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The April 7, 2006 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

Roland Josef Bopp is joining Billing Services Group Limited as CEO. Bopp was previously President and CEO of the Americas for Deutsche Telecom. ( www.bsgclearing.com )

Paul Forostowsky has been named CEO of Bluestreak Network. He was previously EVP and head of the company's mobile division. ( www.bluestreaknetwork.com )

Neil Gaydon has been promoted to the role of CEO of Pace Micro Technology. Gaydon has most recently been Director of Worldwide Sales and Marketing. ( www.pacemicro.com )

Don Gordon has joined ICTV as CTO and Senior VP of Engineering. He was previously with Microsoft and DIVA Systems. ( www.ictv.com )

Dale Knoop has joined MobiTV as Sr. Director of Business Development. He will focus on content for Wi-Fi and mobile networks. Knoop was previously Sprint's GM of Multimedia. ( www.mobitv.com )

Steve Martin was appointed to head the engineering organization at Ruckus Wireless. He was previously with Airespace (acquired by Cisco in 2005). ( www.ruckuswireless.com )

Don Mathison is joining the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) as Executive Director of Marketing and Programming of its IPTV service. He was previously President of Broadband Solutions Group. ( www.nrtc.coop )

Chuck Newby was hired as VP of Engineering at Digeo. Newby was co-inventor of the VideoCipher and DigiCipher conditional access/encryption systems. ( www.digeo.com )

Dan Schoo was appointed VP of engineering at RGB Networks. Schoo was previously co-founder of ZRON Networks. ( www.rgbnetworks.com )


Company News

Acquisitions

Google has bought venture-backed @Last Software, developer of the three-dimensional software program SketchUp. Financial details were not released. ( www.google.com ) ( www.sketchup.com )

Lucent was the winning bidder in the bankruptcy court auction of Riverstone Networks with a bid of $207 million. ( www.lucent.com ) ( www.riverstonenet.com )

NBC-Universal is buying women's online community iVillage, in a deal valued at $600 million. ( www.nbcuni.com ) ( www.ivillage.com )

ntl and Virgin Mobile announced agreement on the terms of an offer, valued at £962 million, to acquire Virgin Mobile. Virgin Mobile will be integrated into the NTL portfolio but will bear the Virgin brand, which NTL can use for the next 30 years. The deal would create a full service communications company, offering mobile, fixed-line, broadband and TV services. ( www.ntl.com ) ( www.virgin.com/mobile )

VeriSign is acquiring Kontiki, a broadband content services firm, for $62 million. Kontiki uses peer-to-peer technology to deliver large amounts of digital content over the Web and has worked with VeriSign since 2002. Separately, VeriSign is acquiring privately held m-Qube, which helps companies deliver and bill for mobile content. The acquisition price is $250 million dollars net of cash. ( www.verisign.com ) ( www.kontiki.com ) ( www.m-qube.com )

Funding

Airgain, a developer of smart antennas for the WLAN market, secured $4.1 million in additional financing to expand its smart antenna product line. ( www.airgain.com )

EarthLink is investing $50 million in Covad Communications to assist Covad in building a line-powered voice over DSL network in cities including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. EarthLink offers line-powered voice as part of a DSL Internet access and home-phone service bundle starting at $50 a month. ( www.earthlink.com ) ( www.covad.com )

H-Stream Wireless, a developer of low-power wireless semiconductor solutions, has secured $12.55 million in Series A funding including an investment from Intel Capital. ( www.hstream.com )

Intel Capital is investing $25 million in a joint venture with Pipex Communications, a British company, to sell long-range wireless broadband based on WiMAX. The new company will be called Pipex Wireless. Pipex is transferring its 3.6GHz license to Pipex Wireless. ( www.intel.com ) ( www.pipex.com )

Roundbox, a maker of software to broadcast TV and data to mobile phones, has raised a $15 million Series B round of funding. ( www.roundbox.com )

Siano Mobile Silicon, a fabless semiconductor company developing mobile digital television (MDTV) solutions, has closed its Series B funding of approximately $23 million. ( www.siano-ms.com )

Ubicom, a wireless communications processor and software company, has secured $20 million in funding at the conclusion of its Series 3 financing round. ( www.ubicom.com )

Vyyo, a supplier of broadband access equipment for cable and private wireless broadband networks, announced an agreement for $25 million equity and long term debt from Goldman, Sachs & Co. ( www.vyyo.com )

WiQuest Communications, a developer of ultra wideband wireless chips, has closed $18 million in Series B capital. ( www.wiquest.com )

YouTube, a site for hosting and watching video clips uploaded by its users, has received $8m in second-round funding. ( www.youtube.com )


Other News

Alcatel and Lucent announced merger plans. The new company will be valued at about $25 billion in revenue, will be headquartered in Paris and will have Lucent's Pat Russo as CEO. ( www.alcatel.com ) ( www.lucent.com )

Bell Canada and Rogers began rolling out wireless Broadband in 20 Canadian cities, including Toronto, Hamilton and Windsor. The services are delivered via their joint-venture Inukshuk Wireless and use "pre-Wi-Max" technology.

