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February 2006

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MultiService Forum Announces GMI 2006 Goals

February 28, 2006

Yesterday, the MultiService Forum (MSF) held a press conference to outline the test frameworks for GMI 2006, its bi-annual global test event to be held in October 2006. Hosted by five of the world’s largest carriers (BT, KT, NTT, Verizon, and Vodafone as well as a state-of-the-art test facility at the University of New Hampshire) the event will comprise a large-scale, real network trial of the MSF IMS-compatible (IP Multimedia System) Release 3 architecture.

The GMI 2006 event is designed to bring together dozens of carriers and vendors to test the interoperability of IMS-based infrastructure components in a real-world setting. According to the MSF, GMI 2006 will provide a test-bed for the full spectrum of hardware, processes and services needed to assemble an effective next-generation delivery platform.

Sphere Announces Sphericall 5

February 28, 2006

I saw this on today's wire. Looks like Sphere Communications has finally taken the covers off its Release 5 of Sphericall. I've summarized the release below wiith a focus on what I think are the more significant elements of this news.

Sphericall 5 features communications Web Services for business application software integration, SIP trunking and expanded SIP device support, software-based call recording and Assured Services for optimizing emergency communications.

VoIP by the Numbers

February 27, 2006

Two sets of numbers crossed my desk today. Looks like more evidence that VoIP is here to stay.

Stats from Infonetics and TIA both show significant growth.


Sportal to Offer VoIP

February 27, 2006

Sports Web site is offering free calls, voice and video messages online. Sportal announced a deal with the Voice Commerce Group to stream a World Cup warm up match between Trinidad & Tobago and Iceland on Tuesday February 28, with video, voice and chat features.

The deal will see provide a VoIP service offering video Casts and access to live sports events, along with free PC-to-PC calls, phone calls and video and voice messaging to lets fans discuss events as they happen.

T&T finds itself in difficult Group B in this year's World Cup.

Nortel: Zafirovski Names New VP

February 27, 2006

President and CEO Mike Zafirovski continued to revamp the executive suite at Nortel as he announced the appointment of Joseph Flanagan as vice president, Order Management.

Flanagan will report to Joel Hackney, senior vice president, Global Supply Chain and Quality and will be responsible for leading and standardizing the Company's business-to-business processes, and driving increased efficiencies across operations systems. Flanagan, who has global responsibilities, will work closely with Nortel's sales operations teams to ensure tight alignment with the strategic direction of sales and marketing.

Flanagan comes to Nortel from GE, where for the past 13 years he has held positions of increasing responsibility, culminating in the post of General Manager of Operations for GE Consumer & Industrial in EMEA.

eLec Rings Liberty Bell

February 27, 2006

eLEC Communications Corp.  a telecommunications holding company and the parent company of  VoIP services provider, VoX Communications Corp., today announced that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire Liberty Bell Telecom, LLC, a privately-held telecommunications company that provides local and long distance telephone service in the State of Colorado.

For more information, check out the companies' Web sites:

Vox Communications

eLec Communications

Nortel CEO: This Will Be A Growth Story

February 24, 2006

Nortel CEO Mike Zafirovski said yesterday at the RBC Capital Markets Communications, Media and Technology Conference in Whistler, British Columbia that the telecom equipment maker is poised to embark on a growth story. We’re “starting at ground zero,” he said and “we have a very tall mountain to climb.”

He said the company will announce next week how it plans to spend its $1.9 billion research and development budget. Among the more promising technologies that Nortel will likely invest in are IMS, WiMAX, and IPTV.

“We have teams working on where and how we will be investing $1.9 billion,” Zafirovski said.

Consumer Group Set to Debunk FCC USF "Crisis"

February 24, 2006

In November 2005, the Keep USF Fair Coalition  released its report entitled “Losing Numbers:  How America’s Most Vulnerable Consumers Could Suffer Under Universal Service Fund (USF) ‘Reform’” noting:

“The currently consumer-friendly ‘pay for what you use’ approach to funding the Universal Service Fund would be replaced under the Martin plan with a regressive, flat-fee arrangement of $1–$2 or more per phone line — regardless of whether or not consumers even make a long-distance call. For a consumer who now dials only a handful of long-distance calls per year and pays correspondingly low USF taxes, the effective tax rate under the Martin plan would soar by more than 1,000 percent on an annual basis! With low-income and elderly consumers already socked with high gas prices, the prospect of soaring winter heating bills and continued inflation in medical prescriptions, the wide range of diverse groups in the Keep USF Fair Coalition are opposing the Martin ‘numbers’ based plan.  These groups caution against balancing USF finances on the backs of the very consumers who use long-distance the least and are unable to afford phone bills that would rise under “numbers” simply in order to subsidize high-income/high-volume callers.”

Today the group announced it will present data disputing the FCC’s claims on Monday February 27..

Interested parties can join the live, telephone-based news conference and Q&A, by dialing 1-(800) 860-2442 prior to the 1:30 p.m.

Happy Birthday Steve Jobs

February 24, 2006

Today is Steve Jobs’ birthday.

Happy Birthday Steve!

For your birthday we give you a billion. That is, a billion songs have now been downloaded from Apple’s iTunes Music Store.

The billionth song Speed of Sound was purchased as part of Coldplay’s X&Y album by Alex Ostrovsky from West Bloomfield, Michigan and for his fortuitous timing, Alex will be rewarded with a 20-inch iMac, 10 fifth-generation iPods, and a $10,000 gift card good for any item on the iTunes Music Store.

A Walk Among the Bones

February 23, 2006

Change. Growth. Evolution.

