Archive by Ed Gubbins

Broadband stimulus projects won’t be blocked easily by incumbents

Incumbent service providers will have a hard time trying to block broadband stimulus projects in their territories. That’s according to Craig Settles, a consultant and founder of Successful.com, who also helps stimulus applicants apply for funding. more

Infinera targets 2010-2011 for 40G, hits metro now

Infinera (NASDAQ:INFN) defended the pace of its entry into the market for 40-Gb/s networking gear this week. CEO Jagdeep Singh said the company doesn’t want to be the first vendor in the 40G market; it wants to be the best. more

Broadband stimulus applicants abound; who needs big carriers?

Government Technology raises an interesting question about the broadband stimulus initiative: Should anyone care if big broadband providers don’t like the rules? more

Windstream acquires tiny telco

Windstream Communications (NYSE:WIN) continues to nibble away at the RLEC market. Today the company bought Lexcom, a tiny triple-play provider in Lexington, North Carolina, whose 23,000-access-line network is contiguous with Windstream’s own.

Windstream is paying $141 million in cash. According to Stifel Nicolaus, the price is 3.2 times Lexcom’s 2008 revenue, nearly six times its EBITDA before synergies and nearly five times its EBITDA after synergies.

Windstream is in need of some larger M&A than this. more

Stimulus offers messy test of public/private telecom models

As broadband stimulus funds flow into public/private partnerships, they are sure to reveal cracks that still exist in our understanding of how to balance public and private interests in telecom successfully.

Tonight the city council in Provo, Utah will discuss whether to grant a request to reduce monthly payment obligations from Broadweave Networks, which acquired the city’s struggling fiber-to-the-home network last year.

Broadweave argued it could turn the fiber operations around by replacing its open, wholesale-only model with one in which it played both the role of service provider and network operator. It’s not clear yet that the strategy will be successful. Now Broadweave wants to merge with one of the service providers on the network, Veracity Communications, using the temporary break in payments to the city — $1.5 million over two years – to get the combined operation up to speed. And that plea for financial help is raising concerns. more

Charting the digital divide

I started playing with some of the broadband data released today by the Communication Workers of America to get a rough picture of the US digital divide: more

Verizon Business offers IP-based hosted IVR

Verizon Business (NYSE: VZ) is offering a new IP version of its hosted interactive voice response (IVR) service as an alternative to the circuit-based TDM IVR it’s been hosting for eight years, mostly to customers in the financial, health care and government verticals.

The new service, based on Nuance Communications’ (NASDAQ: NUAN) speech-recognition platform, accommodates IP-based call centers and makes it easier to deal with multiple data sources, Verizon said. An API lets callers interface directly with back-end databases and customer relationship management platforms. For example, it allows web-based applications to respond to customers’ calls by retrieving their personal call history and transactions. Also, callers who need to speak to agents can be directed to them via Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) or, if IP-based centers are busy, to legacy TDM call centers.

“This enables the enterprises to migrate to IP at their own pace,” said Tom Smith, group manager for Verizon’s IVR and speech product marketing. “They can continue to leverage their legacy TDM infrastructure while rolling out IP infrastructure to handle any growth or replace end-of-life TDM equipment.”

Dynamic green routing offers 40% cost savings

Internet-centric businesses could cut their energy costs as much as 40% by shifting their data dynamically to wherever energy prices are lowest at any particular time, according to a study from researchers at MTI, Carnegie Mellon University and Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM). more

Carrier M&A activity drops off

I was struck by the apparent drop-off in RLEC M&A activity this year as described in Frontier Communications’ (NYSE: FTR) recent regulatory filings. Leading up to the mid-tier telco’s deal to acquire nearly 5 million access lines from Verizon (NYSE: VZ), Frontier was only considering one other major deal, and even that didn’t get very far.

It’s a stark contrast with last year, when offers were flying in every direction across the RLEC sector, including proposals for three-way mergers. Embarq and CenturyTel talked with at least five other companies about serious M&A offers before the two merged last fall.

And it wasn’t just the RLECs. M&A offers were flying in the CLEC sector, too, last year. The Wall Street Journal reported for the first time only last week that more

Windstream sells distribution arm

Windstream (NYSE: WIN) just sold its product distribution subsidiary to Walker & Associates. You’ll recall that in March, another mid-sized independent telco, Embarq (now CenturyLink), sold its equipment distributor arm to KGP Telecommunications. In an odd coincidence, both Walker and KGP are helmed by mother-and-son duos.

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