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Birds Eye, the privately-held UK frozen foods company, has selected InTechnology's Push To Talk (PTT) mobile communications service to help the business improve both the speed and efficiency of peas processing at its plant in East Yorkshire.

With three main locations in East Yorkshire - office, processing plant and fields - processing time is crucial to the Birds Eye team.  All of the peas must be shelled, blanched and frozen within two-and-a-half hours of picking to maintain best quality freshness.

The Birds Eye plant is situated in a 30-mile radius of 800 fields where peas are grown and then transported and frozen in the shortest possible timescale.  Communication between the plant and fields is crucial to the operation.  Information about loads received must be fed back to the harvesting team and loads altered accordingly.  If the produce is not frozen quickly it cannot be used in the Birds Eye pack, criteria set by the company to maintain its high standards.

"Our plant based staff need to collaborate with the field workers to produce the optimum results, and communication is key," explains Brian Wheatley, Agricultural Manager, Birds Eye Ltd.   "This is why we have chosen InTechnology's PTT service which means that information from the factory can be broadcast to many other workers, at the push of a button, greatly reducing the time spent calling each worker separately."

The practical communications challenges that face Birds Eye include a wide and undulating geographic area to cover, meaning that it has not always been possible to know the location of harvesters if out of range.   

Furthermore, where many workers needed to be contacted with the same message, this would result in a high call volume and expensive call charges.

InTechnology's Push To Talk service works in a similar way to the ‘walkie-talkies', but uses mobile handsets instead of mobile radios, benefiting from all the advantages of mobile phone technology.

With PTT, Birds Eye staff can communicate with each other easily at the push of a button, on a one-to-one or one-to-many basis.  And by using additional PTT handsets for the summer season, Birds Eye can free up resources for the rest of the year, taking full advantage of the flexible pay monthly service from InTechnology to best suit their business requirements.

The PTT solution for Birds Eye includes: compact handsets that can be used either as a mobile phone or a walkie-talkie; coverage is extensive as PTT uses the worldwide network for mobile phones (GSM); there is no number to dial, the user simply pushes a button and talks for instant communication; information from the factory can now be broadcasted to many, and harvesting amounts can be changed to suit optimum production levels; users can have a one-to-one conversation or a wider team discussion across the site at the push of a button.

Another benefit is that Birds Eye will only pay for the data used when someone is talking, which will help to reduce costs.

"We have very high standards to maintain and PTT will help us to communicate more efficiently and save money along the way," says Brian Wheatley.

Equinix, a provider of global data centre services, and Alcatel-Lucent today announced the development of a programme to define enhanced solutions for the exchange of data traffic between carriers providing Ethernet services.

The Equinix Carrier Ethernet Exchange platform, which will be the first of its kind in the industry, will use Alcatel-Lucent's service router portfolio to enable the delivery of ubiquitous, high-performance global Ethernet services, marking the evolution of the next generation of carrier interconnection services.

"Just as Equinix pioneered new solutions for IP and content peering, we are now looking into ways that we can apply our interconnection expertise to the challenges faced by carriers seeking to expand their Ethernet service offerings," said Jarrett Appleby, chief marketing officer for Equinix.  "Our work with Alcatel-Lucent pairs the leader in colocation and network interconnection services with the top provider of carrier Ethernet interconnection technology to develop solutions aimed at addressing this critical market need."

Ethernet services, which provide significant speed, quality, and cost advantages, have traditionally been limited to the geographic areas in which a carrier's network is deployed. While significant customer demand exists for universal Ethernet services, carriers have been limited in offering a seamless service outside of their service area due to the complex and time consuming challenges of establishing multiple, separate interconnection agreements with other carriers.

The Equinix solution will focus on developing a platform for multi-provider carrier Ethernet interconnection that meets Metro Ethernet Forum standards. It will review a variety of solutions including Ethernet Network to Network Interconnection (NNI) and additional services that leverage the density and breadth of networks operating within Equinix's centres. The solution will be delivered at Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres globally using Alcatel-Lucent's service routing portfolio.

