Where Level 3 Stands for 2009

January 5th, 2009
 

Last week, Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) wrapped up its refinancing activities just as 2008 came to an end.  With a new COO, an improved balance sheet, and the December layoffs probably complete as well, the company can start the new year with a fresh (though perhaps not clean) slate.  While we won't know what Q4 looks like for a while yet, let's try to summarize where the company seems to stand after [Read more →]

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On Infrastructure 2.0

January 5th, 2009
 

A new blog started up before Christmas, Infrastructure 2.0 by the folks from Infoblox. Their premise is fairly simple yet compelling. IP Networks of all scopes are becoming too large for the manual labor that administers them, the old way of doing things doesn't scale to meet the next problems. Of course, network automation is what Infoblox is all about, so to an extent they are calling for the use of their own product - but that is a common thing these days in the blogosphere. After all, the people most interested in a subject and most qualified to ramble on about it are often those who hope to make a business out of it. The articles are insightful and [Read more →]

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Fresh From Coma, Vitesse Walks

January 3rd, 2009
 

If Vitesse Semiconductor (PINK:VTSS, news, filings) were human, it would have been a medical miracle. The company, which manufactures a variety of semiconductor devices that go into equipment built by the likes of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU, news, filings),  Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO, news, filings), and Huawei, has been in a coma and left for dead by Wall Street for two years now. The story dates back to the stock option backdating scandals of a couple years ago. Remember those wonderful days, when scandals involving theft of a mere few million dollars seemed so important? Well, much of Vitesses's top management went down in the flames, previous financials were disavowed, lawsuits and investigations started flying, and the company looked like it was about [Read more →]

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Insider Buying at Dupont Fabros

January 2nd, 2009
 

As followers of the colocation and data center sector know, Dupont Fabros Technology (NYSE:DFT, news, filings) has been struggling with the credit markets since the crisis began.  They have suspended construction at several locations after being unable to raise the funds to complete the projects, and those sites now sit in limbo.  The uncertainty has just killed the stock price of course.  I do keep an eye on the company but not a close one, so it was only when a reader alerted me to the sustained insider activity over the last two months that I took a closer look.  I fully expected to see a token purchase here or there.  You know what I mean, the orchestrated 'lets all buy a little stock to show everyone we believe in the company' kind.  But I was surprised, it seems to go well beyond that.  [Read more →]

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Qwest Unplugs SkyWi

January 2nd, 2009
 

Thousands of internet and phone customers in six states across the southwest and in the Rockies had no service this New Years Eve, due to some good old fashioned telecom hardball.  q which is of course the incumbent provider in the region unceremoniously disconnected wireless internet provider SkyWi, ostensibly for nonpayment of bills. SkyWi competes directly with Qwest for retail customers, and uses Qwest's wholesale services as part of its network.  Of course, both sides claim to be the reasonable one. [Read more →]

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Predictions for 2009

December 31st, 2008
 

There's no shortage of people out there making predictions for 2009, which means of course that there's no stopping me either.  After all, looking back on 2008 is just painful, isn't it?   So much happened that we'd all like to forget, whether in this sector or in the world in general.   For the internet infrastructure sector, I'll categorize my prophesies, err I mean predictions, as related to Fiber, Data Centers, Content Distribution, or VoIP. So now let us gaze into the swirling mists of the Fiberoptic Ball  (I upgraded my Crystal set, this one has a 100Mbps ethernet hookup: [Read more →]

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Fiber Valuations as 2009 Begins

December 30th, 2008
 

As the 2008 comes to a close, here is an update to where next generation fiber-based telecoms stand going into the new year. I have estimated 2009 EBITDA based on known trends or occasional wild guesses, just for kicks, and used current debt price estimates where available and educated guesses otherwise. One can assume rougher times and lower the EBITDA guesses but the numbers don't actually change all that much. It's still ugly out there of course, so without further ado: [Read more →]

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Broadsoft and Sylantro Sitting in a Tree

December 30th, 2008
 

The rumors that first appeared on FierceVoIP turned out to be the real deal. VoIP application provider broadsoft announced today that it is buying competitor sylantro. While both companies are private and so are the terms of the deal, it does appear to have been a one-sided affair. Broadsoft apparently will assume Sylantro's debt and is buying the customer base for a song and maybe a dance but not much more. It was an open secret that Sylantro was running low on cash and with the credit markets in their current state of panic, there wasn't much choice.

