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The March 25, 2004 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

Michael Adams has been named EVP and COO at Rogers Cable, starting mid-April. He was formerly with RCN. ( www.rogerscable.com )

Anthony Bartolo was appointed VP and GM of the Symbol Wireless Infrastructure Division. He was previously with Nortel Networks. ( www.symbol.com )

Michael Economy was named VP of worldwide sales for Entropic Communications. Economy was previously with Trident Microsystems. ( www.entropic-communications.com )

Joshua Ginsberg-Margo was promoted to VP, Product Marketing, and Paul Wilson was been promoted to VP, Customer Care and Operations, at Broadband Services, Inc. ( www.broadbandsvc.com )

Apollo Guy has accepted a position as VP and GM of Telution’s Cable OSS practice. Guy was previously at Lemur Networks. ( www.telution.com )

Patrick Lelorieux was appointed worldwide VP for Sales and Marketing at SMC Networks. He was previously with Avaya’s EMEA division. ( www.smc.com )

Gabi Magnezi was named VP of Operations at Xtend Networks. He was previously with G-Connect Israel. Also, Leon Urban was named Sales Director, Eastern United States. ( www.xtendnetworks.com )

David Reed was promoted to EVP, Chief Strategy Officer, at CableLabs. Congratulations to David and also to Ed Miller, who was elevated to VP, Advanced Network Systems, to lead the PacketCable initiative. ( www.cablelabs.com )

Mark Richards has been appointed COO of Volo Communications Inc. Richards was previously at Epicus Communications. ( www.volocommunications.com )

Anoosh Shahidi was appointed VP, Business Operations, and Raymond Mills to VP, Technical Operations at broadband satellite provider WildBlue Communications. Both come from the cable industry. ( www.wildblue.com )

Jeffrey Weaver was named Director of Systems Engineering, North America, and Peng-Chong Lee, Sales Director, Asia Pacific for Interactive Enterprise. Weaver was previously with Tropos Networks and Lee was with Motorola. ( www.interactive-enterprise.com )

Jan Werne has been appointed President at i3 micro technology, the Swedish provider of IP-TV and IP-telephony equipment. He was formerly CEO of broadband operator Utfors. ( www.i3micro.com )

Robert Wolf was named CFO of Viseon, a supplier of video communication technologies. ( www.viseon.com )


Company News

--Acquisitions

Champion Broadband agreed to buy Altrio Communications for an undisclosed sum. ( www.championbroadband.com ) ( www.altrio.net )

Ciena Corp. announced a definitive agreement to acquire Internet Photonics for $150 million in stock. ( www.ciena.com ) ( www.internetphotonics.com )

Covad Communications is acquiring GoBeam, a provider of VoIP services, in a stock deal valued at $48 million. ( www.covad.com )

DG2L Technologies announced the acquisition of iVAST International, Moirai Media Solutions, Inc., the parent company of iVAST International, and iVAST Inc.'s entire assets. Terms of the deal were not released. ( www.dg2l.com ) ( www.ivast.com )

Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS) has agreed to acquire all Class A and Class B shares of Allstream for approximately $1.7 billion. ( www.mts.ca ) ( www.allstream.com )

RealNetworks is acquiring GameHouse for $35.6 million in cash and stock. ( www.realnetworks.com ) ( www.gamehouse.com )

Tekelec is purchasing all of Taqua's outstanding stock for approximately $85 million cash, plus the assumption of Taqua's outstanding options. Taqua will become part of Tekelec's next-generation switching business. ( www.tekelec.com ) ( www.taqua.com )

TiVo has acquired Strangeberry, a technology company "specializing in using home network and broadband technologies to create new entertainment experiences on television." The terms were not disclosed. ( www. tivo.com ) ( www.strangeberry.com )

UGC is acquiring French cable operator Noos in a deal that values the company at E508 million to E660 million. ( www.unitedglobal.com ) ( www.noos.fr )

Zhone Technologies is acquiring Gluon Networks for $7 million. ( www.zhone.com ) ( www.gluonnetworks.com )

--Funding

Aperto Networks, a manufacturer of WiMax equipment, announced a $20 million Series D financing round. It was led by JK&B Capital and with participation from Aperto's key existing investors including Canaan Partners, Alliance Ventures, Innovacom, Tyco Ventures, Labrador Ventures, and Satwik Ventures and brings the company's total financial backing to $77 million. ( www.apertonetworks.com )

