BBH Report Home Page
September 9, 2002 Provided by System Dynamics Inc.

Heard on the Net

News about People and Companies Influencing The Broadband Home


People News

Colleen Abdoulah has been named President and COO of WideOpenWest (WOW). Colleen was formerly an EVP with AT&T Broadband. ( www.wideopenwest.com )

Greg Ballard has been appointed Interim CEO of SONICblue, replacing Ken Potashner. Ballard was previously their EVP for Marketing and Product Management. ( www.sonicblue.com )

Steve Boogar has been named CEO of Digital Deck, Inc.. He was formerly COO of NEC Computers Inc. ( www.digitaldeck.com )

Merrill Brown has been appointed Senior VP at RealNetworks, tasked with running RealNetworks' RealOne subscription video and audio service. He was formerly with MSNBC.com. ( www.realnetworks.com )

William G. Carson has been promoted to Senior VP of Operations at Escient Convergence Corp. ( www.escient.com )

Mark Dzuban has been appointed EVP, Cable Telephony Deployment at Cedar Point Communications. Dzuban was founder of Hatteras House Consulting and previously Senior VP, telephony engineering & operations for AT&T Broadband. ( www.cedarpointcom.com )

Dave Fellows will become the CTO of the merged AT&T Comcast cable business after completion of the pending merger. He is currently CTO of AT&T Broadband. Brad Dusto, the current Comcast CTO, will become president of the merged compnay's Mountain Division. ( www.comcast.com )

Chad Gibbons was appointed Sales Director, Americas, focusing on Client Solutions at Thirdspace. Prior to joining Thirdspace, he established the North American operation of Tuxia. ( www.thirdspace.tv )

Maureen Govern has been appointed CTO of Convergys and Larry Schwartz has been named EVP of North American Operations for their Information Management Group. ( www.convergsys.com )

Steve Heap has been appointed Chief Network Officer of ePHONE Telecom, Inc. He was previously with Aleron. ( www.ephonetelecom.com )

Randal Hinson has joined Eagle Broadband as its VP of sales and marketing. His previous position was with World Wide Packets. ( www.eaglebroadband.com )

Jonathan F. Miller was named Chairman and CEO of AOL. He was formerly President and CEO of USA Interactive's USA Information and Services. ( www.aoltimewarner.com )

David Novak has been promoted to VP of marketing at Pace Micro Technology - Americas. He will be responsible for identifying new business development opportunities in satellite, terrestrial, voice over IP and video telephony. ( www.pacemicro.com )

Mark A. Ross has been named CTO at Cypress Semiconductor. He was previously with Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems. ( www.cypress.com )

Oleh Sniezko has joined Aurora Networks as CTO. He was previously with AT&T Broadband.( www.aurora.com )

Tim Travaille, previously the EVP of finance and business development for Wink Communications, has been appointed interim chief operating officer of OpenTV. ( www.opentv.com )


Company News

--Acquisitions

Callahan Associates International, together with the shareholders of Telenet and the Mixed Intercommunales (MICs), announced the closing of the acquisition of the ‘Mixed Intercommunales’ cable networks in Flanders, Belgium. The acquisition values the MICs cable networks at approximately Euro 944 million. ( www.callahanassoc.com ) ( www.telenet.be )

Liberty Media agreed to buy the Netherlands' cable operator Casema from France Telecom, for Euro 750m in cash. ( www.libertymedia.com ) ( www.casema.com )

OnFiber Communications Inc. is acquiring most of the network assets and customer contracts of Telseon Inc. OnFiber declined to reveal a purchase price . ( www.onfiber.com ) ( www.telseon.com )

Universal Broadband Communications has purchased Cybertel Communications subsidiary AWI Global Technologies. Financial terms of the deal weren't released. ( www.ubcom.com )

--Funding

Axerra Networks has closed a $10 million second round of private financing. The company's technology enables integration of legacy services with emerging IP services over unified networks. ( www.axerra.com )

Broadbus Technologies, Inc. a provider of VoD server systems for the cable TV industry, announced the closing of its Series A-1 round of financing, raising more than $12 Million. Comcast Interactive Capital was one of the participating investors. ( www.Broadbus.com )

Country Road Communications LLC, a telecom formed in January 2000 to acquire rural local exchange carriers, or RLECs, received $32 million investment and a commitment of an additional $50 million to continue such acquisitions. An article in thedeal.com indicates that Country Road's strategy is to purchase family-owned businesses in rural and semi-rural locations, run operations more efficiently, invest in new technology as appropriate, and sell to a strategic buyer.

