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The January 24, 2005 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

Ihab Abu-Hakima has been named chief executive and president of Meru Networks Inc. Abu-Hakima most recently was with Proxim. ( www.merunetworks.com )

Olivier Baujard has been appointed new CTO at Alcatel Corp. The company said current CTO Niel Ransom is leaving "to pursue new opportunities outside of Alcatel." Baujard was previously Alcatel's VP of Corporate Strategy. ( www.alcatel.com )

Thomas Harvey has been named Senior VP of Sales and Marketing at Norcent. Harvey joins Norcent after spending the past seven years at Faroudja Laboratories. ( www.norcent.net )

Craig Kugler has joined ICTV in the newly created position of Senior VP, Customer Service and Operations. Kugler joins ICTV after a 26-year career with DST Innovis. ( www.ictv.com )

Fraser Park has taken the position of CFO at TANDBERG Television. Park is a former strategy consultant at McKinsey & Co, Inc. ( www.tandbergtv.com )

Mark Rooney was named sales director for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Entone Technologies Inc. Rooney was previously chief executive of VDSL Systems Ltd. ( www.entone.com )

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


Company News

--Acquisitions

Cablevision Systems Rainbow DBS Company LLC agreed to sell its voom direct broadcast satellite assets to a subsidiary of EchoStar Communications for $200 million. ( www.cablevision.com ) ( www.echostar.com )

Cisco Systems, Inc. is acquiring privately-held Airespace, Inc., a provider of wireless local area networking systems. Cisco will pay approximately $450 million in stock and assumed options for Airespace. ( www.cisco.com ) ( www.airespace.com )

Double C Technologies, LLC, a joint venture majority owned and controlled by Comcast Corporation with a minority investment by Cox Communications, Inc. is buying the North American business assets of Liberate Technologies. Liberate will receive cash consideration of approximately $82 million. Liberate, a maker of software for television set-top boxes, is keeping its European business. ( www.comcast.com ) ( www.cox.com ) ( www.liberate.com )

Liberty Media International will pay about $3.65 billion in stock to buy the remaining shares of Denver-based UnitedGlobalCom. Separately, LMI paid $23m for a controlling interest in Cable Partners Europe; as a result of the transaction, LMI will be the control shareholder of Cable Associates Holdings Belgium, which will hold an approximate 14% indirect interest in Telenet, the largest cable operator in Belgium. ( www.libertymediainternational.com ) ( www.unitedglobal.com ) ( www.telenet.be )

Motorola, Inc. has acquired privately-held Ucentric Systems, Inc., a provider of home media networking software for the connected home. Financial details were not disclosed. ( www.motorola.com ) ( www.ucentric.com )

Tut Systems has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Cosine Communications in a stock-for-stock transaction valued at approximately $24.1 million. The transaction is expected to result in net cash to Tut Systems of approximately $22.75 million. at ( www.tutsystems.com ) ( www.cosinecom.com )

--Funding

Antenova Ltd, an integrated RF solutions company, has closed a $12 million Series C funding round. ( www.antenova.com )

Barrett Xplore Inc., a Canadian wireless broadband services company and subsidiary of closely held Barrett Corp., has received C$30 million (US $24.3 million) in private equity. ( www.barrettxplore.com ) ( www.barrettcorp.com )

Irish Broadband has secured 18 million Euros in funding to help the company expand its nationwide broadband wireless network in Ireland. ( www.irishbroadband.ie )

Magnolia Broadband Inc., a wireless chip company, has added at least $1.5 million of strategic funding to its Series C round. ( www.magnoliabroadband.com )

NTT DoCoMo is taking a $4 million stake in Emcore Technology, which owns position information service firm Beijing Lingtu Spacecom Technology and a $4.2 million stake in Digital Media Group, which offers digital advertisement services. DoCoMo is using such investments to increase its presence in China's mobile telecommunications industry, such as in businesses combining digital media and wireless technologies. ( www.nttdocomo.com )

RGB Networks, which provides video processing and bandwidth management products, closed its Series B round of funding totaling more than $12 million. Investors include Comcast Interactive Capital (CIC). ( www.rgbnetworks.com )


Other News

2Wire and SBC Communications have launched SBC Media Solutions, a joint venture to deliver entertainment services to the home. The joint venture represents the integration of satellite TV programming, DVR capabilities, video on demand, and digital content management via 2Wire's set top box technology. At SBC Media Solutions, Ed Cholerton, VP of SBC DSL, will be CEOl Brian Hinman, CEO of 2Wire, will also take on the role of president. ( www.2wire.com ) ( www.sbc.com )

