BBH Report Home Page
February 23, 2003 Provided by System Dynamics Inc.

Heard on the Net

News about People and Companies Influencing The Broadband Home


People News

Andrew Audet was named CEO of Lemur Networks, a provider of business support systems for on-demand IP services delivery. Audet most recently was president and CEO of Chinook Communications. ( www.lemurnetworks.net )

Jeffrey Crosby was named VP of marketing for set-top products at Conexant Systems. Crosby was previously senior VP of DirecTV. ( www.conexant.com )

Tony Fallows was named VP of product marketing at Riverstone Networks. He was previously general manager and pre-sales director for EMEA. ( www.riverstonenetworks.com )

Norm Farquhar has joined Magis Networks as its CFO. Prior to joining Magis, he was CFO of AirPrime, Inc. ( www.magisnetworks.com )

George Hillier has become VP of Sales at Ucentric, joining the team focusing on network operator customers. Prior to Ucentric, Hillier was at OpenTV. ( www.ucentric.com )

Bjorn Kirchdorfer has joined Navini Networks as EVP of Commercial Operations. Previously, Kirchdorfer was a Vice President with IP Wireless ( www.navini.com )

Mark Laubach has become President and CEO of Broadband Physics, Inc. which is the new name taken by Rainmaker Technologies. ( www.broadbandphysics.com )

Steve Libbey has joined Cedar Point Communications as Regional VP, Sales. Libbey most recently was sales VP with ADC Broadband. ( www.cedarpointcom.com )

John Muleta has become chief of the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. Muleta was previously president and CEO of Source 1 Technologies. ( www.fcc.gov )

Carl Russo has become President and CEO of Calix, an access platform supplier to local exchange carriers. Prior to Calix, he was group VP of optical networking at Cisco Systems ( www.calix.com )

Peter Schultz has joined ICTV as director of solutions marketing. Schultz was formerly with Liberate Technologies. ( www.ictv.com )

Solomon Trujillo has been named CEO of France Telecom's Orange SA unit. Trujillo had been Chairman of US West until the completion of the merger with Qwest. ( www.francetelecom.com/en )

John Vaughan has become CEO of Syndeo. He most recently served as CEO of Cinta Networks. ( www.syndeocorp.com )


Company News

--Acquisitions

Alcatel has completed a deal to acquire iMagic TV for approximately $30 million. Alcatel previously owned 16 percent of iMagic TV, which develops software for delivering multi-channel TV and interactive video services over broadband networks. ( www.alcatel.com ) ( www.imagictv.com )

Alcatel is partnering with IPWireless to serve mobile operators who want to complement their GSM/GPRS and WCDMA service offerings with TDD broadband wireless services. The solution is especially suitable for coverage of "hot zones" such as dense business areas. The IPWireless solution delivers data rates of up to 3Mbps (1.5Mbps in a 5MHz channel) direct to users' laptops or PCs via a PC card. ( www.alcatel.com ) ( www.ipwireless.com )

Alvarion Ltd has agreed to acquire InnoWave ECI Wireless Systems Ltd. for $9.7 million in cash, and will grant warrants for purchasing 200,000 Alvarion shares over 5 years at $3 per share. ( www.alvarion.com ) ( www.innowave-ws.com )

Anderson Merchandisers, the music distributor for Wal-Mart, is buying Liquid Audio's digital music fulfillment business for $3.2 million, through their affiliate, Geneva Media, LLC. The NY Times reported that "Anderson, based in Knoxville, Tenn., hopes to distribute music downloads through the Web sites of retailers, including Wal-Mart, though no deal has been worked out yet." ( www.amerch.com ) ( www.liquidaudio.com )

Andrew Corporation plans to acquire rival Allen Telecom in an all-stock transaction valued at $500 million. ( www.andrew.com ) ( www.allentele.com )

Apax Partners, the Goldman Sachs Group and Providence Equity Partners have grouped together to buy six regional cable-television networks from Deutsche Telekom for 1.725 billion. The price is significantly less than Liberty Media previously had agreed to pay, before it was blocked by German regulators. ( www.apax.com ) ( www.gs.com ) ( www.provequity.com ) ( www.telekom.de )

