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The April 16, 2003 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

Craig Barrat, previously VP for technology at Atheros Communications, has become President and CEO. ( www.atheros.com )

Duane R. Dickhut has been named to lead Broadcom's ServerWorks subsidiary. He previously headed their Broadband Processor Business Unit and was with SONICblue prior to joining Broadcom in January. ( www.broadcom.com )

Marwan Fawaz was appointed CTO of Adelphia Communications. He was previously with the Vulcan Inc. Investment Management Group. ( www.adelphia.net )

Greg Gudorf was named Senior VP of Sony's Digital Platform Division of America (DPA). Gudorf had been VP of business planning. ( www.sony.com/passage )

Thomas R. Jokerst has joined Broadbus Technologies, Inc. as CTO. He was previously at Charter Communications. ( www.broadbus.com )

Amol Joshi has been named VP of marketing at BayPackets, Inc. Previously he was with BeVocal. ( www.baypackets.com )

Dave Marples has returned to Telcordia as Chief Scientist in the Network Systems Lab of Applied Research. He was previously VP of European Operations at Global Inventures. ( www.telcordia.com )

Bill McCall has been appointed CEO of TVGateway. ( www.tvgateway.tv )

Arthur Orduña has become VP of strategic initiatives at Advance/Newhouse Communications. Previously he was VP of marketing for Canal+ Technologies. ( www.advance.net )

Dan Pike has been named CTO of the cable unit at General Communication Inc. Pike previously was at Classic Communications and Prime Cable. ( www.gci.com )

Scott Slater has been named VP of i-BURST strategic development at ArrayComm. ( www.arraycomm.com )

Gary Weis was named President and CEO of Cometa Networks. Weis had previously held senior positions at AT&T and IBM. ( www.cometanetworks.com )


Company News

--Acquisitions

Anadigics is acquiring the WLAN power amplifier and RF module product line of RF Solutions. The purchase is being made for $2.8 million and a contingent payment of up to 3.0 million common shares, based upon achieving certain revenue targets. ( www.anadigics.com ) ( www.rf-solutions.com )

Cisco Systems has agreed to acquire privately-held Linksys by issuing approximately $500 million in stock. Separately, Cisco is also paying $13.5 million in stock to buy SignalWorks. ( www.cisco.com ) ( www.linksys.com ) ( www.signalworks.com )

Motorola completed its cash tender offer of $1.18 per share for all outstanding shares of common stock of Next Level Communications, Inc. Motorola will acquire the remaining ownership of Next Level, paying $34.05 million for the 26 percent of the broadband access equipment maker it does not already own. ( www.motorola.com ) ( www.nextlevel.com )

SR Telecom is buying wireless broadband company Netro for $121 million. Netro had previously bought the "Project Angel" fixed wireless technology from AT&T. ( www.srtelecom.com ) ( www.netro-corp.com )

--Funding

BayPackets raised $21.7 million in its latest funding round. ( www.baypackets.com )

BeamReach Networks, a broadband wireless equipment provider, obtained $15 million in a third round of financing. ( www.beamreachnetworks.com )

BitBand Inc. a leading provider of video and audio on demand solutions for broadband IP networks, closed its second round of investment, totaling over $9 million. ( www.bitband.com )

Myrio Corp, an ITV software supplier, raised $6 million in financing. ( www.myrio.com )

Navini, a broadband wireless equipment vendor, raised $25 million in series C funding. ( www.navini.com )

Wi-LAN, a wireless broadband technology provider obtained C$8.8 million (US$6 million) via an R&D investment agreement with the Canadian government. The company has patents for wideband-orthogonal frequency division modulation (W-OFDM). ( www.wi-lan.com )

--Other News

Advent Networks and their Japan distributor, Mitsubishi, announced that Tokai Broadband Communications (T-com) will be the first cable operator in Japan to commercially deploy Advent's ultra-high speed data system. Tokai's AIC company will initially offer guaranteed 10 Mbps transmission speed for home users for 4,980 Yen (US$42) per month. ( www.advent.net )

America Online launched a $35 million marketing campaign to retain its dial-up subscribers if they switch to high-speed Internet access. AOL will offer its add-on broadband service for $9.95 a month to existing subscribers -- after year-end the rate goes up. The new service includes exclusive video content, a new voice mail service and five hours per month of dial-up use. ( www.aoltimewarner.com )