Airgo Networks, a pioneer in MIMO (multiple input/multiple output) technology, announced it has shipped over one million True MIMO™ chips in less than one quarter of retail market availability. MIMO OFDM is the key technology in proposals for the future IEEE 802.11n standard. [See our article on Airgo later in this issue.] ( www.airgonetworks.com )

Comcast announced it is upgrading its two residential speed tiers at no additional charge. The current 3Mbps downstream/256kbps upstream tier will be upgraded to 4Mbps/384kbps, and its 4Mbps downstream/384kbps upstream tier will jump to a faster 6Mbps/768kbps. The company is also adding more services, such as a free subscription to RealNetworks' music service, Rhapsody RadioPlus. The service, which normally costs $4.95 per month, will be introduced shortly. ( www.comcast.com ) ( www.realnetworks.com )

CopperGate and Ucentric announced a joint IP network solution for delivering whole-home entertainment applications using existing coaxial cable and phone lines. The integrated solution enables distribution of high-definition and standard definition broadcast quality video sessions and is well suited to Ucentric's Whole-Home DVR™ (digital video recording) application. ( www.copper-gate.com ) ( www.ucentric.com )

DIRECTV has selected Ucentric Systems to power its new Home Media Center. The DIRECTV Home Media Center is designed to be a whole-home entertainment solution which will enable its customers to access content, such as digitally recorded video, photos and music from all the TV sets throughout the home. ( www.directv.com ) ( www.ucentric.com )

Linksys and Intel announced a new Linksys digital media adapter with support for DTCP-IP (Digital Transmission Content Protection over IP), an industry standard framework for media adapters to move Internet-based premium content from the PC to other devices on a wired or wireless home network. With this standard, the new Linksys WMLV54G unit will help consumers to receive premium movie and music services from such companies as Movielink and RealNetworks Inc. on TV and stereos around their home. ( www.linksys.com ) ( www.intel.com )

Matsushita, Royal Philips Electronics, Samsung and Sony formed the Marlin Joint Development Association, with the goal of developing a standard that will let manufacturers build devices that can share copy-protected material. The group also includes digital-rights management company Intertrust Technologies. The Marlin group draws from the work of the Coral Consortium, a previously formed coalition with similar membership. Currently, Apple Computer and Microsoft each use their proprietary digital-rights management (DRM) technologies for content distributed in their own media formats. That situation makes some content incompatible with some hardware. ( www.coral-interop.org )

Verizon Wireless will be launching a new service called VCAST that delivers entertainment, music and 3-D games to broadband-enabled phones. Separately, Verizon Communications Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. announced a multi-year alliance to deliver a fully integrated co-branded broadband offering to subscribers to Verizon Online's DSL and new fiber-based FiOS services. ( www.verizonwireless.com ) ( www.verizon.com ) ( www.yahoo.com )

Video54 Technologies has introduced a home wireless networking technology designed to beam quality video, including high-definition, over Wi-Fi networks. NETGEAR will be the first company to integrate it with its Wi-Fi home networking gear. ( www.video54.com ) ( www.netgear.com )

Vonage released several announcements in conjunction with the CES show. These include:

  • reaching 400,000 customers using their broadband phone service
  • partnering with UTStarcom to introduce a portable Wi-Fi handset
  • partnering with phone supplier VTech to develop a broadband cordless phone system configured with Vonage's service. The phone plugs directly into a customer's broadband connection or router, eliminating the need for a stand alone adapter and telephone.
  • the extension of their relationship with Texas Instruments to include TI VoIP software and semiconductors in new Vonage-compatible communications products available from partners VTech and Viseon. The Viseon videophone will be available from Vonage along with their videophone service. ( www.vonage.com ) ( www.utstar.com ) ( www.vtech.com ) ( www.ti.com ) ( www.viseon.com )

ZTE, one of China’s largest telecommunications manufacturers, announced a partnership with Intel to develop and promote WiMAX. The two companies will cooperate on product and standards development and will also jointly lobby regulatory agencies for securing adequate radio spectrum for WiMAX. ( www.zte.com.cn/English/ ) ( www.intel.com )

-- Standards

The IEEE 802.22 working group on Wireless Regional Area Networks ("WRANs") began developing a standard for devices in the US analog TV band (UHF/VHF spectrum below 900 MHz, to be vacated by broadcasters moving to digital TV). The group was told that the PHY must incorporate a cognitive radio (CR) to allow detection and avoid signals from incumbent services. Observers are concerned about the overlap between 802.22 and 802.16 (WiMAX).