BBH Report Home Page
October 31, 2004 Provided by System Dynamics Inc.

Heard on the Net

News about People and Companies Influencing The Broadband Home

People News

Terry Denson has joined Verizon as VP of video programming and content marketing and strategy. Dennson was previously VP of programming for Insight Communications. ( www.verizon.com )

Chris Dinallo has been promoted to VP of Technology at Pace Micro Technology, and Steve Payne has joined as Director of Operations & Finance. ( www.pacemicro.com )

David Eng has joined Tandberg Television as Director of Cable Business Development. He most recently was with C-COR. ( www.tandbergtv.com )

Miguel Angel Sánchez Fornié, Director de Sistemas de Control y Telecomunicaciones at Iberdrola, headquartered in Madrid, has been appointed the first Chairman of the European Board of Directors of the United Telecom Council (UTC). Peter Moray, formerly of Mason Communications, has been appointed UTC's Director of European Services. ( www.utc.org )

Ted Malone has joined Imeem as VP of Marketing. He was previously with TiVo. ( www.imeem.com )

William Muscato has accepted a new position as Field Marketing Manager for Axalto North America. Bill was previously with Motorola's Multimedia Systems Division. ( www.axalto.com )

Steven Ross has been named editor-in-chief of Broadband Properties Magazine. Ross taught for 19 years at Columbia University. ( www.bbpmag.com )

Barry Schliesmann has accepted a position as Director, Business Operations, Interactive Media at Motorola's Personal Communications Sector. Barry was previously with Ignite Sports Media. ( www.motorola.com )

Simon Teppett was appointed Chief Technology Officer of Two Way TV. Teppett was previously with Chello Broadband. ( www.twowaytv.com )

(Please email people@bb-home.com to report a change in your position.)


Company News

--Acquisitions

C-Cor announced plans to pay close to $90 million for nCube Corporation. ( www.c-cor.net ) ( www.ncube.com )

Liberty Media has sold its remaining stake in UK MSO Telewest for over $200 million (€178.5 million). ( www.libertymedia.com ) ( www.telewest.co.uk )

UK cable operator NTL has bought out Virgin Media Group’s stake in the companies’ joint venture, Virgin.net, the fifth largest ISP in the UK. The unit will keep its management and Virgin.net brand. The move extends NTL's network by enabling offering services over DSL. ( www.ntl.com ) ( www.virgin.net )

A Sony-led group of investors is buying Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for nearly $5 billion. Comcast is investing $300 million to gain access to MGM's huge content library. ( www.sony.com ) ( www.mgm.com ) ( www.comcast.com )

--Funding

8x8 raised $12 million in the sale of common stock to an institutional investor. ( www.8x8.com )

Airspan Networks has successfully completed a $29.2 million private placement of Preferred Stock. ( www.airspan.com )

Azaire Networks, a provider of Cellular/Wi-Fi convergence solutions, has closed $9 million in Series B financing. ( www.azairenet.com )

BridgePort Networks, a mobile and VoIP convergence startup, raised $25 million in second round financing. ( www.bridgeport-networks.com )

Clearwire announced a partnership with Intel to help accelerate WiMAX networks. As a part of the agreement, Intel Capital has made a significant investment in Clearwire. Specific details were not announced. ( www.clearwire.com )

Ellacoya Networks has secured $7 million in venture capital financing. ( www.ellacoya.com )

Ember Corp., a startup developer of ZigBee wireless chips, has closed a $25 million round of funding. ( www.ember.com )

Intel Capital has made five additional investments from the $200 million Intel Digital Home Fund including Cablematrix, Mediabolic, Pure Networks, BridgeCo AG and Envivio. Financial details were not disclosed. ( www.intel.com/capital/ ) ( www.cablematrix.com ) ( www.mediabolic.com ) ( www.purenetworks.com ) ( www.bridgeco.net ) ( www.envivio.com )

Propagate Networks, which makes cognitive radio software for wireless LANs, has raised $8 million in Series C venture funding. Motorola participated in the funding. ( www.propagatenetworks.com ) ( www.motorola.com )

Provigent Inc., a system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions provider for broadband wireless, closed a third round of financing for $8 million. ( www.provigent.com )

Sequans Communications, a Paris-based fabless WiMAX semiconductor company, was awarded 500,009 Euros from the French Agency for Innovation (ANVAR). ( www.sequans.com ) ( www.anvar.com )

Vocera Communications secured $6 million in mezzanine round financing. ( www.vocera.com )

Wavesat, a developer of OFDM Broadband Wireless silicon solutions, announced completion of $8 million in third round financing. ( www.wavesat.com )

-- Endings

Editor's Note: We have not generally written about start-ups that didn't survive or acquisitions that didn't close. Some recent announcements caused us to revisit this, particularly for companies which we covered in this newsletter.

Alvarion had previously announced its plan to acquire InterWave Communications International for $56 million. News reports indicate the company "under current terms" is canceling the deal. ( www.alvarion.com )

We have written about Bermai several times--we were impressed with their technology and leadership. However, those attribures were not sufficient to close their next round of funding. We interviewed them on September 24th, and were surprised to hear they shut their doors on September 30th.