Firstnet has bought out Liberty Broadband, a UK fixed wireless operator previously known as Tele2 UK Ltd, for an undisclosed amount. Firstnet is promoting their service by recruiting local "broadband champions" to co-ordinate campaigns in areas desperate for broadband Internet access. ( www.firstnet.net.uk ) ( www.libertybroadband.co.uk )

Microsoft has agreed to acquire privately held PlaceWare Inc., a provider of Web conferencing services. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. ( www.microsoft.com ) ( www.placeware.com )

Tollgrade Communications, Inc. has purchased the Cheetah status and performance monitoring product line of Acterna, LLC. for $14.3 million in cash, plus certain liabilites. Tollgrade plans to consolidate the Cheetah product with its Lighthouse status monitoring system. ( www.tollgrade.com ) ( www.acterna.com )

--Funding

Akustica, a provider of acoustic system-on-a-chip solutions has obtained an additional $2 million in funding, to bring their Series A total to $4.5 million. ( www.akustica.com )

Airespace, formerly called Black Storm Networks, has raised a total of $15.5 million from leading Silicon Valley venture capital firms for their development of wireless LAN infrastructure. ( www.airespace.com )

Calix, a supplier of access platforms for wireline carriers, obtained $50 million additional in venture capital funding. ( www.calix.com )

Echo, a consortium of the six largest music retailers, has been formed, with each company owning an equal stake. The participating retailers are Best Buy, Tower Records, the Virgin Entertainment Group; Wherehouse Entertainment; Hastings Entertainment; and Trans World Entertainment. Echo will sell music that can be downloaded from the Web, using either individually branded or an Echo co-branded identity. ( www.echo.com )

HelloSoft, a provider of semiconductor communications software IP for multifunction devices and equipment, raised $11 million in its Series A round. The company focuses on technologies such as 2.5G/3G wireless, wireless LAN, voice-over-packet, digital subscriber line, and Bluetooth. ( www.hellosoft.com )

IceFyre Semiconductor, a semiconductor start-up focused on low-power, high-performance WLAN products, announced the closing of $19 million in Series C funding. Motorola and Covington Capital co-led the round, which also included new investor TD Capital Technology Ventures and all existing investors. ( www.icefyre.com )

Icera Semiconductor, a fabless semiconductor designer, said it has raised $10 million in Series A funding. ( www.icerasemi.com )

Ikanos Communications has received $30 million in its Series D funding. They will use the new capital to support volume shipments of their VDSL-DMT chipsets, initally targeting the Asian market. ( www.ikanos.com )

Magis Networks has received an investment from ViewSonic, which joins AOL Time Warner, Hitachi, Motorola, Panasonic, and Sanyo in Magis' $48 million Series B round. ( www.magisnetworks.com )

VoiceRamp Technologies, which develops a software platform for broadband access and existing switching networks, raised $7.8 million in Series A financing. ( www.voiceramp.com )

--Other News

3Com Corporation and Infineon Technologies AG entered into an agreement that assigns 3Com's rights to certain patents related to Ethernet over Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) to Infineon. 3Com received an undisclosed fee and will receive a portion of Infineon's future licensing royalties. ( www.3com.com ) ( www.infineon.com )

America Online is offering their broadband subscribers free access to CNN's NewsPass subscription content as part of their strategy to leverage company content to grow and retain their broadband users. Other Internet users pay $4.95 monthly (or $39.95 per year) for video news and sports and more. In other news, AOL has suspended their iTV offering due to poor sales, although continuing to support those who have subscribed; the service allowed subscribers to surf the Web and send email from their TV using a set-top box and wireless keyboard. ( www.aoltimewarner.com ) ( www.cnn.com/NewsPass/landingpage/ )

Allot Communications, a provider of policy-based networking solutions, announced a partnership agreement with NextNet Wireless and an OEM agreement with Alvarion, both broadband wireless access (BWA) solutions providers. BWA providers are seeking to provide both QoS and bandwidth management as part of their customer solutions. ( www.allot.com ) ( www.nextnetwireless.com ) ( www.alvarion.com )

