July 20 , 2007 
IPso Facto...

Good intentions
Sprint Nextel and Clearwire have signed a letter of Brian Santointent to work together to provide nationwide WiMAX coverage through metropolitan networks that will be separately owned, though the service provided through those networks will be co-branded.

Is anybody else as unimpressed as me by letters-of-intent? Yeah, I intend to finish my novel. I intend to replace my garage door. I intend to make my next IP Capsule deadline. There you go - three letters of intent. You impressed yet?
But I digress...

It's customary in documents that have to be filed with the SEC to include a laundry list of why a proposed course of action might fail – sort of an obligatory heads up. Clearwire warns it might not be able to come to a final agreement with Sprint, that the pair's equipment suppliers might screw up, and that WiMAX networks might suck... in its press release. That inspires confidence, no?

Still it's an intriguing plan, with interesting possibilities for the cable companies rolling out the Pivot mobile phone service with Sprint. Whether Sprint's cable partners will have access to the WiMAX network too is a question that remains downstream, but it does open an obvious avenue for cable to provide mobile connectivity, and the hints are positive.

First, Sprint expects to provide dual-mode CDMA (mobile phone) and WiMAX services. No reason Pivot can't be dual mode. Sprint also said it will establish relationships with national distributors and other potential strategic partners, including wholesale or mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) arrangements. Oh, yeah.

Both companies are already building WiMAX-based networks. Joining forces, they say, will enable significantly greater depth and breadth of services. In order to get a national footprint, Sprint Nextel and Clearwire expect to enable roaming between their respective territories.

Under the network build-out plan, Sprint Nextel will focus on geographic areas covering approximately 185 million people, including 75 percent of the people located in the 50 largest markets, while Clearwire will focus on areas covering approximately 115 million people. Initially, the two companies expect to build out network coverage to approximately 100 million people by the end of 2008.

expressing enthusiasm
Clearwire has an odd way
of expressing enthusiasm

There's little potential for overlap of coverage areas. The 2.5 GHz spectrum that both intend to use is licensed spectrum; Sprint and Clearwire have the two largest portfolios of licenses for that spectrum. Given that, it's quite natural to want to collaborate to create a national WiMAX footprint. Sprint and Clearwire imagine sharing not only infrastructure, but also branding, marketing and distribution.

It's possible that spectrum reclaimed from analog terrestrial broadcasting, due to be phased out in February of 2009, might be allocated for WiMAX. There is also discussion of dedicating some of that spectrum for emergency services.

Sprint and Clearwire say they expect to allow emergency services to use their WiMAX networks. It will be interesting to see if that convinces the FCC that it does not need to reserve some of the 700 MHz spectrum for emergency services, and therefore possibly no need to reserve some of that spectrum for additional WiMAX services which would be competitive with Sprint and Clearwire. Neither company mentioned anything of the sort. I'm just saying.

As previously announced, Sprint Nextel expects to commence the initial stage of its mobile WiMAX network deployments by year-end 2007 and both companies expect to launch commercial service in the first half of 2008. The companies individually are working with a broad range of manufacturers including Intel, Motorola, Samsung, Nokia and others to create an ecosystem of chips, products and software designed to provide mobile WiMAX access.

Brian Santo, IP Capsule Editor & CED Magazine Editor

Telco fiber will rock cable's world
iSuppli Corp. says in a new report that FTTH providers such as Verizon and NTT in Japan will be able to deliver more HDTV programs to customers than cable, and that will be bad for cable. The report also cited fiber-to-the curb (FTTC) and VDSL to homes as threats to cable.

"MSOs need to start planning now if they hope to counter the threat of telcos starting in 2009," said Steve Rago, principal analyst for networking and optical communications with iSuppli. "If MSOs do not upgrade their capabilities, they may see the war for the triple/quadruple play swing in favor of the telcos."

Since iSuppli has been putting out reports on cable as well, it presumably knows that many MSOs are in fact planning to counter the threat from the telcos.

The report predicts that FTTH providers will have 413 million broadband customers globally in 2010, eclipsing the total number of cable broadband customers for the first time.

