Alone and in groups, vendors line up for FTTP award

25 July 2003 Nashua, NH Lightwave -- Details of who responded -- and with whom -- to the RFP issued by BellSouth, SBC, and Verizon for fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) hardware are beginning to emerge. The deadline for responses passed July 21.

25 July 2003 Nashua, NH Lightwave -- Details of who responded -- and with whom -- to the RFP issued by BellSouth, SBC, and Verizon for fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) hardware are beginning to emerge. The deadline for responses passed July 21.

Advanced Fibre Communications, Alcatel, Alloptic, Fujitsu, Lucent, Paceon, Terawave, and Wave 7 Optics confirmed their participation. In addition, Lightwave believes Vinci Systems is aiding as many as two respondents by supplying optical network terminal (ONT) expertise.

Alloptic, which partnered with Ericsson in its response, has been the most forthcoming regarding its plans. According to Alloptic's Kirsti Spiva, chief corporate officer, and Mike Serrano, market manager, the teaming merges Alloptic's Ethernet-based GigaForce passive optical network (PON) product line with Ericsson's services expertise. While the requirements contained in the RFP are known to heavily reflect the ATM-based ITU G.983 recommendations, Spiva and Serrano say that the fact that the company received an invitation to bid, coupled with input received at the bidder's conference July 8, lead them to believe that the three carriers are open to Ethernet infrastructure.

Other companies, while acknowledging that they have formed teams, were coy about their partners. Lucent spokesmen, for example, acknowledged that their submission combines Lucent and partner resources, but declined to provide further details. Similarly, Terawave has joined at least one team, but sources there declined to name names. At Paceon, sales and marketing head Bill Shank responded to a question regarding potential partners by saying, "We are open to doing whatever it takes to find a suitable solution for the RBOCs."

Alcatel is widely believed to be working with Scientific Atlanta. However, Alcatel sources would not comment on the specifics of their response, other than to confirm that the company had submitted one.

Meanwhile, Tom Tighe, president and CEO at Wave 7 Optics, says, "We are pursuing this opportunity on two fronts -- the first with our own product coupled with the financial backing of a $60 billion plus annual revenue company, and the second with a leader in the FSAN-compliant PON system area where we will be helping them get to a triple-play product." He declined to disclose either company.

For its part, Fujitsu is "working closely with certain startups in this field," according to John Stewart, senior director, corporate and marketing communications, at Fujitsu Network Communications. Stewart also would not reveal those companies.

Several potential bidders -- including FlexLight Networks, Nortel Networks, Optical Solutions, Quantum Bridge (which is working with Motorola), and Zhone Technologies -- refused to comment on their status, with several citing the non-disclosure agreement that accompanied the RFP. However, all are likely players. Other potential bidders -- including Adtran, General Bandwidth, iamba Networks, Marconi, Salira Optical Network Systems, and Siemens -- have yet to signal their intentions. The three carriers invited more than 20 companies to respond to the RFP.

-- Stephen Hardy

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