"Equinix's new carrier neutral Ethernet exchange programme is a natural extension of its existing IP interconnect offerings and gives a competitive edge to customers already interconnecting in Equinix POPs/carrier hotel locations," said Basil Alwan, President, Alcatel-Lucent IP Division. "By leveraging Alcatel-Lucent's market-leading service routing solutions, Equinix is helping open up a whole new Ethernet market for carriers."

Key outcomes of the activities will include:
- Enabling carriers to interconnect and pass data between Ethernet services;
- Providing solutions to translate between different carrier Ethernet offerings to ensure transparent service and developing an interconnection technical specification; and
- Developing a marketplace to enable carriers to partner on Ethernet services to extend global reach and depth.

"Carriers have valuable assets in their local Ethernet service offerings, but they are limited to specific geographic regions and are missing opportunities to respond to the demand for end-to-end Ethernet services across regional, national and global footprints," said Daniel Golding, vice president and research director for Tier1 Research. "The current model for carriers to expand their service offerings is to negotiate one-off Ethernet interconnection agreements with other carriers. This model presents a myriad of challenges, including the harmonisation of standards across multiple, different carriers, and incremental costs that impact carrier profitability. There is a strong need for a solution that can automate this process and enable carriers to seamlessly interconnect with multiple Ethernet carriers that have complimentary footprints through a centralized switching fabric."

OnRelay, a cellular Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) provider, today announced the carrier-grade release of its mobile PBX software, Unified MBX. 

Unified MBX (UMBX) is a software-only Cellular IP PBX and FMC system, or Mobile PBX.  It provides complete business telephony with the mobile phone as the primary office extension. The software includes a feature-rich open source IP PBX to offer companies IP telephony without the expense of proprietary hardware, IP PBX or OS licenses.  Service providers can deliver the solution as Software as a Service (SaaS).

The UMBX 4.1 release is said to introduce multitenancy, carrier-grade high availability 99.999%, and high scalability of 25,000 users per hosted server instance, hundreds of thousands with distributed architecture.  Significantly, the release's new SIP call flows remove the "call tromboning" barriers to support for on-premises equipment, by keeping the voice media stream in the mobile operator network. 

"IDC believes that mobility should be seen as part and parcel of Unified Communications (UC), which is all about business benefits and device independence. There is clearly a lot of interest in UC in the service provider community, including mobile operators", notes Chris Barnard, Research Director,  IDC EMEA.

"We forecast the worldwide Mobile PBX extension market to grow at a CAGR of 66.5% between 2008-2013, when the market will be worth more than US $700 million," continues Barnard.

"Advanced FMC solutions offer compelling value propositions. However cost, complexity and feature limitations have hindered adoption," says Rob Arnold, Senior Enterprise Communications Analyst at Current Analysis. "UMBX with sipXecs takes proprietary PBXs and soft switches out of the equation, lowering cost and complexity barriers yet delivering robust mobile business communications capabilities.  With it service providers can roll out FMC services with less risk, with more functionality and at price points that SME customers are looking for."   

UMBX 4.1 can be hosted by operators to address the SME market, or managed on-premises to meet enterprise requirements. SIP desk phones and softphones are fully supported, and the software can also be used to mobilise any existing legacy PBX.

UMBX 4.1 is also claimed to offer Mobile UC with cost-efficient, fast deployment.  The server component is delivered as software in a single install shield, which includes the open source IP PBX, FMC server and a Linux OS.  The mobile client is provisioned over the air (OTA) and requires no user configuration.  Centralised web based service management and full JMX based network management integration is provided as standard.

Global Crossing, a global IP and Ethernet solutions provider, today announced it has added the Global Crossing EtherSphere family of services to the company's Ethernet WAN transport offers.  The new globally available services are EtherSphere Multipoint-to-Multipoint, EtherSphere Point-to-Multipoint and EtherSphere Point-to-Point solutions. They are available today as enterprise and wholesale offers in North America, Europe, the United Kingdom (UK), Asia, and Latin America.