Dune Networks, a fab-less provider of semiconductors for communications platforms, raised $24 million in Series A funding. ( www.dunenetworks.com )

The FeedRoom, Inc., a broadband network operator for streaming video web sites, has raised $5.4 million from both new and existing investors. ( www.feedroom.com )

Garuda Networks a broadband solution provider, closed $4.7 million in second round financing ( www.garudanetworks.com )

Maxima, a developer of high-capacity optical wireless transmission systems, raised an additional $4.2 million in its Series A round, bringing the total raised to $7.2 million. ( www.maximacorporation.com )

Midstream Technologies, a video server company, raised $26 million in a third round of funding. ( www.midstream.com )

NuVox Communications Inc., a broadband telecommunications provider, has raised $78.5 million of additional capital to finance its operations. ( www.nuvox.com )

Trinity Convergence, a provider of integrated voice over IP enabling software, received $4.5 million in its Series B round of funding. ( www.trinityconvergence.com )

Wave7 Optics, Inc., a developer of optical access equipment for fiber-to-the-home networks, has raised a third round of funding totaling $15.5 million, ( www.wave7optics.com )

--Other News

AOL Time Warner Inc. is buying AT&T's 27.6 percent stake in Time Warner Entertainment in a deal valued at roughly $9 billion. The deal will give AOL complete control of its content businesses and includes a three-year, non-exclusive agreement to deliver AOL High-Speed Broadband service to 10 million AT&T Comcast homes. Once completed, AOL Time Warner has said it would conduct an initial public offering of Time Warner Cable. ( www.aoltimewarner.com ) ( www.att.com )

AtomFilms and Global Media Holdings have a new joint venture, AtomTelevision, which will launch a digital network in early '03 using Atom's library of short films and animation titles. As part of AtomTelevision's debut, the company announced the launch of its VOD initiative, Atom On Demand. The latter will provide five one hour-long programs to Comcast Cable as part of the MSO's planned fall VOD launch in Philadelphia. ( www.atomshockwave.com ) ( www.atomtelevision.com ) ( www.comcast.com )

CableLabs is consolidating its three currently separate testing prgoams in 2003. The DOCSIS cable modem test program will also include devices seeking PacketCable and CableHome compliance. The new test plan is accompanied by lower charges for certification testing of most devices. ( www.cablelabs.com )

China Netcom Corporation is using InnoMedia's standalone 4-voice port broadband VoIP CPE device to deliver voice services over its converged broadband IP network. Commercial VoIP service was first launched in June 2002 in Ningbo and will be extended to 9 major cities including Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou in phase 1, with more cities subsequently. ( www.cnc.net.cn ) ( www.innomedia.com )

Comcast, Broadcom, and Ucentric Systems announced plans for a joint trial in Philadelphia that uses cable television in-home coaxial infrastructure and HomePNA technology to create a home networking solution capable of delivering robust multi-media traffic and services. ( www.comcast.com ) ( www.broadcom.com ) ( www.ucentric.com )

Conexant and Intersil announced an agreement under which Intersil will provide Conexant with its PRISM Wi-Fi (802.11b) wireless local area network technology for integration into Conexant's next-generation DSL modems, cable modems and home networking chip sets. ( www.conexant.com ) ( www.intersil.com )

Covad Communications signed a five-year agreement providing AOL the ability to purchase wholesale DSL consumer services throughout Covad's U.S. network. Covad issued warrants for AOL to purchase 3.5 million shares of Covad common stock, having an estimated aggregate value of $3.5 million. ( www.covad.com ) ( www.aol.com )

Dremedia, a UK broadcasting technology group, signed an agreement through which CNN will use Dremedia's voice recognition software to enhance CNN's broadband internet content. The software picks out key words from a database and finds related Web articles and VOD background stories to which it can hyperlink, without losing the broadcast. CNN will launch the new product with cable and broadband operators across Europe, the Middle East and Africa from September 2002 onwards. ( www.dremedia.com ) ( www.cnn.com )

iVAST, a provider of MPEG-4 software, announced a partnership with Oracle Japan and Sun Microsystems K.K. to deliver MPEG-4 based interactive multimedia solutions to Japan's broadband, cable, satellite, wireless, enterprise and digital broadcast networks. ( www.ivast.com )

