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The May 23, 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

Nancy Anderson has been named chief executive at AudioFeast. ( www.audiofeast.com )

David Baranski has been hired as VP of Sales, the Americas for Terayon. ( www.terayon.com )

Scott Blaine has been named interim CEO and President of Kineto Wireless. ( www.kinetowireless.com )

Chris Costa has joined Radiant Communications as Director of Engineering. Costa was previously with GE Security’s Fiber Options Division. ( www.RCCfiber.com )

Arata Hirao was appointed General Manager, Representative Director of OPENTV JAPAN. He was previously at Critical Path Japan, Inc. ( www.opentv.com )

JD Howard was named President, CEO and board member of LongBoard. Previously he was President and Representative Director of Lucent Technologies Japan. ( www.longboard.com )

Gary Kunis has been named Chief Technology Officer at Nortel Networks Ltd. Kunis was the Chief Science Officer at Cisco Systems Inc. until 2002. ( www.nortel.com )

Michelle Kuska has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Broadband Access at CableLabs. She leads the combined efforts of DOCSIS® cable modems and CableHome® home-networking initiatives. ( www.cablelabs.com )

Bob Machlin has joined SkyPilot Networks as President and CEO. Machlin was previously with AirFlow Networks. ( www.skypilot.com )

Colin Macnab is joining Artimi, an Ultra Wideband technology company, as CEO. Macnab previously was at Atheros. ( www.artimi.com )

David W. Monroe has joined Eyeball Networks as its Director, Sales and Marketing. David was previously with TIR Systems. ( www.eyeball.com )

David Nicholas has been named Senior VP of Strategic Sales at Xtend Networks. He was previously a VP at N2 Broadband. ( www.xtendnetworks.com )

Suresh Nihalani has been appointed President and CEO of Omnilux Inc. ( www.omnilux.net )

Daniel O'Brien has been appointed Chairman and CEO of Gotuit Media Corp. O'Brien was previously CEO of Brief Original Broadcasts (BOB) ( www.gotuit.com )

John Pickens has been appointed VP of technology at Arroyo Video Solutions, and Tom Foster was named VP of national accounts. ( www.arroyo.tv )

John Rayfield has been appointed CEO at Morpho Technologies. He was most recently with Novelchange Inc. ( www.morphotech.com )

Richard Sekar has been appointed VP of marketing at TZero Technologies Inc., a developer of wireless networking chipsets. Sekar was previously at Ikanos Communications Inc. ( www.tzti.com )

Peter Stern has been promoted to Executive VP of Product Management at Time Warner Cable. ( www.twcable.com )

Bill Waters was appointed Senior VP of Worldwide Sales at Aperto Networks. He was formerly with BayPackets. ( www.apertonet.com )

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


Company News

Acquisitions

Airspan Networks Inc., a developer of VoIP solutions, is acquiring the outstanding shares of ArelNet Ltd., a provider of broadband wireless equipment, for $8.7 million. ( www.airspan.com ) ( www.arelnet.com )

Cisco is acquiring privately-held Sipura Technology, a consumer VoIP technology company, for $68 million in cash and options. ( www.cisco.com ) ( www.sipura.com )

Duke Energy and Cinergy agreed to merge under the Duke Energy Corp. name. The combined company will serve 5.4 million retail customers and have assets of more than $70 billion. Each of these companies has been active in projects involving broadband over powerline (BPL). ( www.duke-energy.com ) ( www.cinergy.com )

ECI Telecom is acquiring Laurel Networks for $88 million in cash. ( www.ecitele.com ) ( www.laurelnetworks.com )

RealNetworks is acquiring mobile gaming publisher Mr. Goodliving for $15 million in cash. ( www.realnetworks.com ) ( www.mrgoodliving.com )

SeaChange is acquiring the assets of Liberate Technologies outside North America for $25.5 million in cash. Previously Liberate's North American business was sold to a joint venture of Comcast and Cox Cable. ( www.schange.com ) ( www.liberate.com )

Thomson has acquired Cirpack, a provider of softswitch platforms. The acquisition cost was not disclosed. ( www.thomson.net ) ( www.cirpack.com )

Time Warner and Comcast, the two largest US cable television companies, have reached an agreement to acquire substantially all of Adelphia's assets in the United States for $12.7 billion in cash and 16 percent of the common stock of Time Warner's cable subsidiary, for a total of $17.6 billion. After closing Comcast will have 23.3 million customers and Time Warner will have 14.4 million. ( www.timewarner.com ) ( www.comcast.com ) ( www.adelphia.com )

Funding

Aktino, which makes DSL technology that implements MIMO techniques on DMT-based copper access platforms, raised a $16 million Series B round. ( www.aktino.com )

Akustica, a wireless chip maker, has secured $15 million in third round financing. ( www.akustica.com )