Previously available in the UK as a metropolitan Ethernet offer, the expanded EtherSphere Ethernet WAN transport family now offers customers ubiquitous, global Virtual Private LAN Services (VPLS).  EtherSphere solutions use mature, familiar Ethernet technology for wide area transport of enterprise services, such as file sharing, email, document management, enterprise resource planning, and real-time collaboration. The technology is reliable, can easily accommodate additional bandwidth in small increments, offers cost efficiencies traditionally associated with Ethernet, and interworks with other Global Crossing WAN solutions, such as Global Crossing IP Virtual Private Networks. The service is provided over Global Crossing's dedicated Multi Protocol Label Switching backbone network to ensure high-speed, reliable, region-to-region connectivity and access to the Internet.

"Global Crossing's EtherSphere Ethernet wide area transport solutions give enterprise IT managers a way to globally interconnect their locations in key regions around the world," said Dave Carey, Global Crossing's chief marketing officer.  "Its genuine, global ubiquity sets our offer apart from the rest of the industry. 

"Clearly, Ethernet is rapidly becoming the primary communications technology for global IT organizations," added Carey.  "Ethernet is a proven LAN technology for businesses today.  And with next-generation enterprise applications, such as disaster recovery, storage, and packet voice and video, driving steep increases in bandwidth demand, enterprise IT managers know that data services over legacy technologies simply do not get the job done. Traditional data services are expensive to scale, operationally complex, and can be painfully slow to upgrade."

"With the launch of EtherSphere, Global Crossing has placed itself in a competitive position for meeting growing demand in the market for international any-to-any Layer 2 Carrier Ethernet services," stated Joel Stradling, senior analyst at Current Analysis.  "The operator is hitting the market with a well-designed Ethernet VPLS offer that is enhanced with several features, such as support for up to six CoS, and flexible pricing and bandwidths. The richness in capability combined with strong existing global MPLS reach and know-how make the Global Crossing EtherSphere product range a strong proposition in the market."

According to Ian Redpath, Principal Analyst, Ovum, the global Ethernet VPLS market is projected to increase from $1.3 billion in 2008 to $8.4 billion in 2014, which translates into an estimated Compound Annual Growth Rate of 37 percent.

VPLS is an ideal technology for enterprises that need to connect data centers or remote locations.  It is particularly attractive to the healthcare, financial, government, and technology industries interested in deploying multi-site, multi-regional WANs.  It is a private Ethernet (Layer 2) network constructed over a "packet-based" infrastructure that has the ability to span several networks. Global Crossing's VPLS supports a range of connectivity options, including multipoint-to-multipoint, point-to-multipoint, and point-to-point.

Global Crossing's EtherSphere services support six classes of service that enable users to prioritize traffic to maximize bandwidth use and efficiency.  The service also offers a highly desirable usage-based billing component that helps enterprises more easily accommodate irregular and unpredictable bandwidth use, as well as more effectively manage their network costs.  This is especially beneficial for backup and disaster recovery implementations. 

Interxion, a European operator of carrier-neutral data centres, today announced an agreement with Multiplay, one of Europe's leading Gaming Service Providers, to provide equipment housing and connectivity in Interxion's London data centre to enable the delivery of faster content to its users.

Multiplay's online services were launched in December 2002, and the company has grown to be one of Europe's leading Gaming Service Providers. In Summer 2009 Multiplay's online gaming service passed the 3,500 server milestone for the first time offering a total of over 60,000 concurrent player slots.

Due to the nature of its business, Multiplay must have ultra-low-latency connectivity and guaranteed availability. Interxion's data centres provide a highly secure physical location with advanced infrastructure. High-density power configurations are also available, with industry-leading Quality of Service levels and availability and 24x7 secure access to equipment. 

Interxion also provides industry-leading connectivity, hosting PoPs for 15 leading European Internet Exchanges and over 500 carriers and network service providers across Europe. Multiplay connects directly with the London Internet Exchange (LINX) infrastructure in Interxion's London data centre, enabling them to peer directly with BT and a number of other large networks, which lowers costs and at the same time keeps latency between the player and the server down to a minimum, giving the user the best possible online gaming experience.

