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The January 21, 2002 Issue Provided by System Dynamics Inc.
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Heard on the Net

News about People and Companies Influencing The Broadband Home


People News

Bari Abdul has been named VP of Marketing at SONICblue. Abdul has held executive positions at such consumer companies as Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and Egghead.com. ( www.sonicblue.com )

Jeff Abramowitz has joined Broadcom to support marketing efforts for their wireless LANs. Jeff previously headed WLANA. ( www.broadcom.com )

Anthony Armenta has become Executive Director of the Wireless LAN Association (WLANA). ( www.wlana.org )

Jay (J. W.) Braukman III joined BTI Telecom as chief financial officer. He was previously CFO of GE's Information Technology Solutions business unit. ( www.btitele.com )

Hong Sun Lee was appointed CEO of Korea Thrunet Co. Ltd. Lee has been representative director and vice chairman of Korea Thrunet since February 2001 and was previously president and CEO of Softbank Korea Co. Ltd. ( www.thrunet.com )

Dave Marples has joined Global Inventures as VP of European Operations. He was formerly with Telcordia. ( www.globalinventures.com )

Pat Russo has joined Lucent Technologies as President and CEO. She had previously been Eastman Kodak CEO, but her long-term background had been with AT&T and Lucent. ( www.lucent.com )

Steven West was named COO of nCUBE Corp. He was previously president and CEO at Entera Inc. ( www.ncube.com )

(Please email people@bb-home.com to report a change in your position.)


Company News

--Acquisitions

Coller Capital has purchased 80 percent of Lucent New Ventures Group. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but industry speculation put the amount at about $100 million. ( www.collercapital.com ) ( www.lucent.com/newventures )

Covad Communications bought the assets of InternetConnect for $7.35 million in an auction by a US Bankruptcy Court. Covad has indicated that end users on the InternetConnect lines will be offered similar Covad services and will experience minimal service disruption. ( www.covad.com )

CSG Systems International is buying the billing and customer-care assets of Lucent Technologies for about $300 million. These assets consist mainly of Lucent's previously acquired Kenan Systems. ( www.csgsystems.com ) ( www.lucent.com )

Echelon has agreed to buy BeAtHome , a platform provider for web-based monitoring and control applications to the home, commercial and utility markets. ( www.echelon.com ) ( www.beathome.com )

Lantronix has acquired Premise Systems Inc. The companies are in synergistic businesses related to adding intelligence to and managing devices that have been network- and Internet-enabled. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. ( www.lantronix.com ) ( www.premisesystems.com )

Netro Corp. is buying the fixed wireless assets of AT&T Wireless , formerly known as Project Angel, in a deal valued at $45 million. The acquisition includes the development team, a license to intellectual property, equipment and proprietary software assets. Netro intends to market the technology to international customers and will begin adapting the technology immediately. ( www.srtelecom.com ) ( www.attws.com )

Paradyne Corp. acquired Elastic Networks for approximately $28.8 million in stock. ( www.paradyne.com ) ( www.elastic.com )

Western Multiplex and Proxim agreed to merge their businesses under the Proxim name. The deal is valued at roughly $216 million. The officers of the combined company will include Jonathan Zakin, currently Western Multiplex's chairman and CEO, who will retain those titles and David King, currently Proxim's Chairman and CEO, who will be president and COO. ( www.wmux.com ) ( www.proxim.com )

--Funding

Boingo Wireless has raised $15 million in first round financing (see below). ( www.boingo.com )

Ensemble Communications , a supplier of systems for broadband wireless access, announced $25 million in additional equity financing. ( www.ensemble.com )

Everest Broadband Networks , a metropolitan broadband services provider, completed its fourth round of financing of $16 million, bringing their total capitalization to $88 million. [Editors Note: We really like the positioning of broadband on their opening Web page: "The new essential. Electric lights, indoor plumbing, broadband?"] ( www.everestbroadband.com )

Motorola has made an investment in Magis Networks to help fund the continued development of its 802.11a wireless chipsets. The companies also announced a technical services agreement to accelerate adoption of Magis' 5 GHz wireless technology as part of a broadband-cable home networking standard. ( www.motorola.com ) ( www.magisnetworks.com )