It has been clear for quite some time now that BroadSoft has been winning the [Read more →]

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ISPs to Become the Reluctant Sheriff?

December 28th, 2008
 

Is the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) trying to win the award for Grinch of the decade?  In a WSJ article last week, the RIAA's latest plan to punish teenagers in the name of intellectual property was detailed.  Apparently, their last idea of suing 35K people in the last 5 years hasn't helped at all reduce illegal filesharing. (surprise surprise!)  The solution now?  Get ISPs to do all the work.  What do you think of the new plan? [Read more →]

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Obama, Broadband, and the Future of the FCC

December 26th, 2008
 

Abolish the FCC?  That's what Lawrence Lessig of Stanford wants Obama to do, abolish it and build a new regulatory body from scratch.  The article prompted the usual level of outrage (mostly in favor) across the blogosphere.  After all, calls for the abolition of the FCC happen just about every year, all you have to do is a Google search to see that much.  But the subject has extra meaning right now because of the coming Obama administration, which has publicly stated that access to broadband and internet policy will be a major focus area.
[Read more →]

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Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2008
 

Merry Christmas to Everyone!  After seeing her younger sister's Christmas card over the weekend, my 10 year old daughter decided to make you all a card herself.  While her sister works wonders in Photoshop, she has moved on to programming in Adobe Flash - something I have only dabbled in so far myself.  For your viewing pleasure: [Read more →]

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Darkstrand Still Dim

December 24th, 2008
 

GigaOm has a nice article today on the troubles faced by the bandwidth startup Darkstrand in these ugly credit markets.  Darkstrand has always been an enigma to me.  The company's plan has been to use fiber from the National LambdaRail project to build a backbone, and to market the service to corporations that consume lots of bandwidth.  Straightforward, yes?  Why do I find it puzzling?  Well, don't get me wrong, I love networks and one more just makes life more interesting. [Read more →]

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Brady: Welcome!

December 24th, 2008
 

A month or two ago, I noticed an incoming link from a new blog.  The URL seemed to shift around from web.mac.com to web.me.com, but it seemed to be by Brady Rafuse, formerly of Level 3 Communications and a guy I had watched for years.  But the site looked brand new, and it wasn't clear if it was actually him or just a personal effort or if he was really going to do it - so I waited to see what came of it.  Lo and behold, it really was him and his site is coming alive with great content! [Read more →]

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Sprint and Cogent Kiss and Make Up

December 23rd, 2008
 

Internet backbone operators Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S, news, filings) and Cogent Communications (NASDAQ:CCOI, news, filings), which fought a brief peering war last month resulting in a two day partition of the internet, have come to an agreement.  Initially it seemed has if the dispute might be headed for court, with both parties claiming the other acted in bad faith in a test peering arrangement.  But the truce held, and the treaty has been signed, and everyone can just go home.   In an extremely brief PR, the companies said: [Read more →]

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Supply and Demand in the Colo Sector

December 22nd, 2008
 

Paolo over at Nortia Research has a nice article today on trends in the data center and colocation business, I recommend a read. Basically, he makes the case that the credit crisis is drying up the funds needed for expansion, but that expansion is driven by real demand.  The economy may be slowing the growth of that demand, but it quite clearly isn't stopping it.