Asylum Telecom LLC, a provider of Internet-based communications solutions, has received a "strategic minority investment" from Motorola Ventures. Terms of the investment were not disclosed. ( www.asylumtel.com ) ( www.motorola.com/ventures )

Bluestreak Network, a developer of digital and mobile TV software, has secured $6 million in second round funding. ( www.bluestreaknetwork.com )

Broadband iTV Inc., which provides applications for cable operators, closed a $375,000 tranche of its $3 million Series B round. ( www.bbitv.com )

Caspian, a provider of flow state solutions for IP networks, has secured an additional $55 million in funding. ( www.caspian.com )

Network Chemistry, a WLAN security firm, secured $6 million in new funding. ( www.networkchemistry.com )

Outsmart Ltd., a provider of Fixed-Mobile Convergence solutions, has secured $17 million in venture funding. ( www.outsmarttelecom.com )

Sandvine, a provider of broadband management solutions, has secured $15 million in venture funding. ( www.sandvine.com )

Siano Mobile Silicon, a semiconductor chip provider, has received $11.5 million in Series A funding. The company develops silicon receivers for the emerging mobile digital TV market ( www.siano-ms.com )

SIPquest, a developer of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) based IP Telephony, has secured $6 million in venture funding. ( www.sipquest.com )

SkyPilot Networks announced a $15 million round of funding. ( www.skypilot.com )

VoIPshield Systems, a VoIP security systems developer, has secured $2 million in seed financing. ( www.voipshield.com )

Vonage has secured $200M in new funding. The company, which started offering VoIP in the US, now also offers service in the UK. ( www.vonage.com )

Other News

2Wire launched its 2000 series gateways, equipped with an ADSL2/2+ modem to support broadband speeds up to 24Mbps (designed with IPTV in mind), as well as built-in Voice over IP ports. The gateways include 2Wire's FullPass instant set-up technology and support the DSL Forum's TR-069 industry standard, so that they are compatible with any standardized back-end component management system. ( www.2wire.com )

Crown Castle Mobile Media and Microsoft announced Crown Castle's selection of Windows Media® Audio, Media Video 9 and Media Digital Rights Management (DRM) 10 for its Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld (DVB-H) broadcast service deployment. Crown Castle Mobile Media intends to build and operate a dedicated DVB-H network for broadcasting digital television content to mobile devices including cell phones using spectrum they have already acquired. ( www.crowncastle.com ) ( www.microsoft.com )

Microsoft launched MSN Video Downloads, with daily downloadable video content including news, sports and entertainment programming for Windows Mobile-based devices. The service delivers subscription-based mobile TV, including content from numerous partners. Some content will be free; $19.95 yearly buys access to all available videos. ( www.microsoft.com )

Microsoft recently launched Windows Mobile 5.0, which eliminates the previous differences between the Smartphone and Pocket PC versions, creating an almost identical system for all mobile devices. Separately, Microsoft also launched its new Xbox 365. ( www.microsoft.com )

Motive and Alcatel announced a strategic alliance to jointly develop and sell a solution which enables broadband providers to automate the deployment, configuration and support of any residential gateway (RGW). In addition, Motive, as part of its Digital Home Management strategy, announced that residential gateways from Linksys, SMC Networks and Westell have achieved interoperability with its broadband management software. This is the next step in implementing the DSL Forum’s http://www.dslforum.org/aboutdsl/Technical_Reports/TR-064.doc" target="_blank">TR-064 and http://www.dslforum.org/aboutdsl/Technical_Reports/TR-069.doc" TR-069" /> specifications, which define capabilities allowing service providers to activate and manage gateways remotely. [See our article ] ( www.motive.com ) ( www.alcatel.com ) ( www.linksys.com ) ( www.smc.com ) ( www.westell.com ) ( www.dslforum.org )

RealNetworks introduced three new tiers of Rhapsody® services:

  • Rhapsody 25 is a free "entry level" service. Users can listen to and legally share 25 full tracks of their choosing from Rhapsody’s library of over one million songs each month; send playlists to each other; and manage their entire digital music collection with a single user interface.
  • Rhapsody Unlimited is a "premium" service. For $9.99 a month, users can listen to an unlimited amount of music, download an unlimited number of songs to their PC’s hard drive and enjoy them offline for as long as they remain subscribers.
  • Rhapsody To Go includes the Unlimited service. For $5 more, users can transfer an unlimited number of downloads to compatible portable music players. ( www.realnetworks.com ) ( www.rhapsody.com )

Rogers Communications announced it will be the first Canadian telecom company to deliver live TV to wireless phones. The company plans to launch the service in the current quarter with at least eight channels. The Rogers service will be powered by MobiTV. ( www.rogers.ca ) ( www.mobitv.com )