Ikanos buys into GPON-based FTTH market
Ikanos Communications is licensing GPON PHY layer technology from Terawave Communications in order to compete in the GPON-based fiber-to-the-home sector. Terawave's PHY layer technology supports Ethernet 2. Ikanos will combine Terawave's ITU-compliant GPON PHY technology and the gigabit performance of Fusiv R Vx170 gateway to form a GPON residential gateway reference platform.

Eagle Broadband receives order for IPTV STBs
Eagle Broadband said it received a follow-on order for another 425 MediaPro IP3000HD set-top boxes from its largest hospitality industry customer, which the company has not identified. The customer is expected to continue placing additional orders, pretty much on a quarterly basis, through next March.

CLICK HERE FOR - What I've been watching
What I've been watching
on YouTube this week

Online video viewing is additive...
A six-month study commissioned by CTAM using information provided by Nielsen Entertainment and Nielsen Connect found that traditional TV ratings are minimally, if at all, affected by broadband video viewing. The study found that broadband viewing was incremental new viewing, rather than being a substitute for traditional TV viewing.

...But there sure is a lot of it
Nearly 75 percent of American Internet users watched an average of about two and a half hours of online video each in May, according to a comScore Video Metrix report. The average online video viewer consumed 63 video streams, or more than two per day, and the average video stream duration was two and a half minutes. More than 35 percent of Internet users streamed at least one video from YouTube.

Verizon rolls into IN; close to agreements in PA
Verizon launched its FiOS TV service to 122,000 households in Indiana, including Fort Wayne, New Haven and Huntertown. Verizon's fiber-to-the-home video service is now available in certain areas of 12 states.

Verizon also announced it is close to having franchise agreements in 19 southwestern Pennsylvania cities and towns pending each municipality's vote on approving the franchise agreements. Verizon is expecting to roll out its TV service in Pittsburg later this year.

Last month, Verizon announced that it had nearly half a million FiOS TV subscribers and one million FiOS Internet subscribers.


SunRocket abruptly closes; sends subs to 8x8
SunRocketSunRocket shut down its VoIP service to its 200,000 customers without warning last Monday. Two days later, 8x8 negotiated to take on SunRocket's abandoned subscribers.

SunRocket's customer base was second-only to Vonage's among stand-alone VoIP providers, but cable operators such as Cox, Time Warner Cable and Comcast have been eating into both VoIP companies' subscriber bases.

Packet8 may be SunRocket's officially designated savior, but Vonage and Nuvio are also offering special incentives to SunRocket customers.

Vendors offer integrated SIP VoIP solution
Camiant, Acme Packet, Arris, BroadSoft, pureIntegration and Sigma Systems announced an integrated software and service-based solution that allows multiple system operators (MSOs) to rapidly deploy commercial VoIP.

The components of the MSO commercial VoIP solution include: Camiant's Multimedia Policy Engine; Acme Packet's Net-Net session border controllers; Arris' C4 CMTS and Touchstone multi-line E-MTAs; BroadSoft®'s BroadWorks IMS-compliant application server; Sigma Systems's Service Management Platform, Commercial SMB Voice Service Package and Service Management Applications. pureIntegration contributes expertise with integrating these particular products.

The participating companies discussed the approach earlier this week in a webinar hosted by CED called "Dip in with SIP." The webinar, complete with presentations and the accompanying slides, will shortly be available for review here.

NGB system enables self-activation of data/voice bundles
Next Generation Broadband (NGB) has introduced a software product that automates the service activation process and customer management tasks involved in adding both voice and high speed data customers. This combines the capabilities inherent in previous NGB products, one dedicated to managing the activation of data customers, and another for VoIP customers (story here).


Procera lands $8M in funds for PacketLogic products
Procera Networks completed an $8 million common stock offering. Four million shares of restricted common stock were sold. Procera provides network traffic identification, control and service management infrastructure equipment to broadband service providers and cable operators, including Cavalier Broadband (a CLEC in Virginia); Mesa Networks (a Colorado WISP); Comanche County Telephone, West Texas Telephone, Central Texas Telephone and Unitel (all ILECs); Com Hem (Scandinavia's largest cable operator); CTR (an LEC in Chile); and Vipfone (a WiMAX provider in Spain).

Comcast and Qwest recently got into a tiff about an ad Qwest ran claiming that some of its subscribers found DSL from Qwest to be faster than Comcast cable modem service. The intrepid reporters at the Denver Rocky Mountain News decided to take the test. Read the results.