"Interxion has enabled us to scale up our services while simultaneously improving the gaming experience," said Craig Fletcher, Managing Director of Multiplay. "Our servers are deployed in a high-power-density configuration in order to optimise the use of space, and our link to LINX has helped us to deliver an even greater customer experience while driving down connection costs."

"We are pleased to provide the space, the power and the connectivity that keeps Multiplay's customers on the edge of their seats," said Greg McCulloch, Managing Director, Interxion UK. "As the gaming community grows real time game play is becoming increasingly popular, we hope that the quality of our infrastructure and the power and connectivity options we offer will set us apart as the provider of choice."

Aberdeen Press and Journal (AP&J), the Scottish newspaper, has signed a five year managed service agreement with Azzurri Communications for the provision and operation of its voice and data estate and remote working capability.  The service is said to have removed the complexity associated with handling multiple telecommunications suppliers; delivered substantial cost savings to the bottom line; and enhanced mobile working capabilities for 250 staff.
In the current challenging environment for printed publications, those that embrace technologies and services that reduce cost and drive efficiencies will be best positioned to prosper. Watson Mutch, Financial Director of AP&J explains, "The investment we made in the contract with Azzurri has already been recouped by the substantial savings in our overall telephony costs."

The managed service delivered to AP&J is underpinned by Azzurri's flexible delivery of services and contracts which ensures AP&J is tied to neither technology nor supplier, and is provided with the flexibility and agility to adapt to meet changing business needs.

AP&J took advantage of this model by using their managed service to evaluate the remote and mobile working needs of the business. Azzurri subsequently identified clear opportunities for AP&J and delivered a solution for its 250 mobile workers. Steve Hunt, IT Manager of AP&J, explains: "The enhanced mobile working capability has been a big plus for us. Secure remote access to company resources and services like 3G on PDAs allows our journalists to file copy quicker and means our sales teams can access and upload advertising copy in real time from customer sites, streamlining our whole operation."

Azzurri's managed services offer organisations a unique way to procure and manage ICT; by integrating voice, data and mobility, they remove the complexities of managing multiple networks, operators and pricing models, which allows organisations to focus on their core competencies and compete effectively - vital in the current economic climate.

Jason Standerwick, sales and marketing director of Azzurri Communications said, "Today's market dictates that organisations must save maximum costs while maximising efficiency and competitiveness. What AP&J have been able to achieve with Azzurri is a consolidated voice, data and mobility service in one flexible contract with effectively no capital expenditure overhead.  Azzurri is changing the game in this market as we're able to transform the way organisations like AP&J procure and manage their ICT."

A new report from global advisory and consulting firm Ovum, has found that managed telepresence services for multinational corporations will provide a significant stream of new revenues for global telecoms service providers in the next five years, even if operators are not all exploiting the opportunity yet.

According to the report, entitled "Business video 2010-14: chasing revenues in managed telepresence", only a handful of operators offer global managed telepresence services today. But the number will grow steadily as more global network operators, as well as regional operators, follow the lead taken by AT&T, BT and Orange Business Services.

"Managed telepresence is proving to be a value-add revenue stream for major telcos," says David Molony, principal analyst at Ovum, and author of the report. "It really allows them to exploit their global services network assets as well as all their expertise in videoconferencing."

Ovum estimates that managed service charges in the new installed base of telepresence videoconferencing systems for MNCs will add a modest $77.4 million to network operator revenues in 2009. But this figure will accelerate over the next five years, with cumulative revenues for global managed telepresence services totalling $1.7 billion from 2010 to 2014.

Add to that the receptiveness of MNCs towards telepresence, which many see as the new keystone for their unified communications programmes, and the industry has a standout service offering.

"Telepresence is at the apex of the unified communications opportunity for managed telecoms providers, and not just the equipment vendors," says Molony.

In fact, says Ovum, if anything it is the service providers that stand to gain most through the rollout of telepresence services now reaching 100+ sites in the biggest single deployments at MNCs. So far there is no sign of a challenge from the major systems integrators that compete with telcos in so many areas of global services.