BellSouth, which had been offering a trial VoIP phone service called DSL Talking, has withdrawn the service. Customers who signed up can continue the service directly with the supplier, Vonage. Vonage offers service in over 115 area codes, in 28 of the top 50 US media markets. ( www.bellsouth.com ) ( www.vonage.com )

BSkyB reported quarterly net subscriber growth of 244,000 to bring their total to 6.6 million subscribers. Their operating profit increased 126%, their revenues increased and their churn fell. ( www.sky.com )

Celite Systems has announced their service that enables phone companies to turn on broadband service one neighborhood at a time. The company says its technology blends the best elements of standard DOCSIS cable modem technology with the best elements of standard VDSL technology. ( www.celitesystems.com )

CinemaNow, a VOD distributor of feature films over the Internet, announced a licensing agreement with Media Design Institute, a Japanese and American based multi-media company, to distribute the CinemaNow film library in Japan through NTT-DATA, Japan's largest systems-integrator. The CinemaNow site includes instructions for users on how to hook up their PC to their TV. ( www.cinemanow.com ) ( www.nttdata.co.jp/en/ )

Comcast has launched SeaChanges Recording System technology that blends PVR and VOD. ( www.comcast.com ) ( www.seachangeinternational.com )

Global IP Sound, a voice processing technologies provider, and Pocket Presence, a provider of wireless communication software, announced availability of the Running Voice IP wireless softphone solution on PDAs like the HP iPAQ Pocket PC. The demo illustrated quality real time voice communication over an 802.11 wireless network. ( www.globalipsound.com ) ( www.pocketpresence.com ).

InnoMedia announced its partnership with India's TATANET, to offer IndiCall, a VoIP-based long distance telephone service. Users place Internet calls from India to any regular phone or cellular phone through Innomedia's InnoSphere network that provides service to over 200 countries. Internet telephony was deregulated in India in April 2002. ( www.innomedia.com ) ( www.tata.com )

Intel announced their "Statesboro" Digital Home reference and concept platforms, and new UPnP tools at the Intel Developers' Forum. Intel's focus is on creating tools that enable PCs to distribute digital media to consumer electronics devices throughout the home. The reference platform is a complete system solution to assist OEMs in developing new PC systems that broadcast digital photos and music to TVs and stereos. Intel also showcased PC features expected in 2004 such as wireless streaming video and personal video recording. (See "Intel Inside" Means Music and Media Too in BBHR October 8, 2002.) ( www.intel.com ) ( www.bbhcentral.com/report/backissues/Report0209_5.html )

Linksys announced the sales of over 100,000 Wireless-G products in North America since products began shipping on December 24, 2002. Linksys expects to ship more than 500,000 Wireless-G products during the first quarter (Q1) of this year. Linksys also announced licensing new hardware and software technologies from Intel to expedite the delivery of Wireless Digital Media Adapters to distribute PC and Internet content to TVs and stereos throughout the home. This new media adapter will connect to any television or stereo using standard A/V cables. The product, targeted to cost less then $200, is scheduled to be introduced in Q2 2003. ( www.linksys.com ) ( www.intel.com )

Navini Networks launched its new PCMCIA wide area wireless broadband card which enables mobile data users broadband access anywhere in the coverage area. ( www.navini.com )

Philips Electronics announced their wireless broadband residential gateway reference design that supports both 802.11b wireless LAN and DECT cordless phone standards. The design supports development of broadband routers and gateways providing wireless data communications and cordless Voice over IP via a single broadband connection. ( www.philips.com )

Private Media Group Inc., a provider of adult material, announced their broadband VOD service. ( www.prvt.com )

Radvision has introduced a multimedia gateway supporting video telephony between 3G-324M cell phones and IP and/or ISDN-based video systems using the 3G-324M standard. NTT DoCoMo is using the Radvision gateway as part of their real-time video communication platform that enables interworking with 3G mobile communications; after the trial service, they plan to begin a commercial service by September 2003. Alcatel also announced its collaboration to add RADVISION's new viaIP gw-P20/M Gateway into its solutions for the 3G/UMTS marketplace. ( www.radvision.com ) ( www.nttdocomo.com ) ( www.alcatel.com )

