Monday, February 15, 2021

HyperOne plans a new 20,000 km fiber backbone for Australia

HyperOne, a start-up based in Brisbane, unveiled plans for a new 20,000km fiber backbone across Australia. The company is backed by Bevan Slattery, a serial tech entrepreneur known for NextDC, Megaport and Superloop.

HyperOne said its national fibre network represents a $1.5 billion investment in the nation's infrastructure and will be a major upgrade to existing fiber routes, some of which are nearly twenty years old.

“HyperOne is big, bold and way overdue,” said Bevan Slattery. “HyperOne will be the first true private national fibre backbone project connecting major data hubs in every capital city in every state and territory across Australia. HyperOne will also create new major interconnection points for more international undersea cables into Australia from Asia and as far as the Americas and Antarctica."

“With the current geopolitical instability in the region there is unprecedented  opportunity for Australia to become the region’s leading, secure and stable hub for future industries and jobs,” said Mr Slattery.

The HyperOne project office has already begun discussions with the National Broadband Network, the Northern Australian Infrastructure Fund, telecommunication companies, various market participants as well as the Federal Government and state governments.

Telstra sees path to growth now that nbn is complete

Telstra's total income for the half fiscal year ended 31-December-2020 decreased 10.4 percent versus the prior corresponding period to $12.0 billion, while NPAT decreased 2.2 percent to $1.1 billion. Reported EBITDA decreased 14.7 percent to $4.1 billion. After adjusting for lease accounting on a like-for-like basis, EBITDA decreased 11.7 percent to $4.0 billion.

Some highlights during the half

  • Telstra added more than 80,000 postpaid handheld mobile services with healthy performance across all segments and brands. 
  • Telstra also added more than 46,000 unique prepaid handheld users, and more than 163,000 Wholesale mobile services across prepaid, postpaid and IoT services.
  • Mobile revenue declined due to lower hardware sales and the impact on international roaming from COVID-19. 
  • Telstra has expanded its 5G rollout to selected areas in more than 100 cities and towns across Australia, and the network now provides 5G coverage to more than 50% of the population. Telstra intends to increase that to 75% by June. 
  • Currently, there are around one million 5G devices connected to the Telstra network
  • Reported postpaid handheld ARPU declined 8.6 percent for the half, or approximately 3 percent if the impacts to international roaming are removed. This decline was all due to noneconomic accounting impacts, out-of-bundle declines and Belong dilution, with impacts from recent pricing changes now positive. 
  • In Fixed – Consumer & Small Business, bundles and data revenue declined 0.6 per cent with ARPU stabilizing as customers were moved to in-market plans. Telstra said it would focus on
  • increasing ARPU through differentiation, add-ons and improved plan mix including a higher proportion of customers on 100Mbps+ plans.
  • In Fixed – Enterprise, revenue declined 6.4 percent as Telstra transitioned from providing virtual private corporate networks to integrating over-the-Internet technologies such as SDWAN
  • with Telstra Fibre and NBN access. NAS income declined 6 percent.
  • Fixed - Wholesale results also showed continued declines in legacy products including from nbn headwinds, and commercial works declines. The ongoing portfolio including passive infrastructure grew.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn states: “After a decade of disruption following the creation of the nbn, and with its rollout now declared complete, we can clearly see the path to underlying growth ahead of us,” Mr Penn said. “We responded strongly to the financial headwinds created by the nbn through our T22 strategy.

This strategy is transforming Telstra while balancing the needs of our customers, our employees and our shareholders. We are now less than 18 months from completing T22. We have achieved an extraordinary amount and Telstra today is a leaner, more responsive, and more agile company than it has ever been.

“Our investment in innovation and technology, digitisation and networks, improving our customer experience and being disciplined in our capital management, mean that at the start of thisdecade, as Australia digitises its economy, Telstra is in a strong position to grow.

“To ensure our future success, we must recognise this moment for what it is – the time to be bold and seize the opportunities we have been patiently building towards. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but I remain confident we can achieve our financial ambitions including for underlying EBITDA of between $7.5 and $8.5 billion and ROIC of around 8 percent by FY23,” he said.

Telstra also noted progress on the establishment and proposed monetisation of InfraCo Towers, as well as the broader legal restructuring of the organisation announced in November 2020.

Mr Penn said Telstra had significantly progressed the establishment of InfraCo Towers as a separate operating business, with significant work due to be completed by the end of FY21 as previously indicated.

