AT&T Sends 12,000 Home for Christmas

December 4th, 2008
 

So AT&T decided it could do without 12,000 employees, and is laying them off just in time for the Christmas shopping season.  What can one say?  I truly hope everyone affected lands on their feet as soon as possible.  I'll bet they didn't sell the company jet yet though, and those management bonuses will still come through somehow won't they?  [Read more →]

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The FCC's Spectrum Insanity

December 4th, 2008
 

It appears that the FCC may soon vote on a plan to auction off the AWS-3 spectrum with the condition that the winner must provide service to 95% of the country with 25% of the capacity available for free.  I just have one question.  Are these people insane?  Is there anywhere other than Washington DC that an idea like this would be considered viable?  Sometimes I think the politics of the word 'free' just suck the intelligence out of debate.  Nothing is free, all you can do is disguise who pays.

Why does the media keep harping on this idea as if we are days away from [Read more →]

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Akamai's Pricing Conundrum

December 3rd, 2008
 

Dan Rayburn has a long article on Akamai's pricing travails in the video streaming market, I recommend a read.  Put simply, Akamai (AKAM) has long sold at a premium to the market.  But the market is segmenting, and the basic delivery of streamed bits is largely commoditized.  Dan says that Akamai is still quoting the higher prices for this product, but cutting it in half or more in negotiations.  This is not the whole CDN market, just raw streaming video delivery, but it is a challenge to Akamai's leadership nonetheless.

Followers, or should I say survivors, of the IP transit wars over the last decade will recognize the pattern.  [Read more →]

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NHL.com Streaming HD via Level 3

December 3rd, 2008
 

The National Hockey League has chosen Level 3 to stream its content in high def (HD) on www.nhl.com. As deals go, this one isn't a shocker.  Back in October, they had unveiled their subscription based "NHL GameCenter Live", and Level 3's existing relationship with the NHL via Vyvx made them the likely candidate. Indeed, the NHL seems to prefer a one-stop shop in this case.

In a way, the NHL is the perfect online streaming candidate.  When it comes to professional sports on TV in North America, hockey is nearly always the odd man out.  The NFL, NBA, MLB, and even tennis and golf take priority, and the NHL struggles for viewership scraps with [Read more →]

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On Ciena's Valuation

December 2nd, 2008
 

There is an article on Seeking Alpha today Three Stocks Selling Below Cash With Little Debt of which one is telecom equipment provider Ciena (NASDAQ:CIEN, news, filings).  The argument goes that Ciena's pile of cash and marketable securities (over $1B) is substantially higher than its current marketcap, and since the company is profitable and has a P/E of 7, they're cheap cheap cheap.

And they are, but of course, they aren't the only ones.  If I had a nickel for every undervalued company in this sector, I could buy probably one of them. That said, it should be noted that Ciena's P/E may be 7 now, but everyone who follows them at all knows that number will be rising [Read more →]

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Pacnet Bids for AAPT Down Under?

December 2nd, 2008
 

If you're in the USA you probably think that title has a typo, but AAPT is the #3 telecom in Australia, and a subsidiary of Telecom New Zealand.  The company runs a network having some 89 PoPs in Australia and has capacity on various cables from there to the world.  According to various reports Pacnet has bid some $420M for it, although it remains unclear just how solid the basis is for those reports. [Read more →]

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For Internet3, Look to the Stars

December 1st, 2008
 

Internetnews.com has a fascinating article about NASA's implementation of the internet in space.  It never really occurred to me before, but with many vessels and satellites out there sending or relaying data and the many earth locations receiving and processing it, obviously NASA has its own uses for networking.  But out in space where the distances are, well, astronomical, and the lag times are measured in minutes and hours, it turns out that TCP/IP just doesn't get the job done.  The handshakes are too frequent, the conversations between routers and endpoints are too 'chatty'. [Read more →]

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Does Home 'Enterstayment' Imply Bandwidth Growth?

December 1st, 2008
 

A survey commissioned by Verizon says that 57% of people are planning to watch TV rather than go out for entertainment. Of course this is a natural response to the ongoing economic disaster, but Verizon thinks it will be a boon to its FIOS revenues with all the on-demand video and such. They're probably right about that, but I think the corollary is that bandwidth growth should be robust. [Read more →]

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Clearwire Finally Gets Hitched

November 29th, 2008
 

Well, they finally did it.  The long engagement between Clearwire (CLWR) and Sprint's Xohm has finally ended in a wedding.  In a release on Friday the two announced that the vows have been taken, the bride has been kissed, and wedding presents from Intel, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and Google in the amount of $3.2B are already being unwrapped.  It was a bit earlier than expected, but after the FCC and Clearwire shareholders approved earlier this month it was just a matter of taking care of loose ends. [Read more →]

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Embarq and the Lower Offer

November 28th, 2008
 

TelephonyOnline has a nice article about CenturyTel's acquisition of Embarq.  The gist of it is that Embarq (EQ) turned down a higher offer to take the CenturyTel (CTL) deal, the reason being that it was the better deal in the long term.  That's not that uncommon, I recall that MCI turned down a higher offer from Qwest (Q) to go with Verizon (VZ).  In this case, the competing offer was at one time partly cash, and Embarq replied it was only interested in all-stock deals.

