Optical/IP Networks

BB Forum: Gateway Goals for Carriers

MADRID – Broadband World Forum Europe – The consumer gateway is getting more attention, as witnessed by the enthusiasm from service providers and telecom technology developers gathering here this week.

Other areas of focus included IPTV developments, the impact of triple-play services on access, and metro network capacity. And the world could probably use better broadband access at industry events -- ironically, show organizer International Engineering Consortium (IEC) had trouble providing reliable broadband access here at the Broadband World Forum.

Here are some more details from the conference this week:

  • Service providers are getting excited about the role of the home gateways that connect their networks to their residential customers' homes. "Home networking, including the home gateway, is the next area of revenue growth for the carriers," reckons Paul Berriman, head of strategic market development at Hong Kong operator (NYSE: PCW; Hong Kong: 0008), one of the world's leading triple-play service providers with more than 440,000 IPTV customers. (See PCCW Deploys Entone for VOD.)

    Canadian carrier (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T) is taking a look at the role of the home gateway, but its CTO, Ibrahim Gideon, reckons fixed-line carriers need to change their outlook to take full advantage of the service and revenue possibilities. "In mobile, they look at the handset, the device, and get excited about the service possibilities. In fixed, they look at the network and get excited about the service possibilities. There needs to be a greater focus on the home gateway," and how that fits into the carrier/customer relationship, says Gideon.

    Vendors, naturally, are readying their wares. Siemens Communications Group says it's working with Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) to add Surpass Entertainment software to the entertainment firm's PS2 home gaming device, already up and running in millions of homes, and transform it into a set-top box capable of delivering video on demand and, ultimately, networked personal video recorder services.

    It's early days for that development, however. Stefan Jenzowsky, VP of strategy at Siemens Communications, says there's no timescale for any commercial product announcement.

    But it was obvious from presentations given here at the show that there's an economic gulf between what carriers want from a home gateway and what vendors believe possible to deliver at a particular price point. (See Telcos, Vendors Battle Over Gateway.)

  • Italian softswitch firm Italtel SpA unveiled an applications development and channel partnership with global services giant Accenture, which hired a chef to create and serve up tapas at its stand. (See Italtel, Accenture Team Up and Italtel Shows Off at BBWF.)

    The two companies believe they can deliver a tasty morsel or two to carriers as well by combining Italtel's IMS-compliant softswitch functionality with Accenture's communications suite, or service delivery platform.

    But while the relationship is global in nature, Italtel says the partners will be focusing on the European and Latin American markets, and not North America, where Italtel has been searching for a local partner. (See Italtel: We Need US Partner.)

    "We tried to find a partner in the telecom equipment space, but that didn't work out," says Italtel CEO Mauro Righetti. "We decided in the end that we needed a systems integration partner more. We'll eventually expand into the U.S. market, but we're going to focus on the European and Latin American markets for now."

    He adds that the new partners plan to make "a lot" of money together, from the significant revenue opportunities in the IMS-based systems market, though "it's hard to pinpoint revenue targets at the moment."

  • PacketFront AB kicked off its week here with some customer news and an upgrade to its BECS network management system. (See Magnet Picks PacketFront and PacketFront Launches BECS 3.)

    CEO Martin Thunman says Irish competitive operator Magnet Networks Ltd. is using his company's IP DSLAM, aggregation router, and the BECS management system to help deliver its triple-play services.

    He also claims PacketFront's technology is "in trials with five of the largest carriers in the world," and that he's butting up against the traditional B-RAS vendors, such as Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) and Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK), as well as Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), to try and win business there.

    But does his company have enough business to make it to profitability without needing further funding? Thunman says they are on course to hit breakeven in the second half of 2006, and won't need fresh funds, though the company will soon be announcing "a working capital initiative that won't impact the company's liquidity" to help it attain that financial goal. The mind boggles!

    Thunman added that the company will consider possible IPO plans in the next few months.

  • Traffic monitoring systems vendor has revealed some significant partnerships here in Madrid. It officially announced a reseller deal with Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), which will resell Sandvine's PacketCable Multimedia (PCMM) application manager to cable operators worldwide. (See Moto Resells Sandvine.)

    Unofficially, the firm was demonstrating its traffic management capabilities, and integration with policy management vendor Bridgewater Systems Corp., at its own stand, and was also involved in demonstrations at the Alcatel stand.

    Sandvine says it's working with the two firms to help deliver a range of IP traffic management and QOS capabilities based around Alcatel's Service Manager, which was unveiled at this year's Supercomm. Light Reading believes the company has also found its way into the 21CN plans of U.K. incumbent (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) as a result of that relationship. (See Alcatel Launches Service Manager.)

    Other news from the show includes:

    — Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

  • materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 2:58:34 AM
    re: BB Forum: Gateway Goals for Carriers So, the end-user phone and now the CPE box are looming large in service provider eyes. Is this perhaps the revenge of the net-heads over the bell-heads? Of course the edge must be intelligent. The edge rules. Customers will pay up for that CPE box, because it really is their PC.
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