BBH Report Home Page
June 17, 2003 Provided by System Dynamics Inc.

Heard on the Net

News about People and Companies Influencing The Broadband Home

Editors' Note: We had a request from one reader of the text version of this report to move the "Heard on the Net" section to the end of the newsletter, moving featured articles up front. We'd appreciate hearing whether or not you agree. Thanks!


People News

Scott Anderson has been named to head Motorola's Semiconductor Products Sector (SPS), effective July 1. ( www.motorola.com )

John Borg, II was appointed CEO at WiFiLand. He was previously with Starpoint Solutions ( www.WiFiLand.net )

Dario Wonjin Choi has been appointed Sales Director for North East Asia at Tandberg Television. Dario was previously with SkyStream Networks. ( www.tandbergtv.com )

Don Davis was appointed VP of Engineering at coaXmedia. Previously he was with Bandwidth9. ( www.coaxmedia.com )

Antonio Dominguez was named VP, National Accounts for Broadband Services. He was previously with Neptec Optical Solutions, Inc. ( www.broadbandsvc.com )

Jack Fijolek has been named Director of Business Development for UTStarcom. Jack was previously with CommWorks which was purchased from 3Com by UTStarcom. ( www.utstar.com )


Company News

--Acquisitions

Andersen Group has boosted its ownership share of Moscow Telecommunications cable TV provider, known as Comcor-TV from 50 to 100% in exchange for a 49% share in Andersen Group. They are currently wiring Moscow to provide last mile broadband services. ( www.andersengrp.com ) ( www.comcor.ru/english )

D&M Holdings purchased the assets of OpenGlobe, Inc. and Escient Convergence Corp., subsidiaries of Escient Technologies, LLC. Terms were not disclosed. This acquisition, along with their previous purchase of the ReplayTV and Rio business units of SONICblue, supports their goal of providing access to entertainment anytime and anywhere throughout the home. [Editors Note: We somehow missed this happening back at the end of April.] ( www.dm-holdings.com ) ( www.escient.com )

Lucent Technologies sold its Excel division to an investor group. Excel will now act as a stand-alone entity. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. ( www.lucent.com ) ( www.xl.com )

--Funding

Barix AG, a provider of networked audio, communications and security solutions, secured $2.5 million in funding. ( www.barix.com )

Broadbus announced that it has received an investment from Infineon Ventures. Broadbus is using Infineon's latest memory technology. ( www.broadbus.com )

Digital Path Networks, a provider of high-speed internet access, has received startup venture capital funding. ( www.digitalpath.net )

Landmark Networks a startup developing network equipment to quickly deploy large Wi-Fi networks, has received $3.2 million in Series A round financing. ( www.landmarknetworks.com )

Minerva Networks, a provider of IP TV infrastructure, has secured a new round of equity financing. The transaction was led by CIR Ventures. ( www.minervanetworks.com ) ( www.cirventures.com )

Tropos Networks Inc., supplier of systems used to build metro-scale Wi-Fi networks, received an investment of undisclosed amount from Intel Communications Fund. ( www.troposnetworks.com )

--Other News

8x8, Inc. announced the availability of their Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) videophone. It works in conjunction with the company's Packet8 voice and video service. The unit costs $599, has an integrated camera and LCD display, and can be used by plugging it into an Ethernet jack. ( www.8x8.com )

British Telecommunications and Yahoo announced that BT will rebrand their OpenWorld service as BT Yahoo Broadband. BT will offer Yahoo's Internet content and security services, as well as parental controls. The deal continues Yahoo's thrust toward bundling its content and services with broadband access. ( www.bt.com ) ( www.yahoo.com )

CableLabs announced that Microsoft signed an agreement with them in which Microsoft agreed to contribute pertinent intellectual property rights to the OpenCable project. Microsoft and CableLabs also agreed to work together to explore adding .NET common language infrastructure (CLI) to a future version of OCAP. ( www.cablelabs.com ) ( www.microsoft.com )

Cirpack, a developer of next generation switches for the European market, made several new announcements including an agreement to promote joint solutions with BayPackets, Inc.; CPE interoperability with Mediatrix access devices and Cirpack Class-5 SoftSwitches; and completion of interoperability testing with Intertex for their SIP telephony solution. ( www.cirpack.com ) ( www.baypackets.com ) ( www.mediatrix.com ) ( www.intertexdata.com )