Birdstep Technology ASA has raised NOK 75.5 million (USD 10.9 million) in a new share issue. ( www.birdstep.com )

Colubris Networks has secured $13 million in its Series C funding round, led by GrandBanks Capital, with participation by new investor Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds. Existing investors including Prism Venture Partners and the Development Bank of Canada also participated. ( www.colubris.com )

Speakeasy, a broadband service provider, raised $24 million in a "D" series round of financing led by 3i and BV Capital. ( www.speakeasy.com )

USDTV, provider of a digital TV service that is transmitted wirelessly via broadcast stations' idle spectrum, secured $8.5 million in private equity funding from NexGen Investments and a private investor group led by Stonebridge Capital, plus $12 million from private investors. ( www.usdtv.com )

Viseon, a developer of broadband personal video communications solutions, raised $4.2 million in a private placement. ( www.viseon.com )

World Wide Packets raised $8.7 million in a second close of its current financing round, extending the total of that round to $24.5 million. New investors Argo Global Capital and Entrepia Ventures participated in the round. World Wide Packets said it will use the funds to expedite its growth in the municipality, telecom and cable service provider sectors. ( www.worldwidepackets.com )


Other News

2Wire, a provider of broadband service platforms for the DSL market, launched its MediaPortal platform. It allows telcos to integrate satellite TV, DSL and a range of entertainment services through one set-top box and back end management system. Through it DSL subscribers can buy digital content or access streaming media services from the Internet via a set-top. It also makes digital content available to multiple devices over a home network. ( www.2wire.com )

BellSouth announced expanded testing of fixed wireless broadband technology with a new rural trial in Palatka, Florida. The trial uses Navini equipment, which was moved from the recently-completed Port Orange portion of its Daytona Beach, Florida trial. This trial is testing new features and capabilities, such as the introduction of Wi-Fi components, and assessing wireless broadband's financial viability and technology operation in different environments and topographies. ( www.bellsouth.com )

Brasil Telecom, the second largest broadband operator in Latin America, announced its choice of Radvision's viaIP platform as a major component in its new converged voice, Web, and video conferencing and communication offering for enterprises and broadband residential customers throughout Brazil. Brasil Telecom will offer video telephony services to its residential broadband customers. ( www.brasiltelecom.com.br ) ( www.radvision.com )

BT announced four Broadband services which are important to BT's retail broadband strategy and will be available in stages over the next few months. ( www.bt.com )

  • Flexible Bandwidth gives customers the ability to temporarily boost bandwidth up to 2 megabits per second;
  • BT Rich Media will allow content suppliers to use tools provided through their partnership with Real to package and deliver digital services, like music, games and video, to a mass market;
  • BT Communicator--based on Yahoo!'s Instant Messaging platform--allows consumers to make phone or video calls from a PC over a broadband connection;
  • BT Remote Management System enables more remote diagnostics as part of BT's customer support and is based on 2Wire software, provided from intelligent home network routers in a customer's home.

BT is trialing WiMax to bring broadband to four rural locations: Ballingry in Fife, Scotland, Pwllheli in Wales, Porthleven in Cornwall and Campsie in Northern Ireland. ( www.bt.com )

Calypso Wireless was awarded a U.S. patent which covers the seamless roaming of voice, video and data, enabling wireless devices to switch between network types without losing the connection. ( www.calypsowireless.com )

Cinergy Broadband, LLC and Current Communications Group have formed a joint venture and launched broadband over power line (BPL) services in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio area. The service uses HomePlug power line modems and offers speeds of 3 Mbps. A subsequent expansion is planned for Northern Kentucky and Indiana. Current will manage the venture and will use its proprietary BPL equipment. The companies have created a second joint venture, managed by Cinergy, targeting BPL to US municipally-owned power companies and rural electric cooperatives. Cinergy has also agreed to participate in a $70 million-plus round of financing in Current. ( www.cinergy.com ) ( www.currentgroup.com )

