Sunday, January 28, 2024

Plans announced for Hawaiian Islands Fiber Link cable

The University of Hawaiʻi (UH) and Ocean Networks Inc. (ONI) announced plans to build a submarine optical fiber cable system, known as the Hawaiian Islands Fiber Link (HIFL), to link the Hawaiian Islands and enhance high-speed broadband internet access across the state.

HIFL will be a carrier-neutral, open-access system with landing sites on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi, Maui, Kauaʻi, Lānaʻi and Molokaʻi. The system will have 24 fiber pairs with a design life of 25 years and is expected to be ready for service in late 2026. The project is being overseen by the UH System Office for Information Technology with support from the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaiʻi.

The $120 million project is a crucial part of the state's broadband strategy, Connect Kākou, which is a primary focus of Governor Josh Green's administration. Led by Lt. Governor Sylvia Luke, Connect Kākou is committed to providing reliable and affordable high-speed internet access to individuals from diverse backgrounds.

"This inter-island cable system will leverage the once-in-a-generation federal investment for technological infrastructure and position our state for long-term economic growth,” said Gov. Green, M.D. "The resulting network will be open to all carriers and sufficiently robust to support all manner of telecommunications carrier and enterprise traffic, including anticipated future high-capacity demands supporting healthcare, education, research, public service, commerce, and government uses."

ONI is responsible for the supply, construction, operations and maintenance of the inter-island cable system. Partial funding will be provided through a federal grant, and the remaining funds will be secured by ONI through private equity and secured debt. When it goes online, HIFL will be able to process a high volume of data with minimal delay and will be the inter-island backbone of Connect Kākou.

"This is just one part of our plan to guarantee the state’s long-term internet connectivity," said LG Luke. "Connect Kākou has over $500 million in federal grants, state funds, and private matching funds available as we work towards connecting the unconnected and make sure everyone has access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet."

European Investment Bank extends EUR 420 million to Ericsson

Ericsson has signed two 7-year loans with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a total of EUR 420 million. The first EUR 250 million was disbursed in December 2023.

Ericsson said it will use the financing for research and development (R&D) in relation to enhanced wireless technology between 2023 and 2025. 

Carl Mellander, Ericsson’s CFO, says: “Wireless technology will play a key role in transitioning towards a low-carbon economy. The signing of the funding agreements with the European Investment Bank provides Ericsson with increased flexibility to drive critical research and development into making our own products more competitive and energy efficient. This will benefit our operator customers as well as other industrial sectors in their efforts to create a positive impact.”

FCC seeks improved network resiliency during disasters

The FCC updated its rules, and proposed additional updates, to improve communications network reliability, resiliency, and transparency during disasters and outages.  

The rule changes will increase participation in, and enhance the use of, the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS), in which service providers report on their operational status during emergencies.  This operational data informs service restoration efforts during disasters, when it is vital for first responders and the public to maintain communications. 

Specific communication service providers must continuously submit reports of network disruptions to the FCC's Network Outage Reporting System (NORS). In times of disaster, the FCC may activate the Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) to enhance situational awareness, inform public safety authorities and the public about service disruptions, and aid in restoring services. However, participation in DIRS by the industry is optional, leading to potential gaps in information that can hinder emergency responses. Additionally, NORS also faces information gaps as not all communication providers are mandated to participate.

The new rules:

  • Require cable communications, wireline, wireless, and interconnected VoIP providers to report daily infrastructure status information when DIRS is activated for geographic areas in which they provide service.   
  • Suspend NORS reporting obligations when providers are required to report in DIRS during a disaster, so they are not obligated to report twice.   
  • Require DIRS filers to provide a single, final summary DIRS report to the Commission within 24 hours of the deactivation of DIRS.   

The Commission is also seeking comment on:

  • Whether to require TV and radio broadcasters, satellite providers, and broadband Internet access service (BIAS) providers to report in NORS and/or DIRS.
  • The extent to which the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) should be subject to NORS and/or DIRS reporting.
  • Whether providers should be required to supply the Commission with after-action reports detailing how their networks fared during the emergency or disaster event.
  • Whether providers should be required to report the location of mobile recovery assets during a disaster response, as well other specifications of those assets.

FCC updates rules in 70/80/90 GHz bands

The Federal Communications Commission today adopted updates to its rules for the 70, 80, and 90 GHz spectrum bands to facilitate broadband access on ships and aircrafts, in addition to backhaul service for 5G.  This action will promote the efficient use of spectrum and will provide opportunities for the development of new broadband service options. 