Australia declares NBN "built and fully operational"

Paul Fletcher, Australia's Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, has declared the National Broadband Network as " "built and fully operational." Thedeclaration is one of the steps that must occur under the NBN Companies Act before NBN Co can be privatised, but does not automatically trigger any further steps and the government has stated that it does not intend to consider privitisation during this term of Parliament.

Minister Fletcher stated that his formal declaration is based on a number of factors, including:

  • The number of premises able to connect to the NBN is over 11.86 million premises
  • At NBN Co’s FY20 results announcement in August 2020 there were around 100,000 complex premises yet to be made ‘ready to connect’ (RTC), that number has now reduced substantially and is expected to be around 35,000 as at 31 December 2020
  • New premises are being built all the time. This means that there will always be a number of premises around Australia that are not yet ‘ready to connect’. The fact that there is a certain number of premises which are not ready to connect is not of itself evidence that the network cannot be treated as ‘built and fully operational.’

“In my view the evidence before me shows it is appropriate to make the declaration that the NBN should be treated as built and fully operational’, Minister Fletcher said.

"Of course the government recognises that there are some premises which have not yet been made ready to connect – and I expect NBN Co to work as speedily as possible to make the network available to those premises.

"The government also recognises that there is continuing work to enhance the capabilities of the network. Earlier this year we announced a $4.5 billion upgrade to the NBN; the work to deliver that upgrade will be carried out over several years.

"Also, in some areas the NBN can only operate at full speed once all legacy copper services are migrated to an NBN or alternative service, which typically takes 18 months from when the NBN commenced services in an area. To minimise interference to the legacy services of other carriers during this period, the NBN operates with reduced signal power which reduces network speeds.

"But this doesn’t mean that NBN Co will stop developing. I fully expect that the Company will operate as a mature entity through continual improvement in the provision of quality services to its broadband retail customers, and ultimately to Australian households and businesses, as well as driving efficiency in its operations.

"As with all large telecommunications networks, NBN Co will need to keep investing in additional network capacity, extend its network to connect new developments and remediate technical issues as they arise."

Australia's NBN Co pushes fiber deeper and advances HFC network upgrade

NBN Co is pushing fibre deeper into communities in selected metropolitan and regional areas of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. The fibre deeper work will pass more than 100,000 premises in areas currently serviced by Fibre to the Node (FTTN) technology, effectively converting FTTN locations to FTTP. NBN Co said it will consult with Internet retailers before finalising the design for its extended fibre network.

This marks the start of NBN Co’s $4.5 billion network investment program, which aims to make nbn’s highest wholesale speed tiers available, as demand arises, to around 8 million premises – or up to 75 percent of homes and businesses on the fixed line network by 2023.

NBN Co also reports that it is making good progress on its Hybrid Fibre Cable (HFC) network upgrade program. The company now expects to offer download speeds of 500 Mbps to close to 1 Gbps to approximately 625,000 premises, or around 25 percent of the HFC network footprint by November 2020.

NBN Co also reports that it is making good progress on its Hybrid Fibre Cable (HFC) network upgrade program. Since the company launched its nbn Home Fast, nbn Home Superfast and nbn Home Ultrafast wholesale speed tiers in May 2020, 100 percent of customers connected via HFC have been able to order nbn Home Fast; approximately 70 percent have been able to order nbn Home Superfast, and approximately 7 percent of customers in the HFC footprint have been able to access the fastest residential speed tier1.

Ericsson teams with T-Systems on campus networking internationally

Ericsson and T-Systems, a subsidiary of the Deutsche Telekom Group, are offering fully integrated campus network solutions to partners worldwide. This extends a previous agreement that was in place for Germany.

The solutions, which are based on Ericsson's Campus Network infrastructure and T-Systems' Edge Computing capabilities, are designed for use cases such as factory shop floors, logistics centers, airports, ports, oil and gas campuses and power plants.

The private network, which is isolated from the public network, is for the enterprise's exclusive use. Thanks to dedicated spectrum usage and quality-of-service mechanisms, the private network can provide more secure, reliable and predictable 4G or 5G connectivity.