"Some operators will take a volume approach, like some vendors," says Molony. "Others will try harder to maintain the longer-term value of managed sites."

At some point, the value of the service ‘rentals' becomes greater than the annual sales of equipment, and in managed telepresence, Ovum thinks that point could come as soon as 2012, because many of the biggest MNCs will have placed their orders by then. Service revenues of $359.5 million will outstrip the value of equipment sales at $272.5 million in 2012, and will grow to $450.3 million in 2014.

Inevitably there will be challenges for global telcos, particularly as telepresence technology shifts from hardware-based systems to software-based installation as part of integrated and centralized UC packages.

Telcos will respond by growing the range of features in the managed service, for example by adding user controls in session management, as well as realtime business tools such as RoI estimators for the cost-benefit analysis of a single telepresence meeting vs travel costs, says Ovum.

The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has confirmed that there are now 1,739 HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) user devices launched in the market by 190 manufacturers. According to the latest HSPA Devices survey just published by GSA, the number of HSPA products announced has increased more than 80% in the past 12 months. The number of suppliers has grown from 139 companies to 190 in the same period.

The survey also confirms that more than 1,000 new HSPA devices were introduced onto the market since July 2008. Today the majority of HSPA devices (51%) support a peak downlink data speed of 7.2 Mbps or higher, says the GSA.

The GSA states that there is also an evolution in uplink speeds and performance. 344 HSUPA (High Speed Uplink Packet Access) devices have been launched, which is an increase of 175% year on year. 125 HSUPA devices (over 36%) support, or are upgradeable for, 5.76 Mbps peak operation (compared to 33 devices in October 2008).

Twelve HSPA+ devices have been launched by 6 suppliers, supporting peak data speeds up to 21 and 28 Mbps.

Key findings:

329 HSPA network commitments in 135 countries/territories

283 commercial HSPA operators in 119 countries/territories

More than 150 million HSPA customers/subscriptions

144 commercial HSPA networks (almost 51%) support 7.2 Mbps or higher peak downlink speed

92 HSUPA operators commercially launched in 46 countries

26 HSPA Evolution (HSPA+) networks in commercial service in 19 countries, supporting peak downlink speeds up to 28 Mbps

The financial crisis has failed to make a major dent in demand for ICT services, with the mobile and satellite sectors proving remarkably resilient, and consumer demand for high-speed fixed and mobile connections continuing to fuel growth in broadband subscriptions in major markets worldwide, including Brazil, China and the US.

Global Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) installations are still forecast to grow at a steady rate of 30% over the next five years, while long lead times, robust demand for entertainment services and specialized financing mechanisms have helped bolster the satellite industry, which is predicting 50% growth over the coming decade.

These are some of the findings of the second edition of the ITU report on the role of ICTs in the financial crisis launched to coincide with the opening of ITU Telecom World 2009, which is taking place in Geneva from 5-9 October. Entitled Confronting the Crisis: ICT Stimulus Plans for Economic Growth, the report argues that the ICT sector has a major role to play in generating economic growth and stimulating the global financial recovery across all commercial and industrial sectors.

"Economists are still debating appropriate measures to combat the global recession," said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré, "but we firmly believe that investments in ICT and broadband networks have a major role to play in any stimulus plan.  They often promise stronger marginal returns on supply and greater productivity gains than other forms of infrastructure. Governments, regulators and industry players convening at ITU Telecom World 2009 will be considering the implications of this report as they formulate strategies to set nations not only on the road to economic recovery, but on a high-tech path to inclusive social development - at incredible benefit to future generations."

Co-authored by ITU and experts from Ericsson, Eutelsat, Intel, UK-based analyst house The Mobile World, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD), broadband consultancy Point Topic, and the World Bank, the report is the second in ITU's Confronting the Crisis series.

Spanning an industry hallmarked by vigorous competition and constant innovation, the report analyzes which ICT market segments have best weathered the storm. Wireless communication technologies, fixed broadband Internet, Next-Generation Networks and satellite technologies all have enormous potential to spur economic growth in both developing and developed regions and across all sections of society, the report concludes.

