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The November 24, 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

Marc Aldrich has been appointed VP of North American Sales at Narad Networks. He was previously Cisco Systems' director of U.S. cable field sales and engineering. ( www.naradnetworks.com )

Matthew Bross was appointed CTO at BT. He was previously with Williams Communications, LLC. ( www.bt.com )

Michael Hogan has joined SiRiFIC Wireless as President and CEO. Prior to joining SiRiFIC, he was a General Manager at Texas Instruments. ( www.sirific.com )

Ted Leonsis was named President of the America Online interactive service after James de Castro resigned. Lisa Brown has been named EVP, Interactive Marketing at AOL; she was formerly President and CEO of USA Electronic Commerce Solutions LLC. ( www.aol.com )

Peter Mondics was named president and CEO of Predictive Networks. He most recently was co-founder and general manager of TVGateway. ( www.predictivenetworks.com )

Alison Ritchie, the chief executive of BTopenworld, has been appointed as BT's first chief broadband officer, with the mission of directing the company's policy on broadband across the whole of BT Group. ( www.bt.com )

Alan E. "Lanny" Ross has been named interim COO at Broadcom.( www.broadcom.com )

Craig M. Waggy has been appointed as OpenTV’s CFO, Mark H. Allen has been appointed General Counsel, and Scott Doyle has been appointed Chief Intellectual Property Officer. They will also retain their current duties with Liberty Broadband Interactive Television (LBIT). ( www.opentv.com )

Maggie Wilderotter has been named senior VP of business strategy at Microsoft. She was previously President and CEO of Wink Communications Inc. ( www.microsoft.com )


Company News

--Acquisitions

Fidelio Acquisition Company LLC, a company formed by Sony Corp. of America and Royal Philips Electronics, is acquiring InterTrust Technologies Corp., holder of substantial Digital Rights Management (DRM) intellectual property, for $453 million. ( www.sony.com ) ( www.philips.com ) ( www.intertrust.com )

Liberty Media terminated its agreement with France Telecom to buy N.V. Casema because of concerns from Dutch regulators. ( www.libertymedia.com ) ( www.ft.com ) ( www.cassema.com )

Motive Communications, Inc., is acquiring Broadjump Inc. in a stock-for-stock transaction. ( www.motive.com ) ( www.broadjump.com )

Roxio Inc. is acquiring the assets of Napster Inc., for $5 million in cash and 100,000 warrants to purchase Roxio common stock. ( www.roxio.com )

Simple Access Inc. has acquired Intel Network Systems (formerly Shiva Corporation) from Intel Corporation and will rename itself Shiva Corporation. ( www.intel.com ) ( www.shiva.com )

--Funding

Broadbus Technologies Inc., a video-on-demand and streaming-media server company, has received more than $12 million in funds from Charles River and other VC funds, including Comcast's. ( www.broadbus.com )

CIRPACK, a vendor of next generation telephony equipment, closed an investment round for over 4 million euros. ( www.cirpack.com )

Flarion Technologies, provider of OFDM mobile broadband systems, has received an investment from SK Telecom; the amount was not disclosed. Flarion's PC 1000 wireless PC cards are installed in field trial users' laptops and PDAs, providing broadband Internet access and other IP applications with full mobility. ( www.flarion.com )

Narad Networks, a provider of business broadband solutions, has secured an additional $16.25 million in financing. ( www.naradnetworks.com )

Sand Video, which has real-time video compression technology based on the emerging H.264/MPEG-4 part 10 standard, has received an $8 million equity investment. ( www.sandvideo.com )

SiRiFIC Wireless Corporation, a developer of RF integrated circuits for wireless products, has completed a US$11.5 million (Cdn$18 million) equity financing round. ( www.sirific.com )

--Other News

BT Group plans to begin trials in 2003 of a "midband" Internet access service that will run at 128 kbps -- that is, slower than broadband but faster than dial-up. NTL also has a midband product. Such offerings are being increasingly introduced as a bridge to full broadband or for those with less demanding needs. ( www.bt.com )