Adel Al-Saleh, CEO T-Systems and Board Member of Deutsche Telekom AG, says: “As enterprises look to scale up their digitalization and automation, working together with Ericsson enables us to meet global business needs quickly and securely. We can bring this technology to more customers in a way that is seamless, managed end-to-end, and scalable as customer needs evolve. ”

Thomas Norén, Head of Dedicated Networks, Ericsson, says: “By joining T-Systems and Ericsson campus networks abilities, we are offering enterprises the ability to accelerate their path to Industry 4.0 with more advanced use cases. With the evolution to 5G, the networks will support applications that require even more bandwidth and lower latency. Ericsson's portfolio of dedicated networks delivers reliable and secure wireless connectivity.”

II-VI outbids Lumentum in competition to acquire Coherent

 II-VI made an offer to acquire Coherent, a global laser technology leader, in a cash and stock transaction priced at $260.00 per Coherent share (Coherent’s shareholders would receive $130.00 in cash and 1.3055 II-VI common shares for each Coherent share), based on the company closing stock price on February 11th.

II-VI’s proposal represents a premium of 24.0% to the implied value of Coherent’s merger agreement with Lumentum, based on Lumentum’s closing share price on February 11th, and a 9.8% premium to the implied value of MKS Instruments’ acquisition proposal based on MKS’ closing share price on February 11th. 

II-VI argues that its bid had a has greater certainty of closing because of substantially less product overlap with Coherent. II-VI also expects to achieve estimated, combined run-rate synergies of $200 million annually within 36 months. II-VI anticipates the transaction to be accretive to non-GAAP EPS in the second year following closing.

“The combination of II-VI and Coherent would create a uniquely strategic global leader capable of delivering to our customers the most attractive combination of photonic solutions, compound semiconductors, as well as laser technology and systems. We believe now is the right time to embark on this combination given significant megatrends, with burgeoning applications in both industrial and semiconductor capital equipment segments, including those that enable consumer electronics and displays. Moreover, II-VI expects to accelerate our growth in aerospace & defense, life sciences, and laser additive manufacturing by utilizing our compelling integrated solutions in lasers, optics, and electronics. With expanded capabilities, we expect to collaborate even more broadly across our customer base as their design-in leader of choice. In addition, with our culture of innovation and strong track record of merger integration, we expect to deliver significant value to all stakeholders, including both companies’ shareholders, customers, employees, and business partners,” said Dr. Vincent D. Mattera, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of II-VI.

Lumentum to acquire Coherent for its photonics and laser expertise

 Lumentum agreed to acquire Coherent in a cash and stock transaction valued at $5.7 billion, with Coherent stockholders receiving $100.00 per share in cash and 1.1851 shares of Lumentum common stock for each Coherent share they own. The combination will create a leading photonics company with significant positions in the growing market for photonics, an expansive global customer base and a well-diversified revenue mix. The transaction value represents a premium of 49% to Coherent's closing price on January 15, 2021.

Coherent, which was founded in 1966 and is based in Santa Clara, California, is a leading supplier of photonics and lasers used in the microelectronics, precision manufacturing, instrumentation, and aerospace & defense markets. For its most recent fiscal quarter ended January 2, 2021, Coherent has announced preliminary revenue in the range of $325 - $327 million.

Lumentum, which is based in San Jose, California, is a leading supplier of photonic solutions for the Telecom, Datacom, and 3D Sensing markets.

Lumentum said the acquisition of Coherent accelerates its penetration of the more than $10 billion market for lasers and photonics outside of the communications and 3D sensing applications. Lumentum also expects photonics "to play an increasing role in the accelerating shift to increasingly digital and virtual approaches to work and daily life, addressing climate change, new approaches to health care and monitoring, and addressing new safety and security." The combined company is expected to generate more than $150 million in annual run-rate synergies within 24 months of the closing of the transaction.

SpaceX completes 19th Starlink mission, bringing constellation to 1, 145

SpaceX successfully completed its 19th Starlink launch mission, delivering a further 60 satellites to orbit, bringing the total number of Starlink satellites launched to date to over 1,145. 

Following Monday night's launch, the booster rocket missed the landing on a drone ship off the Florida coast. This launch was the sixth launch of this particular Falcon 9 booster.

Starlink is now delivering initial beta service both domestically and internationally. The company says users can expect to see data speeds vary from 50 Mbps to 150 Mbps and latency from 20ms to 40ms in most locations.

Orange Marine picks VARD shipyard to build next cable ship

Orange Marine has again selected ship design from VARD to expand its fleet of fiber optic cable repair ships.  

The vessel will be built by Colombo Dockyard which has experience from building the cable laying and repair vessel of VARD 9 01 design “KDDI Cable Infinity” in 2019 to Kokusai Cable Ship Ltd of Japan. 