The new rules for the 71–76 GHz, 81–86 GHz, 92–94 GHz, and 94.1–95 GHz bands authorize certain point-to-point links to endpoints in motion in the 70 GHz and 80 GHz bands to facilitate the use of these frequencies for access to broadband services on aircraft and ships.  Modifidation to certain existing rules allow the use of smaller, more economical antennas, enhancing the delivery of backhaul services in the 70 GHz and 80 GHz bands. Additionally, it revises the link registration procedure for the 70/80/90 GHz bands, mandating the certification of construction for registered links. This change aims to optimize the utilization of this spectrum range and enhance the precision of the link registration database.

The FCC is seeking comment on the addition of another type of link as part of maritime operations, and the inclusion of Fixed Satellite Service earth stations in the light-licensing regime for the 70 GHz and 80 GHz bands.

Lufthansa Group to install EAN broadband on aircraft

Lufthansa Group, which operates the Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines, selected Viasat and Deutsche Telekom to equip more than 150 aircraft with EAN (European Aviation Network).

EAN combines S-band satellite coverage from Viasat with a complementary ground network (CGN) operated by Deutsche Telekom. EAN provides high-speed Internet on airplanes that supports streaming and other broadband applications.

Viasat acquired Inmarsat last year and continues its long-standing, successful partnership with Deutsche Telekom and the Lufthansa Group. Inmarsat has been providing its satellite-based service (Ka-band) to the Lufthansa Group since 2015. This purely satellite-based solution is already on board 240 Lufthansa Group aircraft flying on short and medium-haul routes. Deutsche Telekom acts as an Internet service provider for various in-flight services. In February 2018, both partners launched the European Aviation Network, which is already being used by other European airlines.

Lufthansa Group says EAN will provide passengers with uniform, reliable connectivity in the aircraft eegardless of the route or the aircraft. The additional more than 150 aircraft include the Airbus A319, A320ceo, A320neo, A321ceo, A321neo and A220 fleet types. EAN is a unique example of Europe's technological and regulatory leadership. Air travelers can now enjoy excellent in-flight connectivity within the continent.

MACOM intros laser drivers and TIA for pluggable

MACOM introduced its new dual channel laser driver and transimpedance amplifier (TIA) products. 

MACOM PURE DRIVE solutions offer an alternative to Digital Signal Processor (DSP) based architectures for pluggable optical modules and provide the opportunity to lower power consumption, improve signal latency and reduce overall module manufacturing costs.

The new products, MATA-39224 (2x100G TIA) and MALD-39225 (2x100G VCSEL Driver), join MACOM’s existing portfolio of four- and eight-channel devices, providing a cost and power optimized solution for DSFP/SFP-DD and SFP112 optical form factors targeting Ethernet, Fibre Channel and InfiniBand applications. These devices feature high bandwidth, broad dynamic range, and low noise to enable linear pluggable optical (LPO) solutions in targeted applications and form factors.

“We are pleased to expand our MACOM PURE DRIVE portfolio to address smaller module form factors used in the optical networking industry,” said Thomas Hwang, Senior Vice President of Global Sales. “The MACOM PURE DRIVE family enables customers to design and manufacture a variety of 100 G/lane linear modules.”

Ericsson makes chages to executive team

 Ericsson announced three executive appointments:

  • Niklas Heuveldop, currently Head of Market Area North America, is appointed new Head of Business Area Global Communications Platform and CEO of Vonage as of February 1, 2024
  • Yossi Cohen, currently Head of Strategy, Technology, Marketing and Business Development within Market Area North America, is appointed Senior Vice President and Head of Market Area North America as of February 1, 2024
  • Rory Read, currently Head of Business Area Global Communications Platform and CEO of Vonage, has decided to step down from his positions on February 1, 2024, and leave Ericsson at the end of the first quarter of 2024

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson, comments: “I’m very pleased that Niklas has accepted to lead Business Area Global Communications Platform at this pivotal time. The Vonage acquisition and our investments in the global network platform are foundational to our long-term strategy execution, driving growth in both the enterprise segment, but also reinforcing our network infrastructure business,” and continues:

“Niklas has proven himself in multiple roles on the executive team. Under his leadership we have significantly strengthened our position in North America, expanding our market share with all leading customers in the region and the industry-defining USD 14 billion deal with AT&T, creates a solid foundation for our business in the market for years to come. He is also an important driver of our ongoing organizational transformation, driving ethics, compliance and operational excellence.”