The DSL Forum announced the launch of its DSLHome initiative. DSLHome has two components: one is technical innovation and support, the other is market awareness and promotion. As part of this program, the DSL Forum has initiated new technical work to address some key areas. ( www.dslforum.org )

The Home Phoneline Networking Alliance announced HPNA 3.0. The newest version of their home networking standard for telephone lines will move data at 128 Mbps. The alliance is promoting its inherent QoS, and with the higher speed says HPNA 3.0 will be well-suited to networking digital audio and video applications. The alliance indicates that HomePNA 3.0 silicon products supporting adapters and bridges are expected to be available later this year. ( www.homepna.org )

ICTV announced a partnership with One Economy Corporation, a US non-profit, to deliver content to help elevate standards of living for low-income households. The agreement combines ICTV’s platform with content created for One Economy’s information resource, to deliver instruction on such issues as money, health, jobs, school and family via any digital cable TV set-top box. Separately, ICTV announced product improvements which advance MSO deployment of VOD and high-definition TV services. ( www.ictv.com ) ( www.one-economy.com )

Infineon Technologies and Metalink announced they are each developing VDSLPlus, which uses a new frequency band above the current 12 MHz limit in standard VDSL. VDSLPlus is said to enable service providers to offer scalable DSL services ranging from short-range applications at data rates up to 150 Mbps, to long-reach applications that allow for more than 4Mbps rates over distances of 4km (13,200 ft), using the same line-card and Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) designs. ( www.infineon.com ) ( www.metalinkdsl.com )

Joltid Ltd., a start-up comprised of a number of Kazaa founders, has launched two new products. They claim that PeerCache helps ISP's and Network operators reduce or eliminate redundant peer-to-peer traffic in their networks and that PeerEnabler enables bandwidth usage reduction for publishers while enhancing end user experience. ( www.joltid.com )

Microsoft unveiled their new digital TV software solution for cable operators, called TV Foundation, at the NCTA cable show. ( www.microsoft.com/tv )

Pace Micro Technology Americas announced plans for their sub-$100 Digital Cable Adapter (DCA) for North American cable operators; the DCA converts digital video signals for viewing on analog television sets. At the same time, Motorola announced its DCT700 digital-only settop, providing cable operators with several low-cost alternatives for digital-only systems. ( www.pacemicro.com ) ( www.motorola.com/broadband )

Passave Technologies unveiled a new chip for deployment in Gigabit Ethernet passive optical network (EPON) fiber-to-the-home and fiber-to-the- business optical network units (ONUs). ( www.passave.com )

PCTEL announced several products for wireless LANs. The Segue SAM is a "Soft Access point Module" for Wi-Fi networks; it adds access point and router functionality to a Wi-Fi enabled notebook or desktop PC. Segue WiFinder is a handheld test tool hosted on a Pocket PC platform. PCTEL also provides the Segue Wi-Fi Roaming Client, a downloadable software package to manage access to both Wi-Fi and cellular data wireless networks; it claims to provide seamless roaming between networks, and is available for both notebook PCs and PocketPC systems. ( www.pctel.com )

SBC Communications Inc. continued the drop in US consumer DSL prices, by offering a $29.95 per month rate if customers sign a one-year contract. ( www.sbc.com )

RealNetworks and Comcast announced that Comcast High-Speed Internet customers will be offered a premium game experience via a special section of Comcast.net. It is powered by the RealOne™ Arcade software. ( www.realnetworks.com ) ( www.comcast.com )

ReplayTV, a Digital Networks North America (DNNA) company, introduced their new ReplayTV 5500 series which includes home network recording, the ability to skip reruns and eliminate programming conflicts plus a Pause and Resume feature which lets users pause a movie in one room and finish watching it in another. They have tried to address the concerns of content copyright holders by removing the Send Show and Automatic Commercial Advance features, but have kept the QuickSkip™ and high-speed fast forward buttons. ( www.replay.com )

Tandberg Television has been demonstrating its broadband ITTV delivery platform for delivering video over IP via commercial xDSL and FTTH (fiber to the home) deployments. [Editors Note: This is part of what we see as an increasing vendor focus on solutions for video delivery over DSL and fiber.] ( www.tandbergtv.com )