Orange Marine builds its latest cable ship

Orange Marine recently confirmed plans to build a next gen cable ship specially designed for the maintenance of submarine cables, both fiber optic telecommunication cables and inter-array power cables used in offshore windfarms. 

The new ship, which promises to be more efficient and environmentally friendly, will replace C/S Raymond Croze, launched in 1983 and which carried out more than one hundred cable repairs, mostly in Mediterranean, Black Sea and Red Sea. It will fly the French flag.

Orange Marine said the ship will be equipped with the latest state of the art equipment, in particular:

  • Her streamlined hull is designed to reduce fuel consumption, 25% lower than average existing cable ships, and will be optimized for cable repairs,
  • Her Azipod marine propulsion thrusters will give her unmatched maneuverability and reliability,
  • The ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) used for cutting, inspecting and burying cables will be stored onboard in a dedicated hangar,
  • The hybrid energy management system based on fuel production and electrical storage back-up using batteries will reduce her fuel consumption during cable works and will prevent any unexpected shutdown of a generator,
  • Her capability to be connected through onshore power supply will enable her to reduce her carbon emissions when berthed.
  • Everything has been carefully designed to reduce her environmental footprint, which will lead to a reduction of 20% in CO2 emissions and an 80% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions. 

Didier Dillard, CEO of Orange Marine, commented: “The decision to build this vessel is very good news for Orange Marine, its employees and its customers. We will have a new and high-performance tool, with a low environmental footprint, which will allow us to offer high-quality services for several decades to our customers, not only owners of submarine telecommunications cables but also operators of  offshore wind farms.”

Jean-Luc Vuillemin, Executive Vice President of Orange in charge of international networks, and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Orange Marine, added: “The decision to build the latest generation cable vessel shows how much Orange believes in the future of the submarine cables market. Repair vessels are of strategic importance in maintaining global internet connectivity which relies over 80% on submarine cables. This new vessel allows us to be part of a long-term strategy to ensure that our network is well maintained and that Orange Marine continues to have the means to carry out its missions with state-of-the-art tools."

Telefónica builds cloud native IoT with Mavenir packet core and AWS

Telefónica is preparing to launch a managed IoT connectivity service based Mavenir’s packet core solution and AWS’s cloud infrastructure. 

Mavenir's cloud native functions will be hosted in AWS. 

Mavenir said the use of the cloud enables advanced, new functionalities for end users that were not previously possible: local data processing/storage, direct connectivity to other cloud services, and global low latency. 

The new service is managed through Telefonica’s Kite IoT platform, which provides a simple interface accessible from anywhere via the web or APIs so that industrial, manufacturing, public sector and automotive customers can better manage and control their IoT connectivity. 

The project is being developed by the Telefónica’s Core Innovation team in collaboration with Telefónica Tech’s IoT & Big Data unit. The pre-commercial activities cover the deployment of the Mavenir Packet Core on AWS, integration with Telefónica Tech’s KITE platform, and automation of the end-to-end service.

“Mavenir’s Converged Packet core built upon web-scale technology and cloud native principles provides support for 4G functionalities and facilitates easy deployment on AWS, offering a compact and efficient model in terms of cost and resources”, said Ashok Khuntia, EVP/GM, Packet Computing at Mavenir, “We are excited to work with Telefónica to integrate our packet core solution with Telefonica’s KITE platform over AWS”.

Anritsu supplies 5G platform to Cynergy

Cynergy U.S., one of the industry’s leading reverse logistics companies specializing in wireless device test, repair, and refurbishment, has chosen the Anritsu Radio Communication Test Station MT8000A 5G platform and Radio Communications Analyzer MT8821C 4G/LTE platform to offer turnkey 5G device testing to customers. 

Anritsu said its MT8000A meets all the diverse testing requirements of 5G in a single solution that supports Frequency Range 1 (FR1) 6 GHz and Frequency Range 2 (FR2) millimeter wave (mmWave) bands. One of the first commercialized 5G test platforms, the MT8000A has played a significant role in 5G chipset development, 5G device R&D, 5G conformance test, and 5G Carrier Acceptance.

The Anritsu MT8821C wideband radio communication analyzer provides cellular (3G/4G) testing. Its unique Parallel Phone Measurement (PPM) allows one instrument to support two MT8000As, which lowers cost-of-test and reduces bench space. When integrated, the MT8000A and MT8821C test platforms provide complete coverage of all major commercial cellular technologies.