Radiant Networks , a wireless broadband technology vendor, received $23 million in its third funding round. ( www.radiantnetworks.com )

SBC Communications agreed to purchase a 3 percent stake in Yahoo from Softbank America Inc. The deal expands on an earlier agreement to offer a co-branded, premium DSL and dial-up service to be launched in mid- 2002. Financial terms were not released. ( www.sbc.com ) ( www.yahoo.com ) ( www.softbank.com )

--Other News

AT&T Broadband launched its home-networking service using networking equipment from Linksys. AT&T Broadband will charge an additional $4.95 a month for each additional IP address on the home network and reportedly gets a cut on Linksys equipment sold via the program. ( www.attbroadband.com ) ( www.computers4sure.com/linksys/store/att_startup.asp )

Boingo is a new Wireless ISP headed by Sky Dayton, the founder and chairman of EarthLink. The company will give customers access to over 750 US public high speed Internet connections in places like hotels, airports and coffee shops, using Wi-Fi (802.11b) wireless broadband "hot spots". Boingo software will locate a signal in these locations and connect to the Internet at speeds of up to 11 Mbps with a single log-on. Boingo is partnering with local Wi-Fi networks and connecting them. ( www.boingo.com ) ( www.earthlink.com )

Broadjump has added European cable company NTL to its list of customers using their software for installation and customer service. This is Broadjump's first European win after being adopted in North America by operators such as AT&T Broadband, Bell Canada, BellSouth, Charter, Cox, SBC, Sprint, and Time Warner Cable. ( www.broadjump.com ) ( www.ntl.com )

CableLabs published the OpenCableô Application Platform (OCAPô) software specification, OCAP 1.0. OCAP enhances the ability for consumer electronics manufacturers to build and market set-top boxes or integrated television receivers directly to consumers. Informal interoperability tests will start in March. OCAP is the product of several year's work by the cable industry to hammer out open specification for interactive entertainment applications running in digital set-top boxes. Leading cable operators have committed "to support CableLabs-certified, OCAP-enabled devices once such equipment becomes commercially available". ( www.cablelabs.com ) ( www.opencable.com/specifications.html ).

CableLabs also announced completion of DOCSIS 2.0 specifications for an advanced generation of cable modems. Test plans are being finalized for interoperability testing in Q1 and possible certification testing in Q3. The goal of 2.0 is to add throughput in the upstream portion of the cable plant - enabling bi-directional 30 Mbps capacity. [Readers will know that we have been enthusiastic about DOCSIS 1.1 which is just coming to market. Since DOCSIS 2.0 modems will require different chips, 1.1 modems cannot be upgraded to 2.0. Several sources have expressed concern that cable operators may delay deploying 1.1 and instead wait for 2.0.] ( www.cablelabs.com )

C-COR.net made official the announcement that they have an agreement with AOL Time Warner Inc. to implement their Integrated Service Management System (ISMS) application software at three Time Warner Cable systems during 2002. As we reported last month, AOL Time Warner's initial deployment is in its Tampa, Florida system. ( www.c-cor.net ) ( www.aoltimewarner.com )

DirecTV and EchoStar have both expanded the number of local TV channels they provide in the markets where they provide local channels by satellite. This lineup expansion enables them to meet the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act's federal "must carry" requirement that went into effect on January 1. ( www.directv.com ) ( www.echostar.com )

The Future of Music's second annual Policy Summit was held in Washington, DC during the same week as CES. It brought together an unusual mix of attendees including musicians, members of Congress, copyright lawyers, recording-company executives, computer experts and Internet entrepreneurs to discuss and debate the impact of the Internet and new technology on musicians and the industries surrounding them. ( www.futureofmusic.org/events/summit0102/ )

i-CABLE Communications, InnoMedia and Cybersys Computer Ltd announced a market trial of VoIP phone service on i-CABLE's cable network. The market trial will use Innomedia's H.323 broadband voice solution and will target 45,000 Hong Kong households. Cybersys will provide maintenance and support. ( www.i-cablecomm.com ) ( www.innomedia.com ) ( www.cyber-sys.com.hk )

