Service providers pony up funding for Cioffi's ASSIA

With all of the attention in the last mile being on Fiber to the Premises (FTTP), you would think an announcement on enhancing copper's rate and reach would be so 1990s. But Adaptive Spectrum and Signal Alignment Incorporated (ASSIA)--a company founded by the heralded father of DSL John Cioffi--just got a cool $10 million infusion of new capital.

What does stick out about this new funding round is the strong service provider presence. New investors Mingly China Growth Fund and SFR Development, the venture fund division of service provider SFR, join an all star cast that includes Swisscom Ventures, T-Ventures (Deutsche Telekom's financial division) and Stanford University where Cioffi currently is a professor and conducts broadband access research.

With the new funding, Cioffi and Co. would like to advance their play in two areas. One is to develop DSM Level 3, or what's called "vectoring," a concept that claims to enhance VDSL lines to 100 Mbps downstream and 50 Mbps upstream. In September, ASSIA signed a patent licensing and co-marketing effort with Ikanos Communications, an effort the two companies say could produce vectored DSL products by 2011 or 2012. Second on the company's to do list is to develop software that can enable service providers to manage and rectify issues impairing a DSL line's speeds.

ASSIA, which says its Dynamic Spectrum Management Layer-1 technology is currently managing 23 million major service providers' DSL lines in North America and Europe, can enable service providers to increase the downstream of their existing ADSL lines by 40 percent. Such capabilities will be much appreciated by service providers such as AT&T and Qwest who are taking an FTTN approach in their Brownfield, or existing markets, to keep apace of cable's DOCSIS 3.0 drive.

For more:
- see the release here
- LightReading has this analysis

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