Mediabolic signed a deal with D&M Holdings, parent companies of DENON Electronics and Marantz. Mediabolic's entertainment middleware links devices such as TVs and stereos to PCs so that consumers can share digital music and video content. The D&M companies plan to include the software in future high-end stereo products; the technology will enable them to integrate digital rights management controls for copyright holders, as well as parental controls for families. The agreement includes a minority investment in Mediabolic by D&M Holdings. ( www.mediabolic.com ) ( www.dm-holdings.com )

M-TEC BROADBAND has announced the spin-off of M-TEC SERVICE, which offers European cable operators full service maintenance of various manufacturers' products. ( www.mtecbroadband.com ) ( www.mteccableservice.com )

Microsoft announced that Xbox Live online broadband gaming network will officially go live on November 15, although there is an opportunity to use the Beta pre-release version earlier. Gamers can purchase a $49 online kit that will include a headset microphone, a 1-year subscription to Xbox Live, and software for accessing a broadband Internet connection. ( www.microsoft.com ) ( www.xbox.xom )

Microsoft demonstrated the beta version of Windows Media Player 9 Series, a next-generation digital media platform, formerly code-named Corona. ( www.microsoft.com )

Motive Communications has released its automated service and support offering to handle the needs of home networking customers. The solution is targeted at broadband providers, ISPs, retailers, and warranty service companies to enable them to offer managed services to consumers for installing, troubleshooting and managing home networks. ( www.motive.com )

Nielsen Media Research will begin measuring personal video recorder activity in about 20 "sample households" through a software partnership with Tivo Inc. The software will extract information from Tivo on tuning, recording and playback. ( www.nielsenmedia.com ) ( www.tivo.com )

Nintendo will begin selling an broadband adapter for GameCube in October in Japan, with later availability in the US. ( www.nintendo.com )

OpenTV announced it has agreements with eight local Chinese partners to port its interactive software to digital TV set-top boxes designed for the Chinese market. These partnerships include Coship Electronics Company Limited, which has a significant percentage of the satellite and cable receiver market in China. ( www.opentv.com )

Orange the British mobile phone operator, launched a picture messaging service enabling customers to send photos using a Sony/Ericsson camera phone. The company will charge users .62 Euros for each picture message sent. T-Mobile, which also offers picture messaging in the UK, charges a flat rate of about 32 Euros/month for its service. Orange and T-Mobile picture services currently work only on their own networks. J-Phone, a subsidiary of Vodafone Group, originally launched its picture mail service in Japan in November 2000, where it was surprisingly successful. The new services are developing as a result of new camera-equipped cell phones coming to market; Sharp's newest phone, which went on sale in August in Japan, contains 5MB of memory. ( www.orange.com ) ( www.t-mobile.co.uk )

PanAmSat Corporation introduced two new digital content delivery services: Video on Demand (VOD) and Digital Store & Forward (DSF). Intertainer is working with PanAmSat to distribute VOD content to its cable affiliate partners via satellite. DSF enables production companies to use satellite links rather than shipping analog tapes to deliver content around the globe. ( www.panamsat.com ) ( www.intertainer.com )

Ricochet Networks Inc. has re-launched high speed wireless service in Denver. RNI worked out a public/private partnership with the city, giving it modems and service in exchange for the joint development and deployment of municipal and public safety applications. The service is reported to now run at 176 kbps and higher, and costs $44.95 a month. Before its bankruptcy, Metricom had built its network in 21 US cities, offering wireless connections at 128 kbps. ( www.ricochet.com )

Sony has announced a personal video recorder (PVR) with broadband connectivity, which will be launched in Japan in November. The unit is part of a series called "CoCoon", which stands for COnnected COmmunity On Network. The unit will have a 160 gigabyte hard drive and runs on Linux. ( www.sony.com )

Starbucks is providing 1,200 of its US cafes and select cafes in London and Berlin with a Wi-Fi-based local area network. The network service is provided through T-Mobile International, a Deutsche Telekom wireless subsidiary. For PC configuration, HP has released the free Wireless Connection Manager which automatically senses and connects to available wireless networks; it can be downloaded from the Starbucks Web site. ( www.starbucks.com/hotspot )

Verizon is testing BeamReach Networks' broadband fixed wireless technology for delivering broadband services in Fairfax County, VA. The trial is intended to determine if it can supplement and expand delivery of Verizon's DSL service. ( www.verizon.com ) ( www.beamreachnetworks.com )