Other News

Broadcom introduced a two-chip VoIP chipset, directed at consumer Wi-Fi phones. The chips include integrated support for advanced security and QoS. ( www.broadcom.com )

BT is beginning field trials of a new service, called "BT Freeview Plus". It is enabled by a hybrid DTV and broadband box, which will provide customers with digital TV through a conventional TV aerial and the ability to pay to download films and other programs (VOD) through a broadband internet connection. The service will leverage BT’s ability to temporarily boost download speeds over broadband. BT Freeview Plus reportedly will not have a hard disk, so will not include PVR capabilities. ( www.bt.com )

CableLabs and Samsung Electronics entered into agreements allowing Samsung to implement OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP™) compliant middleware on its interactive digital TVs and set-top boxes. Samsung already offers certified one-way digital cable-ready DTVs, so this agreement enables transition to two-way products. ( www.cablelabs.com ) ( www.samsung.com )

Intellon announced introduction of its next generation 85Mbps powerline networking chipset. It is compliant with the 14 Mbps HomePlug 1.0 specification and offers the higher bandwidth for carrying home entertainment applications such as standard definition video and whole house audio. (See more below.) ( www.intellon.com )

Netflix and TiVo confirmed their deal to supply DVD-quality movies over broadband to their mutual subscribers. The planned VOD service will allow owners of TiVo's digital video recorders to download movies. The companies plan to bring this service online by the end of 2005, but first need to negotiate film distribution rights. ( www.netflix.com ) ( www.tivo.com )

Microsoft introduced Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) 2005 and a host of related products and services, aimed at the digital entertainment market. Computer manufacturers including Dell, Gateway, H-P, Sony and Toshiba have created multimedia PCs based on MCE 2005, which serve as the hub of the digital entertainment experience. Other announcements included Media Center Extender devices from H-P and Linksys; and Digital Audio Receivers (based on Windows Media Connect)--which enable playback of a consumer's digital music in other rooms of the house--from D-Link, Roku and OmniFi. Also included were Windows Media 10 and MSN music. ( www.microsoft.com ) ( www.dell.com ) ( www.gateway.com ) ( www.hp.com ) ( www.sony.com ) ( www.toshiba.com ) ( www.linksys.com ) ( www.dlink.com ) ( www.rokulabs.com ) ( www.omnifimedia.com )

SBC has upped the ante in the bundling game by announcing it will offer high-speed wireless access for $1.99 a month to customers of the company's DSL service. SBC has also discussed its plans to offer dual cellular/Wi-Fi handsets in tandem with Cingular Wireless by as early as next year. The connection would switch automatically from the Cingular network to a (higher speed) hot spot whenever a customer was within its range. Separately, they announced an introductory bundled price for DSL service (with All Distance phone service) at $19.95 for 1 year. ( www.sbc.com ) ( www.cingular.com )

Texas Instruments announced development of digital TV on a single chip for cell phones. Code-named "Hollywood," the chip will support newly established and open digital TV broadcast standards for the wireless industry, including Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld (DVB-H) and Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting - Terrestrial (ISDB-T). ( www.ti.com )

UnitedGlobalCom has launched VoIP services in Hungary and announced similar plans for the Netherlands through its European broadband division UPC. UPC is following the trend of increasing the speed across a range of its chello Internet products in the Netherlands. In the city of Almere, UPC will start a 30 Mbps broadband chello Internet trial to be followed by commercial deployment of new high-end broadband products. ( www.unitedglobal.com ) ( www.chello.com )

--Standards & Alliances

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced that its R7 Home Networking Standards Committee has approved CEA-2027 for publication. This standard details mechanisms to allow audio/video (A/V) devices connected via a home network to present a status and control user interface (UI) on a network-attached rendering device, such as a digital television. The initial release of the standard is for DTV-Link on an IEEE-1394 connection, but work is underway on adding Ethernet. CEA-2027 is available online at IHS ( global.ihs.com ). ( www.ce.org/standards ).

The Wi-Fi Alliance has reacted to companies using terms like "pre-802.11n" and issued a statement strongly discouraging "use of the term 'IEEE 802.11n' in association with any Wi-Fi certified product". 802.11n isn't expected to be standardized until 2006. "To help assure that Wi-Fi technology users continue to have a positive experience, the Wi-Fi Alliance will revoke the Wi-Fi certification of any product with claims of IEEE 802.11n capabilities if that product is proven to adversely impact the interoperability of other Wi-Fi certified products". ( www.wi-fi.org )

-- Regulatory

US

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules to allow broadband over power lines (BPL) to be deployed. The rules will require the equipment to mitigate interference. ( www.fcc.gov )

Separately, the FCC will not require incumbent telephone companies (ILECs) to unbundle fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC) loops, in which fiber is extended within 500 feet of a customer's premises. Previous actions allowed ILECs to not lease their networks to competitors when fiber is installed directly to the home. ( www.fcc.gov )