Centerpoint combines multiplexing technologies with Zaffire acquisition

July 6, 2001
July 6, 2001--Centerpoint Broadband Technologies Inc. will add DWDM capabilities to its current subcarrier multiplexing (SCM) product line through its acquisition of Zaffire Inc.

By Stephen Hardy, Lightwave editorial director and associate publisher

Centerpoint Broadband Technologies Inc. (San Jose, CA) will add DWDM capabilities to its current subcarrier multiplexing (SCM) product line through its acquisition of Zaffire Inc. (San Jose). The all-stock transaction announced today represents one step along the road toward a complete transport product line, including switching and grooming capabilities, according to Centerpoint President and CEO Dana Waldman.

Centerpoint currently markets the LENS 1220 system, which offers 20 Gbits/sec on a single wavelength. The system builds on an SCM technique pioneered for satellite transmission applications, frequency-division multiplexing. Centerpoint has touted the synergies between SCM and DWDM since its inception. The acquisition of Zaffire's Z3000 DWDM product line - as well as the company's engineering talent - thus represents a natural extension of Centerpoint's technology, Waldman says.

Zaffire has targeted the Z3000 at the metro and regional space and thus shares Centerpoint's market focus. Zaffire describes its system as providing 256 channels on a fiber pair at 50-GHz spacing for a total capacity of 2.5 Tbits/sec per pair.

Waldman plans to market the two systems separately for the time being, with an integrated system slated to debut in the first quarter of next year. Switching and grooming represent future expansions of the functional mix. Waldman says that the addition of Zaffire's engineering team, in combination with Centerpoint's existing expertise, provides a foundation upon which such capabilities could be developed in house. However, Waldman says the door remains open to gaining this technology through another acquisition.

"We're swallowing in small bites," he says, "but we have a big appetite."

Centerpoint did not release financial figures for the transaction, which Waldman expects to close this quarter. William R. Hearst III, partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and a member of Zaffire's board, is the only Zaffire senior manager whose move to Centerpoint has been announced. Hearst will join Centerpoint's board. James Fultz is president and CEO of Zaffire, which was founded by Near Margalit as New Access Communications in 1998. Margalit is currently listed on Zaffire's Website as chairman and CTO.

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