--Industry Organizations

The Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) Council indicates that U.S. FTTH installations increased substantially in the past year. Their new list details 50 communities in 16 states that use FTTH. ( www.ftthcouncil.org )

The Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA), announced approval of a joint technology proposal by Broadcom Corporation and CopperGate Communication, Inc. for the HomePNA 3.0 next-generation specification, claiming a throughput rate up to 128 Mbps and Quality of Service (QoS). HomePNA 3.0 technology will coexist with other services such as POTS, ISDN, and ADSL, and is backwards compatible and interoperable with currently deployed HomePNA 2.0 network components. The Voice-over-HomePNA protocol, which extends HomePNA 2.0 by enabling eight simultaneous high-quality voice streams within the home, will also be supported by version 3.0. ( www.homepna.org )

--Legal/Regulatory

US: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to require TV manufacturers to include digital tuners in almost every television sold. The commission's order requires manufacturers to include digital tuners, either as part of the set itself or as external units, in all sets 35 inches or larger, phasing them in over a year beginning July 1, 2004. A year later, that rule would extend to all televisions with screens from 25 to 35 inches. By July 1, 2007, all televisions with screens 13 inches and larger would be covered. Once the switch to digital television is complete, the commission is slated to reclaim the broadcast spectrum used for analog TV and sell it. Under the law, that can happen only after 85 percent of households have digital televisions. Most TV manufacturers oppose the new commission rule. ( www.fcc.gov )

--Broadband Growth: Some Tidbits on Broadband Growth in Various Countries

The UK: In August 2000, after a visit to the UK we wrote about how much of the broadband focus there was on the TV and how small the broadband PC penetration was at that time. Recent news articles suggest that has changed dramatically in the intervening time. Here are a few of the news items:

  • Europemedia.net reports that "over the past six months, UK Internet access via ADSL increased by 60%". They went on to say that 8% of UK Internet users have broadband. ( www. europemedia.net )
  • Van Dusseldorp & Partners report on NTL (the UK cable network operator) indicates NTL has 37% of the UK broadband market; Telewest has 23%; and BT has the rest: BT Openworld/BT Broadband (17%), BT Wholesale (15%), and BT Business (8%). ( www.tvmeetstheweb.com ) ( www.ntl.com ) ( www.telewest.com ) ( www.bt.com )
  • BT Retail signed a major marketing deal with BSkyB, allowing it to sell BT Retail's no-frills broadband package at a discount to its subscriber base. Commercial launch is expected by year-end. ( www.sky.com )
  • Two BT programs have been in the news to target underserved areas: (1) BT Wholesale has a program under which those wishing DSL in unserved exchanges can register their interest with independent providers. When registrations reach a target level, the exchange is added to the upgrade schedule. (2) BT is going to test a new way to bring ADSL to rural locations where previously it was not commercially viable. The concept trial, beginning this autumn, will involve a sponsoring body with a social, development or commercial interest in bringing broadband to specific areas. The sponsoring organization will team up with a broadband ISP of their choice to aggregate demand, source funding and deliver service. The trials will use new broadband ADSL exchange equipment and can be deployed in much smaller units than currently.

Japan: Broadband subscribers in Japan divide by access method as follows:

  • Cable: 1.62 million
  • DSL: 3.3 million
  • FTTH: 68,600

Almost 5 million people subscribed to a broadband Internet connection service, up 300 per cent from June 2001. (source: the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications as of June 2002, via Nikkei)

Canada: The Canadian government is spending $105 million Canadian to promote development of broadband infrastructure in the country's underserved communities. The funds will be available to not-for-profit organizations that want to bring broadband access to rural and northern communities currently without broadband access. The funds are part of the Broadband for Rural and Northern Development Pilot Program. The Canadian national target is to bring high-speed Internet access to all Canadian communities by 2005. ( www.broadband.gc.ca )

Chile: As of 2Q02, cable modem operator VTR GlobalCom has 55,000 subscribers; Telefonica CTC Chile has 40,000 ADSL subscribers; local exchange operator Manquehue Net has about 16,000 ADSL subscribers in Santiago and Entel has about 25,000 customers for its ADSL and WLL broadband Internet services. ( www.unitedglobal.com/laFmain.html ) ( www.telefonicadechile.cl )

Worldwide: According to research from In-Stat/MDR, the worldwide number of Internet users with broadband connections has passed 30 million. DSL is generally in the lead except for the US, where cable modem services have a 2:1 led over DSL. ( www.instat.com )