IDC released a new report on broadband Internet access in Latin America. It reports that broadband Internet access accounts in Latin America grew by 175% in 2001 [it should be noted that they include ISDN as well as DSL, cable and other higher speed alternatives in their definition of broadband]. The report says that 2001 was the first year when DSL Internet access surpassed the sum of all other broadband technologies, partly because of the great adoption of ADSL in Brazil. ( www.idc.com )

LinCsat Communications, a subsidiary of Imark Corporation, has agreed to offer DirecWay high-speed Internet broadband services to customers in Canada. LinCsat is Hughes' first "Powered By" partner in Canada and plans to launch the service nationwide in that country during the 1Q2002. ( www.lincsat.com )

Lugh Networks, a development firm specializing in home powerline networking solutions, has signed deals with several different players in the powerline networking field including Inari, ITRAN and Cogency Semiconductor. ( www.lughnetworks.com ) ( www.inari.com ) ( www.itrancomm.com ) ( www.cogency.com )

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) won an important case for cable when the US Supreme Court ruled that the Pole Attachments Act does cover attachments that provide high-speed Internet access at the same time as cable TV. This means that utility companies cannot charge higher prices for cable attachments to utility poles just because cable operators provide customers high speed Internet as well as video services. ( www.ncta.com )

OpenTV and AT&Tís Headend In The Sky (HITS) have signed a multi-year agreement for the delivery of an interactive television solution for HITS affiliates. OpenTV will bundle its interactive TV middleware with content from its content subsidiary. Through HITS, more than 275 affiliated cable operators can build their own suite of interactive offerings for local deployment. ( www.opentv.com ) ( www.hits.com )

SerCoNet CEO, Yehuda Binder, has indicated that the company expects to be moving into retail distribution of their "home outlets" with Leviton . SerCoNet develops Ethernet backbone networking solutions for homes and small offices over existing telephone wires. ( www.serconet.co.il ) ( www.leviton.com )

Speakeasy and Listen.com have teamed to distribute a digital music subscription service, called Rhapsody, to Speakeasy's DSL customers. Rhapsody is targeted to broadband subscribers and offers online radio, on-demand music playback, music information and recommendations. Listen.com has signed three licensing deals with major record labels, most recently with Sony Music Entertainment. Rhapsody is in competition with pressplay (backed by Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group) and MusicNet (backed by RealNetworks, AOL Time Warner, Bertelsmann and EMI Group. ( www.speakeasy.net ) ( www.listen.com )

Western Power, the main power company in the state of Western Australia, is planning to begin a 12 month broadband services pilot, including high-speed Internet access and video-on-demand to homes and small businesses. Perth, the state's capitol, doesn't have as extensive a cable TV infrastructure as cities like Melbourne and Sydney. The utility is planning to install optical fiber at the same time as it replaces its aerial power lines. Marconi has been chosen to supply Western Power with broadband networking equipment for the pilot. ( www.wpcorp.com.au ) ( www.marconi.com )


Public Policy

US: The Technology Network (TechNet) , a network of senior management from hi-tech companies, released a report calling on the federal government to develop a national broadband policy with a goal of 100 megabits per second to 100 million homes and small businesses by the end of the decade. As an interim step by the end of 2004, the group calls for at least 6 Mbps from two or more providers to at least 50 percent of U.S. households and small businesses. ( www.technet.org )

We agree with TechNet's view that policies encouraging investment in new broadband infrastructure and encouraging a truly competitive environment are critical for the United States in maintaining a leadership role. ( www.technet.org/news/newsreleases//2002-01-15.62.phtml )

Germany: German telecom regulators at RegTP opened an investigation of Deutsche Telekom's broadband Internet access fees, which it claims have been set below cost. DT has now announced it will be raising prices by about one third. The monthly DSL access fee will go from EUR10.18 to EUR12.99 for new customers, starting in February. The one time connection fee is also being raised. Dow Jones reports that Deutsche Telekom has 2.2 million DSL customers, equivalent to 97% of the German broadband market. ( www.telekom.de )