I hadn't really thought about it that way.  It seems as if cash is king most of the time, after all it's harder for big shareholders to dispose of a big stock position - they have to want to hold it.  And I guess that's the point right now.  Embarq's shareholders don't want to sell out for cash at these prices, their shareholders still want to have chips [Read more →]

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Swept Under the Rug

November 27th, 2008
 

Yesterday was, of course, the day before Thanksgiving, which is notorious for being a day when companies release things they'd actually rather not talk about much. It was no different this year in telecom and data, let's look at the news and try not to cringe.

Qwest may have finally settled its shareholder lawsuit from the bubble days. Late Wednesday they announced that a $445M deal was approved by a federal judge in Denver. They thought they settled this a few times already, but appeals from former CEO Joseph Nacchio kept it up in the air. Everyone seems to be happy now, but I don't blame [Read more →]

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Forget Cloud Computing, Bring on ToIP

November 26th, 2008
 

Yes, ToIP. Turkey over IP. Maybe even a TDN or something. Ok, I'm being silly, it's just that I'm 10,000 miles away this Thanksgiving and I'm going to have to make do with substitutes for more things than I'd prefer. I'll have to speak to the guy in charge of my location... Oh yeah, that's me, oops. [Read more →]

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Interoute's Fabulous 60Gbps Rescue

November 25th, 2008
 

In a press release today, European network operator Interoute Interoute (news) touted its use of Infinera (NASDAQ:INFN, news, filings) gear to turn up 60Gbps of bandwidth over a 1200km route in just 48 hours.  The rush job apparently, was to rescue a customer from a tough situation.  Now that's very interesting, and I congratulate Interoute for its quick feet and Infinera for the performance of its gear - I have to admit, that's fast!  But of course even more interesting to a guy like me is who [Read more →]

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Deltathree's Watering Hole Almost Dry

November 25th, 2008
 

Have you ever seen those African wildlife specials where the dry season turns a watering hole into a puddle, leaving the last remaining denizens flopping around in increasingly thick mud waiting to be eaten? That's something like what VoIP services provider Deltathree (DDDC) faces right now. The company refinanced its lease to free up some restricted cash to stay wet, but if the rain [Read more →]

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Level 3 Debt Oddities

November 25th, 2008
 

Corporate debt ratings are wierd.  Today Moody's called Level 3 Communications's (LVLT) new debt deal a default and cut their ratings, following on similar S&P move last week.  As many have noted, this is by the book, it happens almost anytime a company tenders for its own debt below par - and certainly every time Level 3 has.  But that doesn't mean it makes any sense at all.  Cogent bought back half its debt below par last month but it wasn't in 'default' according Moody's and S&P because, I assume, the company didn't [Read more →]

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Sprint's Transatlantic 40G Changes the Game

November 24th, 2008
 

On Friday, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S, news, filings) announced that they have successfully implemented a 40G transatlantic IP connection between New York and Sweden.  That's 40Gbps over a single wavelength on an existing submarine cable system, in this case over TAT-14 from SeaGirt, NJ to Blajberg, Denmark, not 4x10G or anything similar.  The link was established using [Read more →]

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A Regulatory Sea Change?

November 22nd, 2008
 

Various articles have been popping up out there suggesting that along with the incoming Obama presidency will come a substantial change in the regulatory winds around Telecom.  The Wall Street Journal yesterday went through a long list of Democrats in congress who have a historical interest in telecom regulation who will be ascending [Read more →]

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The Hard Life of Wholesale Carriers

November 21st, 2008
 

Todd Underwood made his last post for Renesys the other day, with a perceptive yet dismal view of the wholesale bandwidth business - I recommend a read.  Wherever Todd winds up, I hope he finds a way to keep blogging, his voice on the subject of internet traffic has consistently been one of the best around. [Read more →]

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Data Centers Growing, But Marketcaps Keep Shrinking

November 21st, 2008
 

DataCenterKnowledge has a nice article today summarizing the current market valuations of datacenter-related stocks. It is a shocking table that reminds us just how ugly things are out there. In the financial markets anyway... [Read more →]

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Verizon's End Run Around Net Neutrality

November 20th, 2008
 

Yesterday, Verizon announced its new content distribution strategy, using Velocix caching solutions and focusing on delivery to their own customers more so than the rest of the internet. And yet, the more I think about it, the more I think this is less about the CDN business than it is about the other elephant in the room: net neutrality. [Read more →]

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Global Crossing's South American Blitz

November 19th, 2008
 

They haven't caused much of a stir, but glbc has really been on the march in South America.  It's not for lack of trying though, the company has issued a dozen PRs since the beginning of the second quarter alone that relate to events in the region.  Today's deal with Minera Chinalco in Peru is just the latest in a string of awards, deals, and facility expansions.  [Read more →]

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Verizon Makes Its CDN Move

November 19th, 2008
 

According to Ryan Lawler over at Contentinople, Verizon is poised to enter the CDN game. But Verizon doesn't seem to plan on following the paths taken by AT&T or Level 3, they seem to have an entirely different approach in a partnership with Velocix.  The idea is that Verizon wants to efficiently distribute content both internally and externally by leveraging [Read more →]

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A Storm Blows In From Amazon

November 18th, 2008
 

Amazon (AMZN) formally launched its CDN last night, called "Cloud Front".  It's HTTP only, is limited to those storing data on Amazon S3, has no SLA and fewer bells and whistles than any CDN has ever had.  And it's revolutionary. [Read more →]

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