CableLabs' DOCSIS specification has received the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) award for Intelligent Community Technology of the Year. The ICF focuses on the uses of broadband technology for economic development by communities. ( www.cablelabs.com ) ( www.worldteleport.org )

Comcast Corp. and AT&T Broadband have combined, with the new entity being called Comcast Corp. rather than AT&T Comcast, as originally proposed. The new unit has an aggregate value of about $60 billion, over 21.4 million subscribers, 59,000 employees and presence in 41 US states. ( www.comcast.com )

Cox Communications is one of the US cable operators now offering home networking. See http://support.cox.net/custsup/homenetworking/homenetworking_faq.shtml#3 for their pricing and positioning. ( www.cox.net )

Intel is expected to introduce its Banias line of processor chips for mobile computing in early 2003, containing built-in Wi-Fi functions and supporting both 802.11a and 802.11b. ( www.intel.com )

Intersil and ViXS Systems displayed an 802.11a-based home video networking system at Comdex. The technology can provide up to eight broadcast-quality video streams to different wireless clients simultaneously. Intersil and Ubicom also demonstrated an 802.11g access point using the Intersil PRISM GT chip. ( www.intersil ) ( www.vixs.com ) ( www.ubicom.com )

Jungo has released OpenRGT v2.1, a CableHome 1.0-ready software platform for residential gateways and Home Access (HA) devices. They also announced availability of complementary Network Management System (NMS) modules, their CableHome-ready Kerberos server and SNMP client. ( www.jungo.com )

Kreatel Communications and Minerva Networks announced the integration of the Minerva iTVManager with the Kreatel IP-STB System, providing a solution to deliver advanced television services over fiber as well as xDSL networks. ( www.kreatel.com ) ( www.minervanetworks.com )

Legerity has introduced a new family of voice ICs for enabling the connection of telephone lines to DSL and cable modem equipment. Legerity says its new devices are also a good fit for fiber to the home (FTTH), ATM passive optical network (APON), and voice over IP (VoIP) applications. ( www.legerity.com )

MeshNetworks, Inc. announced US FCC regulatory approval for their mobile wireless broadband and MeshLAN™ Multi-Hopping 802.11 network products. MeshNetworks network architecture is based on ad hoc peer-to-peer (P2P) networking technology, where user devices become the network. ( www.meshnetworks.com )

Motorola Broadband Communications Sector formed a new unit, called the Motorola NETsolutions Group, to serve the design and deployment needs of broadband network operators worldwide. ( www.motorola.com/broadband )

Movielink LLC had an initial limited launch of its broadband Internet video-on-demand service which allows users to download major motion pictures for rental viewing. Suppliers and backers include MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Recent hits are priced at $4.95, with older films renting for $1.99, and film trailers, movie clips and still photographs available free to other site visitors. ( www.movielink.com )

N2H2 has publicized their Sentian filtering software to companies whose Internet bandwidth might be overloaded with employees downloading movies from services like Movielink. Other companies providing such filtering include FastTracker, ContentKeeper and FutureSoft. ( www.n2h2.com ) ( www.fatline.com ) ( www.contentkeeper.com ) ( www.futuresoft.com )

OTC Wireless Inc. has signed a contract to provide broadband wireless equipment to Ultranet to support its new wireless broadband service in the Dominican Republic and Caribbean Islands. Ultranet will initially target their broadband wireless service to businesses and resorts in the Dominican Republic. The second phase will deliver broadband Internet to the home. After the Dominican Republic, Ultranet is targeting other Caribbean and Latin American locations. ( www.otcwireless.com )

Sigma Designs and Vweb announced an MPEG-4 capable personal video recorder (PVR) reference design named Rhapsody, which uses the VW2005 MPEG-1, 2 and 4 encoder chip from Vweb, and EM8475 decoder chip from Sigma Designs. ( www.sigmadesigns.com ) ( www.vweb.com )