My wife and I took our children to the American Museum of Natural History in NYC this past week, and it was an interesting study of human evolution.

Top Tech CEOs Agree With ...ME!

February 22, 2006

Looks like I'm not the only one who thinks our nation is in dire need of help from the wireLESS community.

According to this report from Reuters, several leading tech CEOs  plan to call upon Washington to free up more spectrum for the next generation of wireless applications. 

Here's the Reuters report:

Chief executive officers of some leading technology companies plan to call on Thursday for the U.S. government to find more wireless airwaves for use as new applications emerge .

FTTH Growing By Leaps & Bounds

February 22, 2006

The Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), today announced new estimates showing FTTH deployments now passing over 3.6 million U.S. homes, an increase of almost 1 million homes in four months.

The new figures show the most rapid growth of FTTH deployment to date, with more than 230,000 additional homes passed every month.

“Typically telecom construction slows in winter months,” said Michael Render of market research firm Render, Vanderslice and Associates, which prepared the estimates.  “To see acceleration at this time of year indicates increased preference for FTTH as an infrastructure of choice.” 

The figures also show acceleration among homes connected by FTTH, which normally lags homes passed by several months.  Over the last four months, the estimate shows, homes connected with FTTH have increased by 70% — to 548,000 subscribers from 322,000.

Can't Beat FREE! New SMB PBX from Popular Telephony

February 21, 2006

Popular Telephony today announced the worldwide Beta release of PeerioBiz 1.1 - the serverless enterprise communication platform that comes loaded with business level PBX features and multi-lingual Instant Messaging (IM) all available for free download.

PeerioBiz is designed for SMB users who need a reliable, secure and scalable VoIP solution. It includes business PBX features and an enterprise IM application that are all designed to showcase the solution's overall simplicity and low cost nature.

Check out the company's Web site here.

FrontRange Launches IP Office Suite

February 17, 2006

FrontRange Solutions today announced the release of IP Office Suite - their new complete IP telephony phone system and the foundation of their Communications Management solution family.

Designed entirely in software, IP Office Suite is designed to provide IP-based telephony functionality to the SMB and distributed enterprise. According to a press announcement, FrontRange's expanding Communication Management family demonstrates a tipping point in the adoption of VoIP by proving that IP is no longer just being adopted as a 'tech' application but truly being used to improve business processes and customer satisfaction throughout the organization. Moreover, these new solutions enable the SMB and distributed enterprise to benefit from enterprise level technology without having to sacrifice enterprise level resources.

NMS Acquires Openera

February 14, 2006

NMS Communications today announced the acquisition of Openera Technologies. Openera will become an integral part of NMS’s Mobile Applications business.

I wrote about Openera back in December. They  make IMS mobile client applications for both fixed and mobile operators, and in fact launched a P2P video sharing application when last we spoke.

Nortel Launches ATCA IMS Platform

February 14, 2006

In today’s news emanating from 3GSM in Barcelona, Nortel announced aggressive plans to evolve its wireless and wireline platforms to the Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (ATCA).

As part of its strategy to provide open, carrier grade solutions, Nortel is bringing to market a second generation, carrier grade ATCA-based platform - the Versatile Service Engine (VSE) - to support the unique market requirements of wireless, wireline and cable operators.

Nortel's Call Session Control Function (CSCF), which is in multiple global customer trials, will be the first IMS product delivered on the VSE platform, with planned commercial availability in the second quarter of 2006. Nortel intends to introduce additional IMS and core products such as the IMS Home Subscriber Server (HSS), wireline/wireless call servers (MSC) and Home Location Registers (HLR) on the VSE in 2006 and 2007.

FMC: Carriers Get Set to Spend

February 13, 2006

I just received my weekly issue of the Sage/CMB Market Pulse market research from Sage Research (the technology practice of Chadwick Martin Bailey) that explores the hottest topics and issues on the minds of the 13,000 enterprise and service provider technology professionals that make up their Technology Panel...

Fixed/Mobile convergence (FMC) is one of the early applications being deployed in realm of IMS. If the Sage data are to be believed, only 11% of the carriers surveyed believe that FMC is not worth allocating any budget. Conversely 89% of the survey respondents are spending or evaluating at least some future spend in the space.

VoIP Goes West, Young Man

February 6, 2006

It looks like West is into VoIP for the long haul.

The news came down today that West Interactive Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of West Corporation, has selected the Sonus IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS)-ready architecture as a component of its next generation voice network. West Interactive, which specializes in interactive voice response (IVR) services, is deploying a new VoIP network to cost-effectively increase network capacity and support the development of new revenue-generating services.

Last week West announced that it had purchased Intrado, a Colorado-based company that provides 911 operations support systems services to LECs and wireless telcos in North America.

Brix Launches IPTV Service Assurance

February 6, 2006

Brix Networks today unveiled its new BrixVision IPTV service assurance portfolio, a comprehensive offering designed to give service providers complete visibility into the quality of video content, the underlying delivery infrastructure, and the overall customer experience. 

This solution set has been developed specifically for IPTV deployments, and the company says it delivers the unequaled service visibility that providers demand, which has been unmet by legacy test and measurement tool suppliers. 

“IPTV is a very complex and highly performance-sensitive service that places increased demands on a network.  As a result, the importance of the customer’s quality of experience has been greatly elevated,” said Kaynam Hedayat, chief technology officer at Brix Networks.

With BrixVision, service providers can perform root-cause analysis to identify IP transmission versus video quality impairments, monitor end-to-end video quality, and proactively monitor and manage their subscribers’ experience throughout the lifecycle of their services.

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