was $5.15 per share of Neon’s common stock, for a total consideration of $225 million.

RCN funded the transaction with a combination of proceeds from an additional $200 million term loan under its existing senior secured credit facility, a draw of approximately $25 million under its existing $75 million line of credit, and cash on hand.

With the acquisition of Neon’s fiber network complete, the combined RCN Business Solutions-Neon unit will become RCN Metro Optical Networks, a facilities-based provider of telecommunication services to enterprises and carrier customers in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Chicago regions.  

Comcast to offer SMBs net-based Microsoft business tools
By Brian Santo

Comcast has arranged to give its business-class customers free access to Microsoft Communication Services. Comcast said these services include corporate-class e-mail, calendaring and document sharing.

The applications are all based on Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. All applications are Internet-based, and as such will be accessible from any computer.

That also means that business customers will not have to support and maintain those services on their own.

Microsoft Communications Services from Comcast - the official title of the service - will be backed by 24x7 Business Class customer support from Comcast, which will serve as an SMB’s “help desk.”

Bill Stemper, president of Comcast Business Services, said, “Many of our small-business customers use stand-alone Microsoft products on their own PCs, which benefits individual employees. Now, as part of their Comcast high-speed Internet service, they can quickly schedule meetings, share a common address book, or easily share or review important documents, which benefits the entire business.”

JDSU unveils fiber optic test product for CWDM networks
By Mike Robuck

JDSU announced today that it has released a fiber-optic test platform for coarse wavelength division multiplexing (CWDM) networks. The CWDM series of OTDR modules is designed for JDSU’s T-BERD/MTS-8000 and T-BERD/MTS-6000 platforms.

The CWDM OTDR product was developed to help cable operators, dark fiber providers and telecommunications service providers maintain and troubleshoot CWDM fiber networks more comprehensively. Using JDSU's CWDM OTDRs, users can test new wavelength routes not yet in use without disrupting communications traffic on active wavelengths. This "in-service" capability increases technician productivity and helps reduce installation and maintenance costs.

"Our new CWDM OTDR modules are part of JDSU's continued commitment to develop innovative solutions that address our customers' always-evolving requirements," said Enzo di Luigi, general manager of JDSU's fiber optics test and measurement group. "JDSU is uniquely positioned to leverage our internal optical expertise across multiple markets, including active and passive components and network solutions, to bring smarter field solutions to market faster."

Avaya, Cisco, are 1-2 in enterprise IP telephony revenue
By Brian Santo

Through the third quarter, in a rapidly growing market, Avaya held on as the revenue leader in enterprise Internet Protocol (IP) telephony, with Cisco right on its tail.

The calculations were included in the “3Q 2007 Enterprise Voice Market Shares Report” from Synergy Research Group.

Synergy Research calculated that Avaya led with 28 percent of the IP Telephony market, the largest quarterly share the company has achieved in this segment. That puts the company two points ahead of Cisco.

Following Avaya and Cisco were Nortel and Alcatel-Lucent.

"This industry is now running on all cylinders," said Jeremy Duke, president and CEO of Synergy Research.

"When measuring against the same time last year, our latest figures show an increase of 23 percent in overall industry IP revenues. Avaya grew its IP revenues by 27 percent, demonstrating that in a highly competitive market, Avaya has been successful in bringing leading IP telephony products to market."

Pelosi commends Broadband Census of America Act
By Mike Robuck

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a statement commending the House of Representatives for passing by a voice vote yesterday the Broadband Census of America Act.

The bill proposes, among other items, requiring the FCC to compare broadband deployments in the U.S. with deployments in other nations, and discontinuing the FCC practice of claiming an entire U.S. zip code has broadband access if just one resident in that zip code has access.

“Despite a pledge by President Bush to have universal broadband by 2007, recent data ranks the United States 15th in broadband deployment among industrialized nations,” Pelosi said in her statement. “The Broadband Census of America Act is a crucial first step to get to the root of this problem, as it develops a national broadband access map. By knowing where broadband is currently deployed, we can then target federal broadband resources to reach our rural and underserved communities. This bill also provides grants to local technology planning groups to help support local initiatives to bolster broadband deployment, adoption and technology literacy.”

Broadband Briefs for 11/14/07

* Survey: Americans prefer football on HDTVs to being there in person
By Traci Patterson 

About 45 percent of Americans would rather watch college and professional football games on an HDTV than in person, according to a recent Motorola survey.

Motorola surveyed 1,009 adults nationwide. Only one in three respondents (or 32 percent) indicated that they would rather watch a college or professional football game in person. And the survey found that more men (51 percent) than women (41 percent) prefer to watch the games on an HDTV.

* SES Americom bringing intl. programming to AT&T’s platforms
By Traci Patterson

AT&T and SES Americom are partnering to supply AT&T’s U-verse TV with international programming via SES Americom’s IP-Prime platform. SES Americom will also provide the programming for AT&T’s broadband and wireless platforms.

IP-Prime receives and encodes video (into the MPEG-4 standard) from any source, formats the content and then distributes it to any media platform.

* Verizon’s FiOS TV service hits Mass., N.Y.
By Traci Patterson

Verizon has introduced its FiOS TV service to consumers in Marshfield, Mass., Malverne, N.Y., parts of the Long Island village of Mill Neck and the Westchester County village of Buchanan.

* Telefonica picks Juniper for NGN core
By Brian Santo

Juniper Networks announced that Telefonica has upgraded its next-generation core IP network in Brazil by deploying Juniper’s T-series core routers. Telefonica is preparing for subscriber and traffic growth, Juniper said, and purchased the T-series systems to support Internet access, corporate VPNs and MPLS.

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