ARRIS publicized the VoIP system expertise gained from their PacketCable-based VoIP interoperability testing lab. Through the end of March, 2003, they tested interoperability with 16 VoIP Call Management Servers (CMS) and LCS Gateways. ( www.arrisi.com )

BroadLight, a supplier of communication semiconductors and optical transceivers, announced a major step toward reducing the cost of FTTH Customer Premises Equipment (CPE). They claim to have cut transceiver prices dramatically. ( www.broadlight.com )

BT announced they will be cutting the wholesale price of business broadband by over 50%. CEO Ben Verwaayen also announced that BT will be bringing ADSL within potential reach of 90 per cent of UK homes and small businesses, up from the currently enabled footprint of 67 per cent. ( www.bt.com )

Boingo announced their Platform Services offering of private label software and network aggregation services to allow service providers' end users to access a network of Wi-Fi hot spots, under the carrier’s brand. Boingo subsequently announced an agreement with T-Mobile for co-developing software and services for accessing T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi hotspots and its GPRS data network. Boingo will use PCTEL's software modules for Windows and PocketPC platforms to enable Wi-Fi customers to also access GPRS, CDMA2000 1X and iDEN networks. This is part of a trend toward helping subscribers move easily between Wi-Fi and WWAN networks with one account and one carrier-branded user interface. ( www.boingo.com ) ( www.t-mobile.com/hotspot ) ( www.pctel.com )

CableLabs announced that during Certification Wave 25, another 12 DOCSIS 2.0 cable modems had were certified; eight companies gained certified status for DOCSIS 1.1 products and one gained DOCSIS 1.1 qualified status for headend equipment; three more home networking products were certified for CableHome 1.0; Call Management Servers (CMS) from Cisco and Syndeo gained qualification status and nine PacketCable devices were certified or qualified. ( www.cablelabs.com )

Comcast is offering personal firewall software for its high-speed data customers through an alliance with Network Associates. Customers receive the "McAfee Personal Firewall" service at no extra cost for one year. AOL's enhanced broadband service also bundles in the McAfee Personal Firewall service. Cox Communications announced they will begin selling McAfee’s online security solutions to Cox High Speed Internet customers; Cox will bill customers as part of their subscription. ( www.comcast.com ) ( www.nai.com ) ( www.mcafee.com ) ( www.aoltimewarner.com ) ( www.cox.com )

IPWireless announced availability of a QoS platform for their UMTS mobile broadband network solution. It allows operators to offer services such as voice, "push to talk," and streaming applications. ( www.ipwireless.com )

Jungo announced that its OpenRG residential gateway software has been chosen to power TMT's coaxial networking systems for homes and Multi-Dwelling Units (MDUs). Each TMT system consists of a gateway and numerous outlets. The gateways convert Ethernet to coax. Ordinary TV outlets become Ethernet and USB sockets, allowing the coaxial TV infrastructure to provide broadband home networking. ( www.jungo.com ) ( www.tmt3.com )

Linksys has begun shipping wireless access points and routers supporting all three major 802.11 types: 802.11b, 802.11a and the draft version of 802.11g. The equipment, called Wireless A+G, is intended for high-end consumers and businesses. Separately, Linksys and Ricochet Networks have teamed to produce the Linksys Ricochet Router. It enables users to attach an 802.11 wireless LAN access point for a fully wireless network, or to connect as many as four computers to the Ricochet service through Ethernet switch ports in the router. ( www.linksys.com ) ( www.ricochet.com )

Microsoft announced that its upcoming version 4.2 of Windows CE .NET will support IP telephony. Hitachi, NEC, Casio Computers, Samsung and others intend to develop IP phones using the new version and chip/processor makers like Texas Instruments, ARM, Broadcom Corp., Conexant, and Intel are optimizing CPUs and building reference designs for VoIP devices running Windows CE .NET. ( www.microsoft.com/windows/embedded/devices/voip )

SONICblue filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 in March. As part of the bankruptcy proceedings Opta Systems, LLC bid successfully for the GoVideo business and D&M Holdings (parent company of Denon and Marantz) won the ReplayTV and Rio business units. ( www.sonicblue.com ) ( www.dm-holdings.com )

