The free space optics (FSO) industry received a major vote of confidence last week when Quest Communications (NYSE: Q) announced a major purchase agreement with FSO vendor LightPointe Communications. Although details of this international carrier agreement have not yet been announced, the deal represents a leap forward for FSO technologies, which to-date have been generally sold only to small carriers and private enterprises.
The Qwest agreement is the latest in a series of recent events that have bolstered the strength of LightPointe's technological proposition. In recent months, LightPointe has won strategic investments from both Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Corning (NYSE: GLW) ; has entered into a MEMS technology strategic alliance with Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) ; and was awarded a U.S. patent related to all optical FSO technologies. Of course, the company faces tough competition from other established and emerging FSO vendors, including CableFree, Canon, fSONA, Optical Access, and PAV Data.
"While the growth of this market segment has been slower than predicted, we still expect the FSO industry to grow from approximately $120 million in 2000 to over $2 billion in 2006," states Rand Haley, Broadband Analyst of The Strategis Group. "Technological advances are enabling the best positioned FSO vendors to differentiate themselves as bandwidth capabilities grow and vendors overcome the obstacle of distance and fog limitations inherit in FSO products."
The Strategis Group's study, Free-Space Optics: Global Trends, Positioning, and Forecasts, analyzes FSO technology, market trends, vendor strategies, and consumer demand. Findings in the report include:
* Application segmentation of enterprise LAN-to-LAN, wireless backhaul, and last-mile access.
* Bandwidth analysis (2 Mbps (T-1/E-1) to 2.5 Gbps (OC-48)).
* Geographic segmentation (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Middle East/Africa).
* Market projections through year 2006.
* Overview of emerging metro carrier interest and adoption of FSO.
* Potential early adopters of FSO for last-mile access.
About The Strategis Group:
The Strategis Group is a global telecommunications research and consulting firm. For more information, visit www.strategisgroup.com.