  • Bell's service, called Sympatico High-Speed Unplugged, has two offers differentiated by speed and price. The lower speed service costs $45/month and the 3 megabit per second premium service costs $60/month.
  • Rogers' service, called Portable Internet from Rogers Yahoo Hi-Speed Internet, provides 1.5 mbps of speed and costs $49.95/month. ( www.bell.ca ) ( www.rogers.com ) ( www.inukshuk.ca )

BSkyB confirmed that the first installations of Sky HD are scheduled to begin in May 2006. The Sky HD box will cost £299 with a £10 monthly subscription for the Sky HD channels, in addition to a Sky digital subscription. ( www.sky.com )

Deutsche Telekom has chosen Microsoft for its upcoming IPTV service to 10 major German cities. The services will be delivered over a new VDSL network, which T-Com is currently extending. ( www.telekom.de ) ( www.microsoft.com )

i3 micro technology, developer of IP CPE, has taken Tilgin as its new name. ( www.tilgin.com )

Intel's GM of mobility, Sean Maloney, announced at the Intel Developer Forum that it plans to start shipping the first WiMax PC cards in the second half of this year. ( www.intel.com )

MobiTV announced that more than one million users now subscribe to its mobile television services worldwide. In the last 6 months, MobiTV has doubled the number of paying subscribers. ( www.mobitv.com )

Movielink and CinemaNow have started selling downloadable versions of movies which can be kept, in addition to their download rental business. New movies will cost approximately $20 to $30 to download -- generally more expensive than the DVD versions. There are also technical constraints regarding transfer to other devices. The downloads will be available the day the DVD is released. ( www.movielink.com ) ( www.cinemanow.com )

Wavesat and HCL Technologies Ltd. announced a partnership to develop high-performance and low-cost 802.16 compliant solutions. The first of several products to be jointly developed by the two companies will be launched in the first half of 2006. ( www.wavesat.com ) ( www.hcltech.com )

Yahoo! announced a pact with CBS to develop microsites featuring video replays and not-available-on-TV footage from "60 Minutes," the CBS news magazine. ( www.yahoo.com ) ( www.cbs.com )


Standards and Trade Associations

IEEE 802 wireless standards news:

  • 802.11i: Members of the ISO voted in favor of the IEEE 802.11i wireless networking security standard as the foundation for a more secure wireless protocol. The 802.11i standard garnered 86% of ballots, while China’s Wired Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure (WAPI) got 22%.
  • 802.11s proposal: The IEEE Mesh Networking Task Group, which has been working on establishing standards for interoperable Wi-Fi mesh networks, has agreed on adoption of a single proposal as the basis for the new standard. When adopted, the new standard will define the MAC and PHY layers for “extended service set mesh networking.”
  • 802.19 Wireless Coexistence Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has started developing a recommended practice defining the methods for assessing the coexistence of wireless networks. The goal is to ensure that different types of wireless technology using the same frequencies don’t cause conflicts with each other. ( www.ieee802.org )

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has selected WiMedia UWB as its future radio platform. The technology will run in unlicensed radio spectrum above 6GHz to avoid concerns of regulatory bodies in Asia and Europe. The result will be to significantly boost transfer speeds to be equivalent to USB or FireWire cables at distances up to 10 feet. ( www.bluetooth.com ) ( www.wimedia.org )

HANA, the High-Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance, announced that Warner Bros. Technical Operations Inc. and Texas Instruments have joined the group. HANA is a cross-industry collaboration addressing the end-to-end needs of connected, high-definition, home entertainment products and services. [See the article below.] ( www.hanaalliance.org )

The HomePlug Alliance announced that:

  • they have chosen the baseline technology for the HomePlug Command and Control specification. HPCC is a technology that empowers consumers to control lights, appliances and other digital devices from outside the home. The chosen technology comes from Yitran, which will work with Ariane Controls and GE Security to refine the standard.
  • the first devices supporting the HomePlug AV spec were announced by Aztech Systems Ltd and devolo AG. ( www.homeplug.org ) ( www.aztech.com ) ( www.devolo.com/co_EN/ )

MoCA, the Multimedia over Coax Alliance

Countries

US

The FCC, by not acting on a petition Verizon filed in December 2004, has deregulated the company's high-end broadband services. The lack of FCC action to modify Verizon's request allowed Verizon's offerings to move from common-carrier to information-services status. The decision faces a legal challenge in the U.S. Court of Appeals. ( www.fcc.gov ) ( www.verizon.com )

UK

Ofcom released a proposal to stop regulating the retail prices for fixed-line rental and calls charged by British Telecom. The proposal would allow all phone operators, including BT, to set their own prices. ( www.ofcom.org.uk ) ( www.bt.com )

BT is increasing its top download speed from 2 Mbps to 8 Mbps. The higher speed is now available on their top package and is being sequentially added to their other pricing packages.