BBH Report Home Page
October 20, 2003 Provided by System Dynamics Inc.

Heard on the Net

News about People and Companies Influencing The Broadband Home


People News

Ahmet Ozalp joined Atlas Venture to focus on technology investments including broadband in metro and access networks, home networking and wireless multimedia distribution. ( www.atlasventure.com )

Sam Endy has been appointed President and CEO of ArrayComm. He was previously ArrayComm's COO. ( www.arraycomm.com )

Roy Goodman was appointed CFO of RealNetworks Inc. ( www.realnetworks.com )

Martin Jowett was appointed COO of Bulldog Communications. ( www.bulldogdsl.com )

Joe Parola is leading Sales and Business Development at Jedai Broadband Networks. He was previously with Concurrent. ( www.jedai.com )

Randy Shapiro was named VP of marketing at Eagle Broadband. ( www.eaglebroadband.com )

Bob Wallace was named VP of Sales, North America for Minerva Networks. He was previously with Calix. ( www.minervanetworks.com )


Company News

--Funding

Boingo Wireless has raised $10 million in series B financing. ( www.boingo.com )

Grande Communications has obtained an additional $45 million in equity funding. ( www.grandecom.com )

TeleSym Inc. completed a $12.5 million second round of funding. ( www.telesym.com )

Wave7 Optics added an additional $15M to their Series C funding round, bringing the C round total to $30.5M. ( www.wave7optics.com )

--Other News

BellSouth and America Connect announced a joint trial of wireless broadband in two rural North Carolina counties. The trial will be in the 2.3 GHz WCS band, for which BellSouth holds FCC licenses throughout the Southeast, and will examine costs, market acceptance, feature sets, coverage, and overall economics of providing high-speed broadband connections via fixed wireless to underserved rural areas in the Southeastern U.S. Funding is being provided by the Rural Internet Access Authority, a state-created body with a mandate to connect all North Carolina residents to the Internet. ( www.bellsouth.com ) ( www.dsltogo.net ) ( www.ncruralcenter.org/internet )

BSkyB announced that Sky Digital has achieved its target of seven million direct-to-home (DTH) satellite subscribers ahead of schedule, five years after its launch. ( www.sky.com )

Cox Communications continues the US cable industry push on HDTV, announcing it will make high definition television channels available in 85 percent of its market by the end of this year. ( www.cox.com )

The DSL Forum has published two new technical reports (TR-058 and TR-059) which lay out technical requirements for next-generation DSL services, especially addressing traffic shaping and quality of service issues over DSL. The goal is to facilitate provision of multiple voice over IP streams, bandwidth on demand and real-time content delivery. ( www.dslforum.org )

Korea Telecom has signed a memorandum of understanding with NTT Communications Inc. to provide global roaming for wireless Internet services. KT's Nespot wireless LAN subscribers will be able to access high-speed Internet connections at Japanese "hot spots". KT is also a member of the The Wireless Broadband Alliance, whose goal is to drive adoption of wireless broadband services globally. ( www.kt.com ) ( www.ntt.com ) ( www.wirelessbroadbandalliance.com )

Microsoft launched Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 and announced that they have worked with content providers, including CinemaNow, Movielink and Napster, to provide remote control access to on-demand music and movie subscription services. ( www.microsoft.com )

Microsoft and Vodafone announced a partnership to develop a new set of mobile Web standards based around XML. It is intended to create opportunities for delivering new customer services integrated across wired and wireless networks. ( www.microsoft.com ) ( www.vodafone.com )

Microsoft TV Division announced plans for the development of a new Internet Protocol television (IPTV) delivery solution for cable and telecommunications operators to offer next-generation TV services over existing broadband networks. Companies planning to work with Microsoft TV include Harmonic, Tandberg, Juniper, Intel, Pace Micro and Thomson. Bell Canada and Reliance Intercomm announced plans to jointly create and test new IPTV services with Microsoft TV. ( www.microsoft.com/tv )

Movielink entered a multi-year agreement with Time Warner Cable's Road Runner to offer co-branded video-on-demand services to Road Runner's broadband customers. Movielink also has created a relationship with Terra Lycos in which the companies have created a co-branded site that offers download access to Movielink's library. ( www.movielink.com ) ( www.rr.com ) ( www.terralycos.com )

Musicmatch announced its new Musicmatch Downloads service, which lets consumers purchase and download music from all five major labels and over 30 independents. Customers can play tracks on up to three PCs simultaneously and transfer them to Windows Media-supported music players. Tracks can be burned to CDs, but the same playlist may only be burned up to five times. Tracks cost 99 each and most albums are $9.99. ( www.musicmatch.com )

NetCentrex, BitBand, and Telsey announced a partnership to offer a pre-integrated solution which combines the triple play of telephony, VoD and Internet access over IP broadband connections. The new joint solution will use a single end-user device, the new Telsey "Waves" IP-video station. ( www.netcentrex.net ) ( www.bitband.com ) ( www.telsey.com )

RADVISION announced a new version of its MCU (Multipoint Conferencing Unit), which includes support for the H.264 video compression standard and implementation of the new H.239 standard, support for emerging communications protocols (SIP and 3G-324M), and end points. ( www.radvision.com )

Rainbow's VOOM combination satellite dish, HD receiver and off-air antenna is now available in the U.S. and focuses heavily on addressing the HDTV market. The equipment is being offered by Sears and uses Motorola MPEG-4 compatible receivers. There will be no charge for programming until February as the channel line-up is expanded. ( www.voom.com ).