Samsung and Arcturus announced a partnership and delivery of a complete reference system for designers of Residential Gateways, SOHO networks, Internet Attached Devices (IAD) and convergence equipment. ( samsungelectronics.com ) ( www.arcturusnetworks.com )

STSN, a provider of broadband communications to hotels, has signed 70 additional hotel property owners over the last four months, bringing to over 500 the number of hotel properties served in the US, Canada and Western Europe. They also continued to expand "hot spots" to about 50 percent of its customer base in the last eight weeks, and say overall buy-rates have more than doubled in the last 12 months. ( www.stsn.com )

U.S. Robotics and Jungo Software Technologies announced that Jungo's OpenRG residential gateway software will provide the core software infrastructure for a new range of U.S. Robotics' SOHO and home networking products. ( www.usr.com ) ( www.jungo.com )

Wi-LAN Inc. announced that the IEEE "WirelessMAN" Standard 802.16a, incorporates their W-OFDM (Wide-band Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) technology. Wi-LAN has a non-exclusive agreement with Fujitsu Microelectronics America to develop Standard 802.16a System-on-Chip solutions. ( www.wi-lan.com ) ( www.fujitsumicro.com )

Yahoo signed a deal with BT Broadband to offer bundled premium services to high-speed customers. The service is due to be available this spring. Pricing has not been announced. Yahoo is trying to sell content services both in bundling deals wih service providers and as unbundled content to other broadband users. ( www.uk.yahoo.com ) ( www.bt.com/broadband )

--Standards, Certifications and Interoperability

The IEEE approved 802.16a, for wireless metropolitan-area networks. The amendment covers "Medium Access Control Modifications and Additional Physical Layer Specifications for 2-11 GHz" and includes both licensed and license-exempt bands. Wireless MANs are supported by the WiMAX Forum, a coalition which promotes deployment and certifies interoperability between products based on 802.16 standards. ( www.ieee802.org/16 ) ( wimaxforum.org )

--Regulatory

The US Federal Communications Commission ruled on Unbundled Network Elements (UNEs) that state regulators will have more control in determining which portion of local phone networks will be available for rivals to lease and at what wholesale rates. They also ruled that incumbent providers don't have to share new fiber to the home or neighborhood, and that existing copper lines need be shared with high-speed Internet competitors only if these companies will also offer voice services. [Editors comment: To our eye this looks like it's on the right track toward "old wires, old rules; new wires, new rules" -- see BBHR 11/14/01.] ( www.fcc.gov ) ( www.broadbandhomecentral.com/report/backissues/Report0111_4.html )


Briefly Noted

As the year gets underway, several market analysts and researchers have issued reports and predictions for broadband's future. Here are a few:

Strategy Analytics projected the installed base of US residential broadband subscribers will grow from today's 17.9 million homes to 25.3 million by year end 2003, a more than 40% increase. Their breakdown by technology employed predicts that 16.1 million homes will use cable modems, 7.9 million will use DSL connections and 1.3 million will use other, less established, technologies. Their end of 2008 prediction is 64 million broadband subscribers, or 59 percent of all US homes. ( www.strategyanalytics.com )

Strategy Analytics also issued European statistics and projections, showing 12 million European homes (7.5% of households) now having broadband Internet. Their 2003 projections call for 7.2 million European homes acquiring broadband for the first time during 2003, bringing the total to 19.1 million households. Although in 2002 a growing number of customers chose ADSL providers over cable, they expect cable operators will increase their share of net new subscribers to 25 percent, while ADSL's share will fall to 71 percent. The European 2008 projections is for 38% of European homes to have broadband services. ( www.strategyanalytics.com/press/pr00035.htm )

IDC released its top 10 predictions for the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) market in the Asia/Pacific region for 2003. Two of these were:

  • "Wireless LANs will gain traction. Continued demand from the enterprise segment as well as proliferation of 'hotspots' will drive growth in the coming year. "
  • "Online gaming will emerge as a killer application that will drive demand for broadband services in the region." Their statistics show that online gaming is more popular than electronic commerce among Internet users in the Asia-Pacific: in China and Malaysia, gamers outnumber e-commerce users by a ratio of two to one. ( www.idc.com.sg/Press/2003/AP-PR-predictions.htm )

