First Coffee for 21 February, 2006

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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First Coffee for 21 February, 2006

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Loudon Wainwright III’s “Dead Skunk.” Ever cranked this song up and sung along, with appropriate hand motions? Gives your kids a whole new window into your personality:

Choice One Communications Inc. has announced that Easton Telecom Services L.L.C., a Cleveland-based telecommunications service provider, has signed a multi-year agreement for Choice One’s UNE-P Alternative Access service.

The agreement with Choice One gives Easton a choice of provisioning options and provides them with an alternative to the ILEC. This should let them be a bit more aggressive with pricing.

“New federal regulations have changed the rules governing the incumbent providers,” observed Nick Sgroi, Vice President Choice One Carrier Services.

Robert Mocas, President, Easton Telecom Services said the agreement with Choice One lets his company use “the breadth of Choice One’s network to offer competitive plans and to expand our product offering. Most importantly, it gives us the ability to look beyond the ILEC and avoid being forced into accepting the stringent terms found in the RBOC UNE-P Replacement commercial agreements.”

Choice One Carrier Services offers a wide range of carrier class services including UNE-P Alternative Access, Metro Private Line, Private Line, Collocation, Local Loop, Integrated T1, DSL and Voice services in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets across the Northeast and Midwest. Choice One provides CLECs, Switchless Resellers and VoIP providers with an alternative to the incumbent service provider, and maybe lets them offer services in markets they would otherwise not be able to hit.

Ascom Wireless Solution Inc., a developer of on-site wireless communications products, has announced that NeTeam, Inc. has become an Ascom Certified Product Partner.

NeTeam, an IT products company with headquarters in Akron, Ohio will be a reseller of the Ascom FreeNET and UNITE messaging products.

Huh? Well, we just felt we weren’t covering Ohio well enough, you know? Got a problem with that? Maybe it’d do you good to know more of what goes on in flyover country.

The Ascom FreeNET standards-based product consists of market-specific VoWiFi portable handsets, a messaging system, VoIP Gateway for integration with an existing PBX and supports IEEE standards, including 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11e (Quality of Service), and 802.11i (Security).

The UNITE Messaging Suite consists of small embedded computing servers with Ascom software applications using a Linux kernel providing unparalleled reliability. This is a major improvement over current servers and operating systems and yields substantially longer mean time between failures.

Tom McKearney, VP of Marketing and Business Development for Ascom said the partnership should help NeTeam in deploying wireless and integrating VoIP systems “by having access to our VoWiFi handsets and integration middleware.”

The Bangkok Post is reporting that the Thailand Excise Department is preparing to introduce microchips with radio frequency identification to replace excise stamps on cigarettes and liquor products within the year.

The point is to “strengthen the department’s efforts to identify counterfeit products,” according to director-general Uthit Thammawathin:

“It’s very difficult to distinguish between genuine and fake excise stamps, as those who produce counterfeit products or illegally import products to avoid tax are able to perfectly copy them,” he told the Post.

The Excise Department has a collection target of 284 billion baht (oh, about $7 billion) for fiscal 2006 ending on Sept 30, based on the assumption that the government will not reduce excise taxes on any products.

But since the anti-smoking campaign was stepped up, cigarette sales have dropped by 20-24%, resulting in a decline in excise-tax collection. In the past, the department collected around 40 billion baht (a billion and change) per year on tobacco sales.

Proxim Wireless Corporation, a provider of broadband wireless equipment and wholly-owned subsidiary of Terabeam, Inc., has announced that it has launched a family of WiMAX standard-based products that offer service providers what Proxim thinks is “a compelling cost profile for a high performance wireless product in the 3.5 GHz band.”

And hey, who are we to argue?

Because the Tsunami MP.16 offers a “modular, scalable approach to system deployment, a wider range of service providers will now be able to use the WiMAX technology,” company officials claim, “from rural providers requiring less dense configurations to metropolitan providers who need to support more nodes at closer range.”

Nodes at twenty paces.

Lionel Chmilewsky, Vice President International Sales, Proxim Wireless and somebody who never has his name misspelled, said until now, the company has not had a product for the rapidly-growing 3.5 GHz market: “By using the radio, mechanical, networking and management experience behind our existing Tsunami product line, we are bringing a proven platform to the 3.5 GHz market. While some competing products have been developed from scratch, the Tsunami MP.16 is actually our third-generation point-to-multipoint product set.”

The Tsunami MP.16 3500 is currently in customer trials at nine companies in Europe and Asia. It’s also undergoing certification testing at the WiMAX Forum laboratory and has, as of last report, passed “substantially all” of the required tests.

The Tsunami MP.16 3500 is compliant with the 802.16d-2004 WiMAX standard. It operates within the 3.4-3.6 GHz frequency band and offers time-division duplexing, which is optimal for asynchronous traffic patterns as typically experienced by service providers. The system is comprised of base stations and subscriber units in integrated, outdoor form factors for easy installation.

Proxim expects that the Tsunami MP.16 3500 will be available for volume commercial shipments beginning March 20, 2006.

Hey, since you’re going to be looking for work next year, Ricky Williams, the Austrian biathlon and cross-country skiing Olympic team has an opening for a new ski coach. BYOS. Bet you could throw that bag of needles and “medicines” a lot farther than that Austrian guy did.

And is it just me, or does that loopy Olympic medal they’re handing out in Turin look like someone got a deal on a box of used CDs?

First CoffeeSM’s favorite event in the Olympics so far: Women’s biathlon. Any sport where competitors collapse on the ground in utter exhaustion as soon as they cross the finish line is a sport where you know the athletes are being pushed to the limit.

Surprisingly fun sport to watch: Curling. Not that it’ll ever rival the NFL or college basketball, but if you’ve got an hour to kill you could do worse, if just to chuckle at the sweepers.

And repeat after me: Figure skating is not a sport.

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