Redline Communications announced an 802.16a compliant (WiMAX) product at ITU Telecom World. ( www.redlinecommunications.com )

Samsung Electronics announced a vendor partnership to provide video-over-DSL platforms to telcos. It includes elements from Kasenna Inc., Optibase Ltd, and Orca Interactive. The IP system will support traditional video services and network-based digital video recording. ( www.samsung.com ) ( www.kasenna.com ) ( www.optibase.com ) ( www.orcainteractive.com )

Vonage reported that its overall subscriber base reached 50,000, and it is adding subscribers at 2,000 lines per week. They also lowered the monthly rate covering the US and Canada to $34.95. ( www.vonage.com )

Walt Disney Company launched its MovieBeam on-demand movie rental service starting in Jacksonville, Fla.; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Spokane, Wash. It gives consumers access to DVD and video releases from major studios, offering 100 movies in digital quality, with 10 titles updated each week. The content is sent via a secure data stream through the broadcast spectrum of TV stations owned by ABC (a Disney subsidiary) and affiliated with PBS. Digital wireless signals are received through the indoor antenna of the Samsung-manufactured MovieBeam receiver and stored on its hard drive. The service costs $6.99/month plus $2.49 to $3.99 per movie viewed and does not require a consumer to have a cable or satellite television subscription. ( www.disney.com ) ( www.MovieBeam.com )

The Wireless Communications Association announced formation of the Personal Broadband Alliance. Comprised of wireless broadband carriers, infrastructure providers, hardware and software vendors, the goal is "to advance mobile and portable broadband consumer services through the U.S. and the world." ( www.wcai.com ) ( www.wcai.com/pba )

Editors Note: It is interesting to observe from the above list how many broadband-oriented services are coming to market, now that the base of broadband subscribers has reached critical mass. It's also worth noting the increasing frequency of mention of VOD (it's really here), HDTV and integrated all-IP services in the news. One phrase whose futuristic note may be passing is "triple-play", now that companies like Eagle Broadband are talking about their "four-play" (security is their fourth).


Briefly Noted

The FCC has released their report titled "Broadband Internet Access in OECD Countries: A Comparative Analysis" (http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-239660A2.pdf). Using the measure of "broadband subscribers per capita", it notes that "South Korea and Canada are far ahead of the rest of the world" and that "Sweden, Belgium and Denmark have grown rapidly and overtaken the U.S. in the last two years." After examining broadband deployment in selected countries (South Korea, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.S., Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom) it concludes that "Cable companies, rather than incumbent carriers, have been the leaders in introducing broadband access services to OECD countries". It notes that once the service was shown to be a viable business, the telecom carriers started offering DSL services and proved to be strong competitors.


Europe

Tele-Health Applications: ULP-AMIs

We've published two recent articles about using residential broadband communications in tele-health applications. Devices that can transmit information about the patient's physical condition are part of enabling such services. Ultra Low Power Active Medical Implants (ULP-AMIs) are one example. Without common standards, combined with national frequency allocations, usage of such devices can be prohibited in certain countries. The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has completed most of the standardization program needed for the harmonized use of ULP-AMIs in Europe in conjunction with the Low Power Radio Association (LPRA). Once the frequency bands have been harmonized, patients with implanted medical devices, such as pacemakers, defibrillators and insulin pumps, will be able to travel from one European country to another. ( www.etsi.org ) ( www.lpra.org )


U.S.

  • States have started to regulate VoIP providers, with the distinction between information and telecommunications services once again at issue. The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) decided to treat VoIP providers like all other telephone providers, thus regulating them in that state. While a few smaller states such as Wisconsin and Minnesota had previously announced that VoIP firms would be regulated, California is significant because of its size and influence. Meanwhile, a US district judge issued a permanent injunction against the Minnesota PUC's ruling to regulate Vonage, saying that Vonage is an "information service" rather than a "telecommunications service" and thus exempt from state regulation.
  • The regulatory classification of cable broadband networks is again undecided after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the March 2002 FCC ruling that cable broadband networks are an "information service" rather than a "telecommunications service" was incorrect. Information services are not subject to regulations forcing their providers to resell their lines to others, but telecommunications services are required to do so. The FCC plans to appeal the decision.
  • The FCC adopted service rules for commercial use of millimeter wave wireless technology, which uses high-frequency spectrum to deliver large quantities of data at high speeds. The technology was developed by Loea Communications and was approved to operate commercially in the 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz, and 92-95 GHz bands which were originally for U.S. government use. Cisco has been a backer of this technology for wireless last-mile connections to public fiber-optic networks. ( www.fcc.gov ) ( www.loeacom.com )
  • The USDA Rural Utilities Service announced winners and amounts for a total of $11.3 million in grants for rural U.S. broadband Internet providers. ( www.rurdev.usda.gov/rd/newsroom/2003/sept03bbandgrants.html )
  • The Fiber To The Home (FTTH) Council and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) released the newest list of "U.S. Optical Fiber Communities". It includes 24 new communities, bringing the total number with residential fiber broadband service to 94. ( www.ftthcouncil.org ) ( www.tiaonline.org )