To me, this is a self-correcting problem ... eventually. A constricted supply with [Read more →]

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Those Mediterranean Cable Cuts

December 22nd, 2008
 

Several undersea cables were cut or damaged in the Mediterranean between Sicily and Africa on Friday, in an incident that will probably turn out to be very similar to last winter's incident north of Egypt.  That incident was eventually blamed on a ship anchor, and I'll bet this one will turn out to be the same - if not an anchor then something else dragged by a boat.  Two years ago of course, the earthquakes off Taiwan practically severed most of Asia from the rest of the internet for over a month.  This time, the outage is less severe, most countries that were affected initially have managed to route around the troubles and are just seeing slower speeds for now.

But it could have [Read more →]

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A Christmas Card

December 20th, 2008
 

My 8 year old daughter has figured out what a blog is, and that I write one and she wants to say hello.  She also knows how to use photoshop, far exceeding myself in that ability already.  In terms of the graphic arts my skills rank somewhere between none and utterly pathetic, I guess she gets the talent from her mother.   So on this slower-than-normal pre-Christmas weekend, she drew a Christmas card for Telecom Ramblings readers.

Hmmm, it's nice to have some color for once.  I'm going to have to find ways to work more pictures into the blog.  Carlk is right, too many spreadsheets hurt the brain after a while.

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Fighting the Christmas Blues

December 19th, 2008
 

As we approach the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, it seems as though the whole internet infrastructure sector is in a deep emotional depression.  Valuations remain rock bottom, and it's sector-wide. Nobody has been spared, not even the datacenter space though they continue to grow despite it.  Telecom equipment makers from Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU, news, filings) to Ciena (NASDAQ:CIEN, news, filings) are preparing for disaster, and nt is even considering bankruptcy. [Read more →]

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Nortel Demos 100GbE over Single Wavelength 100G

December 19th, 2008
 

nt has joined the 100G demo group with a cool demonstration over 800 kilometers of fiber using a single wavelength. The main difference from the recent Ciena (NASDAQ:CIEN, news, filings) demo seems to be that they used a real 100Gbps Ethernet signal generated by a box from Ixia (NASDAQ:XXIA, news, filings) rather than taking ten 10Gbps signals and combining them. You can see the Ixia logo in the Youtube video near the end. [Read more →]

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Sprint's Dualmode Wimax Gadget

December 18th, 2008
 

Sprint is supposedly about to start selling a dualmode WiMax/CDMA modem, which means it will use 4G WiMax if it can find it, and CDMA everywhere else.  Right now, that's just Baltimore of course, but the WiMax cities should expand quickly through 2009 as Clearwire builds out.  I have to say it:  I want one of these gadgets.  It's just that I don't live in Baltimore, so I'll have to wait a bit. [Read more →]

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Internet Ranking Trends at Renesys

December 18th, 2008
 

Today Earl Zmijewski at Renesys posted a fantastic article about the trends in IP backbone rankings this year.  Looking at the top 13 networks, he discusses the trends and events behind the changes in rankings over the course of 2008.  He quite properly notes that the raw ranking itself is not that meaningful, it's not something we can translate into profitability or revenue growth.  But the relative movement does tell us things of interest.  [Read more →]

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Overture Acquires Ceterus

December 17th, 2008
 

The entire telecom equipment sector may be digging in for a long winter, but that doesn't mean it is dead.  Yesterday there was M&A activity as Overture Networks announced the acquisition of Ceterus Networks.  Since both companies are private they haven't told us any of the financial details, however given that Wall Street isn't handing out much money these days it was probably a stock deal.  And as deals go, this one makes some sense. [Read more →]

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Major New IE Flaw Discovered

December 17th, 2008
 

Security sites around the internet are telling people to avoid using IE due to a major new security flaw.  As for me, I use Firefox with Opera and Safari as my main backups and have avoided IE for years.  In fact, sometimes I think I ought to put one of those disclaimers on this blog:  "This website is best viewed in Firefox" because when I make changes I often forget to check whether they look ok in Internet Explorer. [Read more →]

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