Time Warner Cable of Maine is now offering primary telephone service in addition to video and high-speed Internet service. The "Digital Phone" offer replaces their earlier Line Runner offer which targeted 2nd line phones. Available only to customers of TWC high-speed data services, the package costs $39.95 a month for unlimited US and local calls, plus additional features. ( www.twcdigitalphone.com/get.htm )

TiVo launched their Home Media Option for subscribers with their Series2 DVRs. Tivo customers who take the service will be allowed to manage and share video, digital music and photos with other devices in the home. When used with a second TiVo box, customers can use the new option to record TV programs on one set, and watch the same program in another room in that household. The Home Media Option can be downloaded for a one-time fee of $99. Activating it on additional Series2 DVRs within the home costs $49 per unit. Users must also purchase a network adapter. ( www.tivo.com )

Verizon Communications announced it will expand DSL availability in 2003 from 60 percent to 80 percent of its market. Verizon also expects to begin wider deployment of last-mile fiber connections to homes and small businesses and homes in 2004. ( www.verizon.com )

VideoTele.com, a division of Tut Systems, and iVAST announced a partnership to demonstrate an MPEG-4 based digital headend solution. The demonstration at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) showcased MPEG-2 content transcoded to MPEG-4 and encapsulated in an MPEG-2 transport stream. The stream is later decoded on an MPEG-4 enabled set-top box. ( www.videotele.com ) ( www.tutsys.com ) ( www.ivast.com )

ViXS Systems announced that its XCode chip for video distribution over local, wired or wireless IP networks has been integrated with the new Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. reference design, targeted at media center/home entertainment gateway applications. The reference design is expected to be used by manufacturers of digital set-top boxes, media gateways and other multimedia consumer electronic platforms that manage networked home entertainment products. ( www.vixs.com ) ( www.toshiba.com/taec/ )

Disney plans to begin testing a new VOD film service later this year, according to Michael Eisner's talk at the NAB. The Movie Beam service will use part of the digital broadcasting spectrum from its ABC network to provide up to 10 films a week into U.S. set-top boxes with storage for 100 feature films. ( www.disney.com )

--Standards, Certifications and Interoperability

The Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) has released for review a new content protection specification designed to secure digital streaming and downloaded content. The consortium expects the specification to be finalized in June. The specification builds upon the ISMA's v1.0 specification released in 2001, which defines an end-to-end, implementation agreement for streaming ISO-compliant MPEG-4 video and audio over Internet Protocol networks. ( www.isma.tv )

WiMAX, a non-profit corporation to help accelerate, promote and certify the compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless access equipment based on the IEEE 802.16 technical standard, has gained seven new members since the start of the year. WiMAX's current members now include Airspan Networks, Alvarion Ltd., Aperto Networks, Ensemble Communications Inc., Fujitsu Microelectronics America, Intel Corporation, Nokia, OFDM Forum, Proxim Corporation and Wi-LAN Inc. ( www.wimaxforum.org )


Briefly Noted

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting released a report called "Connected to the Future -- A Report on Children's Internet Use", indicating the U.S. "digital divide" between rich and poor children is shrinking. The good news is that Internet use among minority and low-income children has surged over the past two years. The bad news is that white children and those from rich families are still more likely to have high-speed Internet access at home. The study, performed by Grunwald Associates in partnership with the National School Boards Foundation showed that more than two-thirds of low-income households now have a computer at home. See the report at http://www.cpb.org/ed/resources/connected. ( www.cpb.org ) ( www.grunwald.com ) ( www.nsbf.org )

Tiering of broadband-related services is occurring more frequently in the US. This is happening both at the low-end tiers and the high end. It seems to be the solution of choice for service providers who want to move away from "all you can eat" flat-rate services.

  • GCI in Alaska announced availability of LiteSpeed, offering existing dial-up Internet users always-on service for as low as $24.99 when the customer has GCI long-distance. ( www.gci.net )
  • Earthlink is offering EarthLink Plus to its dial-up Internet subscribers, using a Web acceleration tool to give speeds up to five-times faster than standard rates, for $28.95 per month. Plus service also includes "premium" technical support, eight e-mail boxes and 10 megabytes of Web server space. EarthLink's standard dial-up plan costs $21.95 per month. ( www.earthlink.net )
  • Comcast is focusing on tiering the high end first. Comcast Pro offers data at 3.5 Mbps down and 384 Kbps upstream for $95/month with a free modem and no annual contract. ( www.comcast.com )