Comcast and Rentrak announced an agreement to conduct a trial of VOD Essentials, a system that measures and reports anonymous video-on-demand (VOD) usage data. The trial is scheduled to begin in May in Philadelphia. As TV viewing goes from a real-time broadcast experience to one that involves VOD and PVRs, new systems are being developed to help system operators and programmers gather and analyze data to better understand viewer preferences. ( www.comcast.com ) ( www.rentrak.com )

Core Networks and Jungo have partnered to introduce a CableHome 1.1-based, integrated network management and residential gateway system. ( www.corenetworks.com ) ( www.jungo.com )

EarthLink announced it has joined the advisory board of BPL provider Ambient Corp. and has also invested $500,000 in the company. EarthLink also has teamed with Progress Energy to test broadband Internet service delivered via power lines in Wake County, N.C. EarthLink and Ambient are also working together on a broadband power line pilot with Con Edison. ( www.earthlink.com ) ( www.ambientcorp.com ) ( www.progress-energy.com )

Iberdrola, the Spanish power company, is reported by the Financial Times to be investing 20m euros to offer broadband over power line (BPL) Internet access through its electricity network to approximately 120,000 customers in the Valencia region this year. Iberdrola already offers broadband access through its power network in Madrid, Murcia and Valladolid. ( www.iberdrola.com )

IPWireless announced that UTStarcom is the first company to license IPWireless' mobile broadband technology, and will manufacture the equipment in its facilities in China. ( www.ipwireless.com ) ( www.utstar.com )

Intel announced support for Web Services Dynamic Discovery (WS-Discovery), a new Web services technology designed to enable various non-computing devices to find one another and exchange data. The WS-Discovery standard was developed by Microsoft, with the assistance of BEA Systems, Canon and Intel. ( www.intel.com ) ( www.microsoft.com ) ( www.bea.com ) ( www.canon.com )

Liberty Media announced its intention to spin off its international businesses to create Liberty Media International. These businesses include United Globalcom, a 20% stake in UK MSO Telewest, a 45% stake in Jupiter Telecommunications of Japan and Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico Inc. among others. ( www.libertymedia.com )

Moonlight is offering their H.264 Player for unlimited public download and H.264 PC SDK demo versions for developer evaluation. ( www.moonlight.co.il )

NetCentrex and Tiscali announced the signing of a partnership for the launch of residential broadband telephony services across Europe. ( www.netcentrex.net ) ( www.tiscali.com )

Net2Phone, a provider of VoIP services to broadband service providers, unveiled its SIP-based hosted telephony services to complement its existing PacketCable-ready solution. This positions them to offer two tiers of service to cable operators, depending on the operator’s specific needs. ( www.net2phone.com )

PCTEL reached an agreement with Chrysalis Development LLC to distribute WifiSeeker, a key-chain size device that locates Wi-Fi Hot Spots and determines signal strength level. PCTEL will distribute the product to wireless carriers, including cellular operators and wireless internet service providers (WISPs). The Chrysalis website says "WifiSeeker will be available early Q3 with a Suggested Retail Price of $19.95". ( www.pctel.com ) ( www.chrysalisdev.com )

PicoChip Designs Ltd announced it has joined the WiMAX Forum as a principal member. ( www.picochip.com ) ( www.wimaxforum.org )

Sigma Designs, a provider of digital media processors for consumer appliances, and CinemaNow, a provider of IP-based video-on-demand, announced that they are working together with KiSS Technology to create a connected DVD player capable of streaming or downloading Windows Media Video (WMV) content directly from the CinemaNow service. ( www.sigmadesigns.com ) ( www.cinemanow.com ) ( www.kiss-technology.com )

SMC Networks announced that it is partnering with Get Digital to offer free CD conversion processing to customers of its EZ-Stream 2.4GHz 11Mbps Wireless Audio Adapter. Customers purchasing the EZ-Stream Wireless Audio Adapter will receive free processing of 25 CDs on Get Digital orders for processing 75 or more CDs. [Also see our article on Get Digital in this issue.] ( www.smc.com ) ( www.get-digital.net )

Vonage broadband phone service announced Circuit City Stores, Inc. as the first national US retailer to offer Vonage services in all of its 600 Superstores and online. ( www.vonage.com ) ( www.circuitcity.com )

--Standards

Wireless Performance Prediction (WPP) study group: The IEEE has formed a study group to help standardize the metrics and methods which describe Wi-Fi's performance. WPP's members include individuals from organizations including Intel, HP, TI and Broadcom, regulatory agencies FDA and NIST, and independent testing organizations such as the University of New Hampshire's Interoperability Labs (UNH-IOL) and Iometrix.

