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The April 23, 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

Joseph Costello was elected chairman of the board at Catena Networks. He had been president and CEO of Cadence Design Systems for more than a decade.( www.catena.com )

James de Castro was named president of AOL Interactive Services. He was previously CEO of AMFM Radio Group. In other AOL moves, Barry Schuler will lead AOL Time Warner's new Digital Services Development Group. He was previously Chairman and CEO of AOL. Bob Pittman will take over operating responsibilities at AOL and also continue as COO-elect of parent AOL Time Warner. ( www.aol.com ) ( www.aoltimewarner.com )

Joe Franzetta has joined GoldPocket Interactive as senior VP of corporate development and strategic partnerships. He was previously at Mixed Signals Technologies, Inc. ( www.goldpocket.com )

Dan Massiello has joined Sonexis, Inc. as CEO and president. He was previously with 3Com, which had acquired his prior company, NBX. ( www.sonexis.com )

Scott Morrison has been named director of market strategy at Narad Networks' new European headquarters in Guildford, England. Bernd Overbeck was named director of Narad's central-eastern and southern European sales. ( www.naradnetworks.com )

Matthew R. Perry, Ph.D. has been named president and CEO of Transmeta Corporation. He was previously with Cirrus Logic. ( www.transmeta.com )

Erik Semmelhack has been appointed VP of Business Development at Gotham Broadband. He is charged with growing Gotham's relationships with cable, DSL, satellite, and media companies. He was previously at Red Sky Interactive. ( www.gothambroadband.com )

Philip Verges has been appointed CEO and chairman of IPVoice Communications. ( www.ipvoice.com )


Company News

--Acquisitions

Apple Computer has acquired Zayante (formerly known as FireFly), which makes IEEE 1394 (FireWire) chips and software. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. ( www.apple.com )

Broadcom Corp. agreed to purchase Mobilink Telecom, which creates chips for cell phones and PDAs, for stock worth about $258 million. ( www.broadcom.com ) ( www.mobilinktel.com )

Texas Instruments Inc. is buying Ditech Communications' Telinnovation echo-cancellation software unit for $26.8 million. The unit will become part of TI's Broadband Communications Group. ( www.ti.com )

--Funding

Anark Corp., developers of an interactive multimedia platform for digital media applications, has closed an additional $2.3 million in its series B equity financing. ( www.anark.com )

China International Trust and Investment Corp. (CITIC) is investing $72.5 million in Great Wall Broadband Network Service Co Ltd., the Beijing-based network service company. CITIC, the state owned conglomerate, believes the investment will help promote the development of China's broadband network market. ( www.citic.com/english/index.asp )

Ellipsis Digital Systems has obtained $4.3 million in first round financing from private investors. ( www.ellipsisdigital.com )

IP Communications, a broadband data networking services provider, has gotten $20 million committed from investors for Series C financing, with an option for up to an additional $10 million. ( www.ip.net )

Kasenna, a startup that makes broadband infrastructure software for VOD and streaming video and audio, received an investment from Sun Microsystems. The amount was not disclosed. ( www.kasenna.com )

Lumentis AB has raised an additional $19m. ( www.lumentis.se )

Myrio Corporation, a provider of software technology enabling delivery of Digital TV over broadband networks, announced closing an additional $8 million in financing. ( www.myrio.com )

Redline Communications a broadband fixed wireless access equipment provider has raised $6.3 million. ( www.redlinecommunications.com )

Syndeo Corp. has raised $75 million in a third round of venture capital to advance their class 5 softswitch technology for telephone services over cable. The funding sources include venture arms of five of the eight largest North American cable operators. ( www.syndeocorp.com )

--Other News

BT seems to be getting more serious about trying to attract broadband customers. They have followed last month's price cut by saying they will offer wireless local access networks for consumers. They also announced that Microsoft is the launch customer for a new BT broadband teleworking service which uses DSL and creates a VPN to provide secure broadband access from for teleworkers to their office networks. The Wall Street Journal quoted their relatively new CEO, Mr. Verwaayen, as saying "broadband is the future for BT". ( www.bt.com )

ClearStar USA will bundle iVAST's platform in its set-top box, which it sells through cable operators that want to offer interactive broadband services. iVAST's platform contains its MPEG-4 product line, including a media player, an encoder and a server. iVAST and ClearStar are currently integrating and developing systems, with a beta deployment planned for May and a full deployment to begin in August 2002. Initial deployments will be in Mexico and Asia/Pacific. ( www.clearstar.tv ) ( www.ivast.com )

DivXNetworks, Inc. announced a partnership with e.Digital Corporation to jointly develop and market a range of consumer electronics devices that play back DivX video, including handhelds, DVD players, set-top boxes and digital cameras. DivX is based on MPEG-4-compatible compression technology. ( www.divxnetworks.com ) ( www.edig.com )

DirecTV Broadband Inc. will be offering customers their DirecTV DSL gateway, starting in the third quarter. It will use Texas Instruments' AR5V10 DSL gateway system to provide 2 digital voice lines, supply data routing and home-networking interfaces. ( www.directvdsl.com ) ( www.ti.com )

EchoStar Communications Corp. signed marketing agreements with both SBC Communications Inc. and EarthLink, thereby providing EchoStar's Dish Network a chance to offer bundled services in competition with cable. EchoStar is reportedly negotiating with several other companies about matching DSL service with Dish Network's satellite TV service. People who buy DSL service and satellite TV receive up to $5 off each service. ( www.dishnetwork.com ) ( www.sbc.com ) ( www.earthlink.net )