Regional News

Australia: Telstra announced $4.6 million in funding through its Telstra Broadband Fund, to encourage development of new and innovative technologies and applications in Australia. Nineteen applicants will benefit during the first round of funding. ( www.broadbandfund.telstra.com/?tR=3m )

UK: The UK Government will be auctioning off licenses for wireless broadband in May. Licences will be made available for the 3.4GHz radio frequency at speeds of up to 2Mbps over a range of 10km. A consultation will also determine if a licence for 3.6GHz should also be offered. The reserve price of the licences has been set at 300,000 for Greater London, Midlands and Northern Metropolitan areas and 100,000 elsewhere. The British government has also announced plans to make the 5GHz spectrum band licence-exempt to assist the growth of broadband. This will allow deployment of wireless hot spots based on 802.11a thereby increasing the speed.

Also in the UK, Oftel published new customer research which showed that awareness and use of broadband services continues to grow:

  • 84 per cent of UK Internet customers are now aware of broadband services and the benefits they can offer compared to just over 50 per cent in February 2002.
  • One in ten UK homes with Internet access use broadband services and the UK now has over 1.4 million broadband users. ( www.oftel.gov.uk/press/releases/2003/pr03_03.htm )

Spain: El Pais reports that Julio Linares, chairman of the Spanish division of Telefonica, said that they will not reduce the price of their ADSL internet service since there was already sufficient growth in client numbers. However, the Spanish internet users association (AI) has pledged to use all means necessary to force reduction of the consumer price (currently 39.07 euros a month), given that business clients pay only 22 euros. ( www.telefonica.com )

Italy: Three regional operators that were recently awarded 26GHz licenses have now deployed Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) solutions based on Alvarion's technology. They were the first of the 11 regional and 3 nationwide operators granted licenses in August 2002. ( www.brennercom.it ) ( www.infracom.it ) ( www.wireless2000.it ) ( www.alvarion.com )

EC: The European Commission (EC) held "Broadband Day" Jan. 28 in Brussels to promote the widespread availability and use of broadband Internet access across Europe. Broadband initiatives at the EU level are channeled through the eEurope Action Plan, which hopes to achieve widespread availability and use of broadband throughout the Union by 2005. ( europa.eu.int/information_society/eeurope/ )

Canada: Canadian ministers announced $2.4 million for 89 recipients of first-round funding for broadband business plan development. The funds were allocated as part of the $105-million Broadband for Rural and Northern Development Pilot Program. The applicants will develop business plans outlining how each community would use broadband Internet service. Each applicant received up to $30,000 to develop business plans to be submitted by May 22, 2003, to compete for implementation funding. ( broadband.gc.ca )

Also in Canada, the provincial government of Ontario launched an investment program aimed at improving high-speed telecommunications in rural and northern Ontario. The Connect Ontario: Broadband Regional Access (COBRA) program includes $55 million in funding over the next three years. At least half the capital for broadband projects will have to be provided by participating communities through federal-level Canadian government programs or public-private partnerships. ( www.ontario-canada.com/ontcan/en/rts/rts_connect-ontario_broadband.jsp )

US: The new Rural Broadband Loan and Loan Guarantee Program has made available $1.4 billion in loans and loan guarantees to provide broadband services in rural communities for FY 2003. The loans are targeted at communities with populations up to 20,000. The Rural Broadband Coalition and WCA/LEA Rural Broadband Task Force websites provide rules and information. ( www.usda.gov/news/releases/2003/01/0028.htm ) ( www.ruralbroadbandcoalition.net ) ( www.wcai.com/rural/index.htm )

Also in the US, NTIA pledged active U.S. government participation in the global effort, known as "ENUM", to match phone numbers with Internet addresses. ENUM would enable U.S. citizens to communicate both voice and text messages through one single identifier, either a telephone number or an e-mail address. ( www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/press/2003/enumpr_02122003.htm )