Skype announced passing the 100 millionth download of their software. Additionally, they announced the public beta launch of two new premium services, SkypeIn and Skype Voicemail. SkypeIn allows customers to receive inbound calls to their Skype client from ordinary fixed or mobile phones or mobile phones worldwide, as they travel, in order to avoid roaming charges. Skype Voicemail provides users the ability to manage incoming voicemail messages. ( www.skype.com )

TotalVid, a seller of specialty videos for download to PCs, signed a deal with Comcast. Comcast subscribers will be able to download one free TotalVid selection per month. TotalVid offers over 1,000 titles varying from martial arts to home improvement, which cost up to $4 and expire after seven days. ( www.totalvid.com )

The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) has launched an industry reference test bed for voice over wireless (VoWLAN) testing. The lab is now mixing wireline and wireless tests for voice and data. The UNH-IOL test bed has 138 wireless access points from 35 manufacturers, various testing environments, test platforms and traffic generation and analysis capabilities. The test lab's goal is to provide equipment vendors an unbiased environment to test product conformance and interoperability. ( www.iol.unh.edu/testsuites/wireless )

Vivendi Universal SA is merging its Cegetel fixed-line and Internet divisions with Neuf Telecom. The combined company will be called Neuf Cegetel. Cegetel was already France's second largest phone service provider. ( www.vivendiuniversal.com ) ( www.sfrcegetel.fr ) ( www.neuf.com )

WildBlue Communications announced it will introduce its satellite Internet service in June, providing high-speed Internet connections to homes and small businesses in the continental U.S. The service is based on two-way satellite spot-beam service to provide high-speed data in both directions, upstream and downstream. The monthly price will start at $49.95. ( www.wildblue.com )

Yahoo! launched Yahoo! Music Unlimited, an online music subscription service with over one million songs, priced at $6.99 per month or $60 per year. Users can transfer tracks from the PC to their portable devices or share music through Yahoo Messenger. ( music.yahoo.com/unlimited )


Regulatory

US

Broadcast Flag: A federal appeals court ruled that the FCC exceeded its authority by requiring that consumer electronics manufacturers include a "broadcast flag" anti-copying capability in products sold after July 1, 2005.

911 mandate: The FCC has followed action similar to that of Canadian regulators last month, in ruling that VoIP service providers that connect to the public switched network must provide access to 911 services to its customers within the next 120 days. Incumbent carriers are required to provide 911 infrastructure to VoIP service providers. The decision effects both fixed VoIP lines and nomadic phones. ( www.fcc.gov )

Canada

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) mandated that VoIP providers offer emergency 911 services to their subscribers. Service providers offering fixed VoIP service must provide the same level of 9-1-1 emergency service provided by incumbent telephone companies to their existing customers. Those offering either nomadic or foreign exchange VoIP service must implement an interim solution providing a level of service comparable to Basic 9-1-1 service. These requirements must be implemented within 90 days of April 4th. ( www.crtc.ca )

In a split decision, the CRTC also determined that it would regulate Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service only when it is provided and used as local telephone service. Thus, the prices ILECs charge for VoIP services will be regulated, but those charged by other companies offering VoIP will not be. An appeal to the cabinet from the incumbents is possible.


Country Updates

Hong Kong

Last month we wrote about 100 Mbps to the consumer. A recent announcement fro Hong Kong makes that speed look slow! Hong Kong Broadband Network Limited (HKBN), a wholly owned subsidiary of City Telecom (H.K.) Limited launched its residential 1Gbps Internet access service, called bb1000. Their Premium bb1000 service costs US$215/month, their Mass Market bb100 (symmetric 100 Mbps) costs US$34/month (!) and their Mass Market Entry Point bb10 (symmetric 10 Mpbs) costs US$16/month. This kind of offering would not be cost effective in places that don't have Hong Kong's extraordinary population density (6,250 people per square kilometer). ( www.ctihk.com )

Britain

Point Topic has published Broadband, the Internet and the Election mapping the "Digital Divide" in Britain, an issue in the recent election. These show for the first time how many business and residential broadband users there are in each constituency. There's a big range between the peaks and the valleys of "Broadband Britain". Some places, such as parts of Cardiff, show over 30% of households with broadband; others, such as Wales, are below 10%. "The peaks are areas where the population is relatively young and prosperous, with many people in managerial jobs, and where BT competes with the cable networks to offer broadband services." ( www.point-topic.com )

Italy

eMarketer recently published results on consumer broadband adoption in Italy and compared them with Forrester predictions. The results showed that consumer broadband adoption in Italy jumped 113% last year, far faster than the 60% rate across Europe as a whole. By the end of 2004, residential broadband penetration was almost 20% according to Forrester (17% according to eMarketer). Forrester predicts that 40% of all Italian households will have broadband by the end of the decade, while eMarketer predicts the 2010 rate will be almost 50%.