Sunday, February 6, 2022

Telstra plans two major infrastructure projects for Australia

by James E. Carroll

Telstra is raising its CAPEX forecast fy Aus$1.4-1.6 billion over the next 5 years for two newly announced infrastructure projects:

  • Building and managing the ground infrastructure and fibre network in Australia for Viasat, a global communications company. This program will support the new ViaSat-3 terabit-class global satellite system as part of the 16.5 year contract. Each of the three global ViaSat-3 satellites are designed to offer over 1Tbps of total network capacity to deliver data and video streaming speeds of more than 150Mbps. Viasat provides broadband internet services to fixed, mobile and government customers globally.
  • A major new fibre project to build state-of-the-art inter-city dual fibre paths. The investment will add up to 20,000 new route kilometres to increase the capacity of Telstra’s already extensive optical fibre network. It will enable express connectivity between capital cities up to 55Tbps per fibre pair capacity (over six times today’s typical capacity of 8.8Tbps per fibre pair) on routes such as Sydney – Melbourne; Sydney – Brisbane; and Perth – Sydney.  The national fibre network project is a multi-year build which will commence at scale in late FY22 with early trial and test deployments already underway. Discussions with key anchor customers for the national fibre network are progressing, including with global hyperscalers, local telecommunications providers and construction partners.

Telstra expects to invest up to 70 percent of this total commitment across its T25 planning period, or an additional ~$350 million of capex per year over FY23 to FY25. There is no change to FY22 guidance, and Telstra plans to complete its on-market buyback in FY22 as previously advised.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said the two projects recognised the strength of Telstra’s network assets and were part of Telstra’s T25 InfraCo ambition to deliver profitable growth and value by improving access, utilisation and scale of its infrastructure. "Investing int these two trul significant nation-building projects will see us continue to have the larges inter-city fibre network in the country, helping to future proof Australia's digital economy and further improving connectivity in regional Australia."

FCC sees strong demand for Rip-n-Replace as requests top $5.6 billion

 FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel notified Congress that providers have initially requested approximately $5.6 billion from the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program to cover the costs of removing, replacing, and disposing of insecure equipment and services in U.S. networks.

“Last year Congress created a first-of-its kind program for the FCC to reimburse service providers for their efforts to increase the security of our nations communications networks,” said Chairwoman Rosenworcel.  “We’ve received over 181 applications from carriers who have developed plans to remove and replace equipment in their networks that pose a national security threat.  While we have more work to do to review these applications, I look forward to working with Congress to ensure that there is enough funding available for this program to advance Congress’s security goals and ensure that the U.S. will continue to lead the way on 5G security.”

The Supply Chain Reimbursement Program will reimburse providers of advanced communications services for costs reasonably incurred for removing, replacing, and disposing of communications equipment and services produced or provided by Huawei Technologies Company and ZTE Corporation.  The Commission opened the filing window for the program on October 29, 2021, and the window closed on January 28, 2022.

Biden signs Secure Equipment Act

President Biden signed into law the “Secure Equipment Act of 2021,” which requires the Federal Communications Commission to adopt rules clarifying that it will no longer review or approve any authorization application for equipment that poses an unacceptable risk to national security.The bill would prevent further integration and sales of Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua – all Chinese state-backed or directed firms – in the U.S. regardless...

Mavenir supplies O-RAN for Montana's Triangle under Rip-n-Replace

Mavenir has been selected by Triangle Communications, a telecommunications service provider for the state of Montana, to deliver a fully virtualized Open RAN and Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network.Triangle Communications is undergoing a full network transformation, removing untrusted network providers equipment using funding from the FCC provided under the Secure and Trusted Telecommunications act.The Rip and Replace project and will include:Mavenir’s...

U.S. Covid-19 relief bill provides $1.9 billion to rip/replace Huawei

The $900 billion coronavirus relief package approved by the U.S. Congress contains several provisions for telecommunications, including $1.9 billion to fund the rip/replace of Huawei and ZTE equipment, $3.2 billion for Keep Americans Connected programs, $250 million for telehealth initiatives, and requirements for the FCC to begin auctioning the 3.45-3.55 GHz band by the end of 2021."FCC Chairman Ajit Pai:“I applaud Congress for including in the...

U.S. enacts Secure Trusted Telecommunications Network Act

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) applauded the President's signing of the Secure Trusted Telecommunications Network Act. The legislation prohibits federal subsidies from being used to purchase communications equipment or services posing national security risks, and provides for the establishment of a reimbursement program for the replacement of communications equipment or services posing such risks. David Stehlin, TIA’s Chief Executive...

Celestial AI raises $56M for Photonics Fabric for multi chip systems

Celestial AI, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, raised $56 million in Series A funding for its proprietary hardware and software platform for machine learning chipsets.

Celestial AI’s proprietary Photonic Fabric technology platform aims to to fundamentally transform multi-chip processing systems. The Photonic Fabric enables optically addressable memory and compute (within chip and chip-to-chip). The company says uts proprietary architecture enables elegant, low-complexity system software, allowing highly efficient mapping of data and compute without the need for complex optimizations. This software advantage extends to multi-chip exascale systems as the Photonic Fabric democratizes optical access to effectively limitless memory and compute. 