EdgeStream launched its Streaming Video Delivery Network (SVDN) which it claims is a totally new approach to streaming across the public Internet. It addresses the "middle mile" Internet congestion/latency issue. ( www.edgestream.com )

GoldPocket Interactive developed a new set of open interactive television standards based on a form of Extensible Markup Language (XML) which was released at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show. The standards are supported by many companies in the industry, including AOL Time Warner and Sony. ( www.goldpocket.com )

Lucent Technologies announced its new Stinger solution for delivering IP video over DSL. It adds a very high bit rate DSL (VDSL) line card, integrated IP multicast support and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. A SaskTel rep said his company plans on incorporating at least some of the bundled services, such as broadcast TV and VOD, now available with the Stinger. ( www.lucent.com ) ( www.sasktel.com )

Mediabolic, Inc. hosted an Interoperability Forum in Tokyo, promoting cooperation between leading consumer electronics, personal computer, and semiconductor companies to define desired levels of interoperability among products, pool marketing resources and quickly release compelling entertainment products. Forum attendees represented Pioneer Corporation, Compaq Computer, Denon, Ltd., and Cirrus Logic Inc. The Mediabolic ONE platform implements support for open standards such as UPnP, RTP / RTSP, HTTP, and TCP/IP. It enables stand-alone and connected devices to share media, use common interfaces, and interoperate. ( www.mediabolic.com )

Microsoft has jointly agreed with Mexico to develop digital community centers for rural Mexican towns, providing free public Internet access. The NY Times reports this is part of Mexico's "eMexico initiative" to bring the country online by 2006. ( www.microsoft.com ) ( www.precisa.gob.mx )

MovieLink, the video-on-demand service being developed by Sony, Paramount, MGM, Warner Bros. and Universal will use MPEG-4 technology when delivering movies over the Internet to consumer's PCs, according to Peter Marx, VP of emerging technologies with Vivendi Universal. Subsequent to his speech at NAB, Marx clarified that the service has not yet committed to only one format. ( www.movielink.com )

MVS Comunicaciones, a producer of TV and radio programming in Mexico and Latin America, selected NextNet Wireless, a developer of non line-of-sight (NLOS) broadband wireless access systems, to deliver high-speed Internet access to over 28 million potential subscribers in Mexico's three largest cities. MVS will deploy broadband wireless services in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey beginning this summer, and plans a 9-city nationwide rollout covering 50% of Mexico's population by the end of 2003. MVS holds the MMDS (2.5 - 2.686 GHz) spectrum covering 70% of Mexico's 97 million residents. ( www.mvs.com ) ( www.nextnetwireless.com )

--Public Policy/Regulatory News

Korea: The Financial Times reports that the Korean government will extend a total of 80 billion won in loans to broadband Internet service providers in order to help spread the service across the nation. The Korean Ministry of Information and Communication said it will provide 37.18 billion won in loans to No. 2 broadband carrier Hanaro Telecom Inc., 24.11 billion won to cable network operator Powercomm, 11.9 billion won to state-run telecom giant KT Corp. and 6.51 billion won to fixed-line carrier Dacom Corp. [Note $1 US=1306 won] Korea is widely regarded as a frontrunner in offering broadband services to households. The ministry projects that around 10 million households will be connected to broadband by year-end. That would translate to 70 percent of all Korean households having access to broadband networks, up from the current 55 percent. The ministry is also promoting a wireless information infrastructure to offer multimedia services to business people on the move. ( www.mic.go.kr/eng/jsp/main.jsp )

Singapore: About one in three or 950,000 Singapore residents is now on broadband. April 2002 has been designated Broadband Month, part of a program called e-Celebrations 2002 "to help every Singaporean start, supplement and sustain their e-Lifestyle". We recently heard from Janet Chiew of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), whom we met at a Broadband Home conference we ran last year. IDA is now rolling out an industry initiative called the Connected Homes Programme and she invites readers of this report to consider their company's participation. The program's objective is to encourage both local and foreign companies to propose innovative and integrated end-to-end solutions for the home. It creates a testbed for companies to collaborate, develop and pilot their solutions in real life homes in Singapore. More information is available at ( www.ida.gov.sg ) under Key Programmes> Connected Homes Programme. IDA is conducting an industry briefing in Singapore to provide details on the collaboration process on 25 Apr 2002; registration information is on the Web site.

UK: The UK is launching UK Online Interactive, a national pilot service that will provide public access to government services, using digital interactive TV. Making interactive services available by TV is seen as a step toward fulfilling the UK's objective to ensure universal access to the Internet by 2005. The Office of the e-Envoy announced that the service will first be accessible in almost six million UK homes through digital satellite TV via British Sky Broadcasting and ITV Active. Over the next few months the Financial Times says it will also be accessible via cable operators Telewest and NTL. The first central government service to use interactive digital TV nationally is ChildcareLink, part of the Department for Education and Skills' thrust to make childcare information more accessible. ( www.letsallgeton.gov.uk ) ( www.e-envoy.gov.uk ) ( www.childcarelink.gov.uk )

US: FCC Chairman Michael Powell released a "voluntary plan" that would commit content programmers, TV broadcasters, cable, DBS and TV manufacturers to reach specific targets for digital TV (DTV) transition. See ( www.fcc.gov/commissioners/powell/mkp_proposal_to_speed_dtv_transition.pdf )