Noting a reversal in the trend towards greater private sector participation over the last three decades, the report also revives the debate about the role of government in critical infrastructure investment. With the private sector alone now unlikely to be in a position to drive widespread infrastructure development, it seems clear that government must take simple and immediate steps to assist. At the same time, however, governments need to be mindful of where they direct spending, warns the report. With operators themselves hedging their bets by picking a raft of different technologies for ICT expansion, governments, too, should exercise caution when picking technologies, picking winners or even picking the communities where investments will be channelled.

The financial crisis has brought about momentous change, forcing industrialised markets into recession and resulting in declining economic growth rates in emerging markets. Within the ICT sphere, operators face greater challenges in accessing capital and financing their network investments, slowing plans to roll out Next-Generation Networks. Unchecked, these challenges could hold back communities that need solid broadband infrastructure to achieve their social and economic development goals: "Next-generation technologies bring enormous advantages to nations, and the right policy choices must be made now, so we can reap the benefits tomorrow," concluded Dr Touré.

Cisco and Openet today announced that Turkcell, Turkey's communications and technology company, has deployed a combined solution to provide a flexible charging system for its general packet radio service (GPRS) mobile data network.

The joint solution from Cisco and Openet, which went live at mobile operator Turkcell in June 2009, introduces intelligence into the network to enable the real-time packet inspection, rating and billing of individual customers' mobile data usage. It helps the operator deliver and charge for pre- and post-paid data and next-generation services.

As a result, Turkcell, which has a subscriber base of more than 36 million, is able to provide subscribers with several billing options: by application used, for combined services or by data bandwidth consumed.

Openet's FusionWorksTM Convergent Charging solution deployed at Turkcell is combined with the following Cisco technologies: Cisco Enhanced Gateway GPRS Support Node (eGGSN), based on the high-performance Service Application Module for IP (SAMI) technology in the Cisco 7600 Series Router;
Cisco Service Control Engine; Cisco Access Register.

The combined solution was selected to help prepare Turkcell for a surge in data traffic from the launch of its 3G network in July 2009.

The Cisco eGGSN solution is said to provide advanced processing of Internet Protocol (IP) flows for content-aware billing, filtering, management and analysis in a highly scalable, fault-tolerant package. The solution helps Turkcell to deliver personalized mobile data services to its customers.

Openet's FusionWorks Convergent Charging product verifies the subscriber identity, the type of service and the authorization to use the service; advises on charge and session management; and charges for the service. These capabilities provide the transactional intelligence that Turkcell requires for the accurate delivery of, and charging for, 3G services. 

As a complementary technology with the Service Control Engine, Cisco is providing content inspection capabilities that enable Turkcell to control network traffic and monetize subscriber use. Currently, there are servers deployed in Istanbul, with plans to roll out additional servers in Ankara and to augment the existing hardware in Istanbul as more subscribers begin to use Turkcell's 3G network for data services.

The joint solution was previously deployed to handle data on Turkcell's 2G network and was selected for its ability to scale exponentially as 3G data use grows and delivery speeds rise as high as 1,500 transactions per second. Turkcell's 2G customer base consists predominantly of consumers using voice and SMS services. 

The ability to handle real-time GPRS transactions now allows Turkcell to maximize profitability from data services, thereby creating a commercially viable proposition to take to the enterprise market. The solution is  also said to be a 3rd Generation Partnership Project initiative that is IMS-standard-compliant and device-agnostic, so Turkcell can now handle the growing demand for next-generation services such as mobile TV and mobile Internet.

Ilker Kuruoz, Chief Technology Officer, Turkcell commented: "For Turkcell's 3G launch, we needed a data-charging solution implemented by vendors who were able to bring their international experience in that space to the dynamic Turkish market.  The solution developed by Cisco and Openet is a big benefit for Turkcell. It not only provides for today's needs, but also supports flexible future scenarios. Following the 3G launch, we are pleased to observe the reliability and flexibility of the solution."