SyChip is making a PC card 802.11b modem for PDAs which will be available through retailers and wireless service providers early next year. ( www.sychip.com )

Terayon launched its line of cable modem extensions. The external add-on devices attach to Terayon’s TJ 700 DOCSIS cable modems, enabling them to support cable telephony, wireless home networking and other broadband services. Their initial version is the Vx™, which enables their modem to function as an embedded Multimedia Terminal Adapter (eMTA), supporting up to two lines of Voice-over-IP cable telephony service and high-speed Internet access. ( www.terayon.com )

TI announced its multimode wireless local area networking (WLAN) solution supporting IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b and the 802.11g draft standard, including support for enhanced security and QoS. TI´s Auto-Band™ technology, processor and system reference are designed to provide interoperability between the three different 802.11 physical layers, letting users roam with a continuous connection from an 802.11b network to 802.11a network, and eventually 802.11g, without manual adjustments. ( www.ti.com )

--Standards

ADSL terminology and standards have been on the move. ADSL2 is a recently completed and ITU approved standard that will supersede existing ADSL standards. ADSL2+ is an ADSL2 extension targeted for standards consent at the ITU in early 2003. ADSL2+ will permit doubling of ADSL2 bandwidth from 1.1 MHz to 2.2 MHz, thereby doubling the maximum downstream data rate to over 20 Mbps. This increase will be effective only on loops shorter than 8,000 feet. ADSL2 is often called ADSL+ by the technical community.

( www.aware.com/products/dsl/gbisadsl2.htm )

--Reports

Although the market penetration of personal video recorders has not been dramatic, a new report indicates that the behavioral shifts of those who own them are. We received an excerpt of NextResearch's report, PVR Monitor Wave III from Ucentric.

Significant findings from the report include:

  • Despite watching more television, 22% of PVR owners do not watch it "live" at all and 1/2 watch live TV only 1-5 hours a week
  • For half the users, their reason for purchase was wanting an easy way to record favorite programs; only 10% purchased PVRs to avoid watching commercials
  • News and sports are the top two types of programs watched live
  • 60% say they rent fewer movies
  • 74% say they want one for every TV
  • What users value most is "CONTROL - customization, personalization".

Jennifer Choate of C Cubed, LLC, who conducted the study, summarized the bottom line: "PVRs hold the potential for what consumers may well want -- PROACTIVE TV." The excerpt is available at http://www.nextresearch.com/media/PVRMonitorWaveIIIFinal_ExcerptOnly.pdf .

--Briefly Noted

US: The FCC released its Spectrum Policy Task Force's report, which said U.S. spectrum management rules should evolve from the current "command and control" model into a more flexible and market-oriented regulatory model. The task force recommended providing incentives for users to migrate to more technologically innovative and economically efficient uses of the spectrum, since new technologies combined with new policies could enable that change. The report is available at ( www.fcc.gov/sptf ).

Subsequently, two US senators sent a letter to their colleagues, encouraging more unlicensed spectrum be devoted for broadband. They intend to pursue legislation and have created a working draft of a bill called the "Jumpstart Broadband Act." The draft legislation calls for the FCC to allocate not less than 255 megahertz of contiguous spectrum below 6 gigahertz for unlicensed use by wireless broadband devices.

The new paradigm: Broadband = Innovation

A recent article in the New York Times (15Nov02), describing Hu Jintao's naming as chief of the Chinese Communist Party, reflected the current positioning of broadband support as symbolizing innovation: "... he is also the innovator who installed broadband Internet access at the Communist party school and encouraged academic debates about democracy and separation of powers."

China is indeed a place to watch as reports increasingly focus on broadband's adoption and potential there. Current statistics and projections for China are briefly summarized at http://cyberatlas.internet.com/markets/broadband/article/0,,10099_1490351,00.html

( www.nytimes.com )