--Regulatory/Legal News

US: A federal appeals court has overturned key portions of the 2003 FCC Triennial Review order with regard to network unbundling rules. The FCC rules made state public utility commissions the decision makers on issues regarding unbundling and local competition; the Court of Appeals said the FCC should have provided unified federal guidelines. This was a major victory for the RBOCs and a substantial blow to companies that have depended upon inexpensive local network access to reach their customers. ( www.fcc.gov )

The US Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to pass laws prohibiting cities and local governments from selling telecommunications services. This represents a victory for incumbent telecommunications providers. The ruling said that although the act was intended to spur competition, it was not necessarily intended to include competition from government-owned municipalities and publicly funded utilities.

--Briefly noted

Citing figures from Point Topic for 2003, the DSL Forum said that worldwide DSL subscriptions jumped 78 percent year-over-year to 63.84 million. At year end 2003, the top 5 countries with respect to number of DSL subscribers were China (10.95 million), Japan (10.2), U.S. (9.1), South Korea (6.4) and Germany (4.5). ( www.point-topic.com ) ( www.dslforum.org )

The Leichtman Research Group Inc. (LRG) released a study indicating that U.S. broadband is approaching 25 M subscribers, with cable operators having about 60 percent of the new signups during the year. ( www.leichtmanresearch.com )

Strategy Analytics reports that in a survey of 800 broadband households across seven European countries, 41 percent claimed to connect multiple PCs and other devices to their broadband Internet service. Strategy Analytics' report, 'Home Networks in Europe: 9.5 Million Now Installed', indicates that home networking is most popular in the Nordic region, where 52 percent of broadband users connect more than one device. ( www.strategyanalytics.com )

Stratospheric Broadband? An international R&D project named the CAPANINA project is aimed at developing broadband capability from aerial platforms to deliver cost effective solutions providing a viable alternative to cable and satellite, with the potential to reach rural, urban and travelling users. The technologies will be placed on High Altitude Platforms (HAPs)--airships that float at an altitude of around 20km, above normal aircraft but below orbiting satellites. CAPANINA involves 13 global partners and is partially funded by the European Union's Framework 6 initiative. ( www.capanina.org )

comScore Networks recent analysis of US broadband penetration indicated that San Diego is the first US metropolitan market in which a majority of Internet users connect to the Web via broadband connection rather than narrowband. At the national level, 36 percent of online users accessed the Web through a high-speed connection in the fourth quarter of 2003, up 2 points from 34 percent in the third quarter. ( www.comscore.com )

Sports content - Sports applications, which tend to garner very large fees from TV networks for broadcast rights, continue to gain presence via subscription sales on the Internet. Service providers are looking at such content as another way to distinguish their offerings from their competitors.

  • Microsoft confirmed it will pay $40 million over two years to stream live video of Major League Baseball (MLB) games onto PCs. CNET reported that MSN will offer these streams as part of MSN Premium -- a $9.95-a-month package offering services and content. MSN will also sell MLB subscription packages through its MSN Web portal. AOL will offer the games to its AOL for Broadband members, who already pay $14.95 in addition to their broadband bill. MLB had previously been sold by RealNetworks. ( www.microsoft.com ) ( www.mlb.com )
  • NCAASports.com offered the first three rounds of the 2004 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, streamed live to a viewer's computer for $9.95 (with the exception of games broadcast by the viewer's local CBS affiliate). Subscribers could also access game highlights, watch press conferences or replay any game from this year's tournament. Viewing was available without additional charge to AOL for Broadband subscribers. ( www.ncaasports.com )

Broadband in the Sky - Lufthansa will start offering its airline passengers high-speed Internet connectivity. Starting in April Lufthansa will be launching a full-scale deployment of the service across its entire fleet of long-haul aircraft. Lufthansa's in-flight Internet service was developed in partnership with Connexion by Boeing. Users will be able to get broadband access via Wi-Fi or plug in with an Ethernet cable. ( www.lufthansa.com ) ( www.connexionbyboeing.com )