Comtek, a pan-European provider of IT and telecoms infrastructure repair services, has announced the launch of its Telecoms Third-Party RMA (return merchandise authorisation) service, designed to ease the support burden on telecoms equipment manufacturers - particularly those which have a limited on-the-ground presence in Europe.  The new specialised service provides a rapid and responsive support mechanism that is said to help improve customer loyalty.

Comtek says it will now offer manufacturers outsourced support and repair for both current and legacy equipment, essentially acting as the service arm of each manufacturer's business.  This allows telecoms equipment manufacturers to minimise the distances they need to ship faulty products, reducing their carbon footprints and costs, as well as significantly decreasing the time taken to repair goods.

Each RMA operation agreement will be individually tailored to the manufacturer's specific requirements, building on a standard agreement, whereby Comtek will undertake the following:
- Provide an online portal for customers to report faults
- Ship faulty products to one of Comtek's repair centres
- Diagnose and repair faults
- Arrange next business day delivery of return products
- Follow up with customers to ensure satisfaction

Comtek repairs rather than replaces faulty telecoms equipment, thereby minimising the ever growing problem of electronic waste.  Products which are beyond repair are either recycled or safely disposed of, in compliance with WEEE regulations.

"The current business obsession with cost-cutting has put great pressure on telecoms manufacturers to provide repair services for customers who can no longer justify purchasing new equipment," said Askar Sheibani, CEO of Comtek.  "However, controlling your own in-house testing, repairing, warehouse facilities and engineers to service a multitude of products is expensive and distracting.  We're looking to provide specialist third party support for all telecoms equipment manufacturers, promoting brand loyalty for the manufacturers and helping to protect the environment by maintaining rather than ditching older product lines."

Claimed to be Europe's largest multi-vendor IT repair company, Comtek says it has already successfully completed more than two million IT repairs, while its existing Third-Party RMA services are used by some of the world's largest IT equipment manufacturers.

Equinix, a provider of global data centre services, today announced plans to build a new 4,500 square metre (48,400 square foot) data centre in Geneva, Switzerland.  The new GV2 International Business Exchange (IBX) data centre is part of Equinix's continuing expansion strategy to meet growing global demand for data centre services and will be the company's second data centre located in Geneva.  The new project more than doubles the company's data centre footprint in the region and is part of Equinix's $1.4 billion 2007-2010 expansion programme for 15 out of the 18 markets in which it currently operates.

The data centre will be built out in phases, with the first phase, scheduled to open in December 2009, adding 380 cabinets to Equinix's capacity in the Swiss market.  It will have a total capacity for 760 cabinets at full build out.  Further phases will open during 2010 and will be timed to reflect market demand.  The GV2 centre adds to an already impressive footprint in the country and follows on from Equinix's recently announced planned expansion in Zurich, with the addition of its ZH4 data centre.

The GV2 centre, which will be located west of the city centre, will build upon the range of services hosted at Equinix's existing Geneva data centre (GV1), which is a strategic location for telecom operators and internet access providers supplying Geneva-based corporations and banking organisations.  In addition to providing a centralised aggregation point for these networks to operate, the GV2 centre will offer colocation services and a variety of interconnection and peering services, including direct cross-connects between more than 30 networks.  The GV2 centre will also directly connect to Equinix's other Zurich and Geneva sites, making Equinix's entire range of services available to all customers operating in the region.

Equinix's GV1 centre is located 4.5 kilometers away from GV2, and comprises 3,600 square metres (38,600 square feet) of gross data centre space, providing excellent carrier connectivity from the many network service providers located in this key market.  This existing data centre offers a full range of colocation, interconnection, support, and monitoring services and is certified ISO9001.2000.

"As our recent growth plans in Zurich have shown, Equinix is committed to increasing its operations in the Swiss market in order to meet growing local demand," said Eric Schwartz, president of Equinix in Europe.  "Expanding in Geneva, a key financial market, is the next logical step for the company.  With the addition of GV2 to its expanding data centre footprint, Equinix continues to demonstrate its leadership within this market."