The funding round led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) with participation from Temasek’s Xora Innovation fund, The Engine, the venture firm spun out of MIT, Tyche Partners, Merck’s corporate venture fund, M-Ventures, IMEC XPand, and venture capital investor in the Princeton University ecosystem, Fitz Gate. 

The new capital will be used for expanding the global engineering team, product development and strategic supplier engagements, including Broadcom, to build the company’s Orion AI accelerator products. 

“We are addressing the problem of our time in computing – efficient data movement,” said Celestial AI founder and CEO David Lazovsky. “Celestial AI’s hybrid photonic-electronic platform allows us to leverage the complementary strengths of electronics for high-performance, high-precision computing and photonics for high-speed, low-power, high-bandwidth data movement. The result is transformational performance advantages relative to electronic-only systems. The ML application benefits extend beyond performance and low power to latency, user friendly software, and low total cost of ownership. Our competitive differentiation will increase with time, as AI model complexity increases, driving increased data movement.”

“Photonics is poised to be the technology to usher in the next era of rapid growth in AI and high-performance computing, and we believe the Celestial AI team has the experience and vision to drive this industry transformation,” said Isaac Sigron, Managing Director of KDT, and newly-appointed Celestial AI Board Member. “It was Celestial AI’s software advantages that ultimately drove our decision to lead this financing. Their system architecture enables unparalleled software simplicity, which translates to ease of use for customers and reduced time to market. Software is the pathway to revenue, and Celestial AI’s solution changes the game in this large and rapidly expanding market.”

Government of Quebec buys IBM Quantum System

The Government of Quebec and IBM announced a new partnership to further establish Quebec as a leading technology hub in the development of quantum computing, artificial intelligence, semiconductors and high-performance computing through the launch of the Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator. The Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator plans to make advances using computational technologies such as:

  • Quantum computing: Leveraging an IBM Quantum System One to be deployed at IBM's Bromont facility for the use of the Government of Quebec and its partners, to facilitate the mission of the Government of Quebec's Innovation Zones the Discovery Accelerator will explore complex problems including the modeling of new materials and how quantum computing can be used as part of broader sustainability efforts.
  • AI: Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator teams will use a range of artificial intelligence models to explore use cases such as the discovery of new drugs.
  • High performance computing: The Discovery Accelerator will leverage a major base of high-performance computing (HPC) in order to integrate classical and quantum technology to explore various scientific challenges.

"Quebec's potential to innovate in high technology and be a leader in the economy of the future is immense. We have world-class universities, creative entrepreneurs and talented workers. The dedicated IBM quantum computer will pave the way for us to make incredible progress in areas such as artificial intelligence and modeling. Quantum science is the future of computing. With our innovation zone, we're positioning ourselves at the forefront of this future," said Fran├žois Legault, Premier of Quebec.

IBM reaches Quantum Volume 64 on a 27-qubit system

IBM reached a new milestone on its quantum computing road map, achieving the company's highest Quantum Volume to date: 64, uaing one of its newest 27-qubit client-deployed systems. Quantum Volume measures the length and complexity of circuits – the higher the Quantum Volume, the higher the potential for exploring solutions to real world problems across industry, government, and research. "We are always finding new ways to push the limits of our...

Toshiba plans major expansion of power semiconductor fab

Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation  will construct a new 300-milimeter wafer fabrication facility for power semiconductors at its main discrete semiconductor production base, Kaga Toshiba Electronics Corporation, in Ishikawa Prefecture. The project will increase Toshiba's power semiconductor production capacity 2.5 times.

Construction will take place in two phases, allowing the pace of investment to be optimized against market trends, with the production start of Phase 1 scheduled for within fiscal 2024.

The new fab will have a quake absorbing structure; enhanced BCP systems, including dual power supply lines; and the latest energy saving manufacturing equipment to reduce environmental burdens. It will also aim to achieve the “RE100” goal of 100% reliance on renewable energy. Product quality and production efficiency will be improved by introducing artificial intelligence and automated wafer transportation systems.

ADTRAN cites XGS-PON/10G-EPON momentum

ADTRAN reported momentum with its XGS-PON/10G-EPON portfolio as operators upgrade their network capabilities to 10G. The company points to its Combo PON technology and software-defined access (SD-Access) approach as a fiber access game changer for the largest incumbent operators, regional service providers and community broadband providers in North America and Europ.

Recent research reports from Dell’Oro and Omdia highlight ADTRAN’s market impact and growth. Both research firms show ADTRAN as ranking #2 and #3 for XGS-PON OLT shipments in North America and in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) respectively on a four-quarter rolling basis. Further, ADTRAN XGS-PON and 10G EPON shipments have reached an inflection point where 50% of its OLT ports deployed in this period were based on its open and disaggregated SD-Access platforms across a mix of large metro central offices, hardened street cabinets and strand-mounted remote OLTs.

“ADTRAN is rapidly becoming the 10G fiber access supplier of choice to an industry that is realizing that 10G PON FTTH technology paired with AI-driven optimization is the best path to realizing its broadband goals,” said Robert Conger, Senior Vice President, Technology and Strategy at ADTRAN. “It is validating to see how the unique benefits of our open, software-defined platform are being adopted at pace by every type of network operator in the U.S. and Europe – from innovative altnets and rural community broadband providers, to many of the world’s largest service providers and MSOs.”