Texas Instruments announced the availability of a pair of chips implementing the new IEEE 1394b standard. 1394b extends 1394--also known as FireWire--to 100 meters over Cat5 or optical fiber cabling, and is expected to be widely adopted in PCs, digital TVs and many other consumer electronics devices. ( www.ti.com )

Thomson's digital video software solutions business, Canal+ Technologies, signed a contract allowing DIRECTV to provide Canal+'s middleware platform to new DIRECTV digital set-top boxes. ( www.thomson.net ) ( www.DIRECTV.com )

TiVo announced new audience measurement tools based upon the viewing patterns of its DVR customers. The company will begin offering subscriptions to a quarterly report on viewing patterns within primetime programs to advertisers and programmers. ( www.tivo.com )

US RBOCs Verizon Communications Inc., SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. have adopted a set of common technical requirements based on established industry standards and specifications for a technology known as fiber to the premises (FTTP). The three service providers issued a letter to telecom equipment manufacturers, alerting them that the providers will soon be seeking proposals for equipment based on the common requirements. ( www.verizon.com ) ( www.sbc.com ) ( www.bellsouth.com )

Vonage DigitalVoice has signed resale agreements with Armstrong Cable and Advanced Cable Communications. ( www.vonage.com ) ( www.armstrongonewire.com ) ( www.advancedcable.net/ )

Wave7 Optics introduced new versions of two products in their “Last Mile Link” product family, for “fiber-to-the-home” networks constructed by cable operators, telephone companies, utilities and municipalities. The Last Mile Link is currently being deployed in 18 networks which will ultimately serve more than 80,000 customers across the United States and internationally. ( www.wave7optics.com )

The Wi-Fi Alliance announced the availability of ZONE Finder - a search tool and database designed to help travelers find Wi-Fi ZONE wireless public Internet access services in over 20 countries. This new component of the Wi-Fi ZONE program is free to both users and service providers. ZONE Finder is available at http://www.wi-fizone.org. ( www.wi-fi.org )


Briefly Noted

"Energy conservation is in."-- A recent article at http://www.electricenergyonline.com/mail_industry_news.asp?ID=7520 echoes the theme sounded by Mark Francisco in last month's guest article "Energy Management - 'Broadband Without Internet'". Nevada Power and Invensys are offering the "GoodWatts" program "to 50 households in the Las Vegas area", using an "always on" Internet connection to remotely monitor and control energy intensive devices. Homeowners can see their energy usage and shift their consumption to reduce costs and shift the peak load.

Countries

US - The FCC released data showing that, despite the economic downturn in the US, broadband is experiencing double digit growth rates. High-speed Internet connections increased 23% during the second half of 2002 and totaled 19.9 Million Lines in Service. For the full year, high-speed lines for residential and small business subscribers increased by 58%. The statistics also include state-by-state, population density, and household income information, ranked by zip codes. ( www.fcc.gov/wcb/stats )

Standards

802.11g - In an important milestone, the standards board of the IEEE has ratified 802.11g, the wireless standard that pushes throughput higher than the earlier .11b version. See the article below reporting on our initial testing of 11g products. ( grouper.ieee.org/groups/802/11/index.html )

VDSL - In an important move for the DSL industry, there has been an agreement that a single line code is to be selected for VDSL. We first became sensitized to this as announcements started arriving from groups like the VDSL Alliance, which is backing discrete multi-tone (DMT); this group includes Alcatel, Broadcom, Ericsson, Intel, TI and Thomson Multimedia among others. Another group, the VDSL Coalition, is backing QAM. While we have not followed or tried to dissect all the technical and political arguments, this is an important event for the industry, which is due to occur shortly. Even Dave Burstein, who follows DSL full-time, is still trying to unravel the issues. ( www.vdslalliance.com ) ( vdslcoalition.net ) ( www.dslprime.com )

The WiMAX forum, an industry consortium devoted to promoting the 802.16a wireless broadband standard, has added 18 new members, more than doubling the group's previous size. The 802.16a standard is intended for non-line-of-sight operations at frequencies in the 2-11 Ghz range. Expected applications include backhauling groups of Wi-Fi access points and last-mile wireless extensions to wired broadband links. ( wimaxforum.org )