COLT, a European provider of business communications, today announced a 'significant' enhancement to the COLT Carrier Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service that was launched in all 13 COLT countries earlier this year. The enhancement allows customers to terminate Intelligent Network (IN) services, such as calls from freephone numbers, on their Voice over IP platform. The combination of COLT's portfolio of IN Services with VoIP technology meets the market demand from customers who are increasingly using VoIP platforms.

"The launch of the enhanced Carrier VoIP service with Intelligent Networking is a significant milestone in our Next Generation Solution strategy and demonstrates how COLT is combining its European network with its Next Generation technology to position COLT as the European partner of choice for carriers and service providers worldwide", said Alireza Mahmoodshahi, Chief Technology Officer at COLT. "We continue to add services to our next generation Multi Service Platform, putting us in a market leading position by offering enhanced services based on future-proof technology".

COLT Carrier VoIP supports both market-relevant Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and H.323 protocols.  Transparent calling line identification (CLI) transmission, fax pass through, network resilience and security are delivered as a standard with the service.

IN services provides callers with an improved user experience whilst maximising the performance of the customer's call centre.  COLT's IN services include freephone, shared cost, premium rate, geographic number (IN GEO), personal number and feature rich call routing and delivery services.  IN is available in each of COLTs 13 European countries and with Carrier VoIP, is now able to deliver integrated voice services everywhere in the world, says COLT.

Connecting via VoIP brings customers a number of operational advantages and simplifies the establishment of VoIP interconnects. François Eloy, Managing Director Wholesale at COLT says: "The enhanced COLT Carrier VoIP service enables COLT to connect its customers easily and cost-effectively and creates future-proof solutions with VoIP interconnects in any of our 13 countries to support national and international call termination and IN services delivery."

For any traffic sent by customers and terminated on a COLT network, customers can select from various individuals levels of service and quality. In addition, the new service offers the daily delivery of unrated Call Detail Records (CDRs), via a fully automated B2B interface.  This provides an additional level of flexibility to service providers who do not want to invest in complex and costly billing systems.

Flash Networks, a global provider of intelligent mobile Internet solutions, announced today that Network Norway has implemented Flash Networks' data optimisation, which is claimed to provide smoother and faster browsing to boost user adoption, while reducing network load to free up network capacity to meet the growing demand for data services.

"Both businesses and consumers are demanding mobile access to bandwidth-intensive applications and services. In order to keep up with this growing demand while keeping our CAPEX and OPEX in check, we deployed Flash Networks' data optimisation solution," said Tor Anders Braun, Head of VAS & Core Networks at Network Norway. "With Flash Networks' solution, we can provide the best possible mobile Internet experience by boosting data speeds for multi-media traffic and increase adoption rates for mobile data services while delaying our need to add costly capacity by improving data traffic efficiency." 

Unlike traditional optimisation solutions, which typically cover less than 30% of Internet traffic, Flash Networks' says its data optimization solution is capable of addressing approximately 90% of traffic, reducing data for web, peer-to-peer, and digital media applications. Such data reduction dramatically reduces network load, resulting in lower operating expenses, it says.

As part of Flash Networks' Harmony mobile Internet services gateway, the data optimization solution is strategically located on the main traffic route and applies a variety of optimisation mechanisms on the transport, application, and content layers. Harmony serves as a central gateway for rationalising the multi-service proxy applications currently in use, and facilitates timely implementation of new services with minimal integration efforts. The company says that the gateway meets the strategic objectives of mobile and converged operators who want to increase ARPU through mobile data services, generate new revenue streams from current infrastructure, and improve operational efficiency and time to market when introducing new services.

"We are proud to partner with Network Norway, a leading market innovator in Norway. Network Norway's vision and focus on mobile data makes it ideally suited to be our partner to bring better connectivity and advanced revenue-generating services to this rapidly growing market," said Merav Bahat, Vice President of Marketing at Flash Networks. "With Flash Networks' data optimization solution, Network Norway can increase its mobile data services customer base while keeping costs to a minimum."