Update

SBC Communications (San Antonio, TX) defined a strategy to drive fiber deeper into its networks to power high-speed IP-based local connections. Pending "final clarity" on applicable regulatory requirements and successful completion of neighborhood-level trials that began this summer, SBC could invest $4 billion–$6 billion over five years to deploy the network. Saying that fiber to the premises (FTTP) costs are too steep for more than new network builds, such as developing subdivisions, SBC companies would use "fiber to the node" technology to run fiber to nodes that serve 300–500 homes. From the nodes to each home or small business, SBC companies would continue to use their existing network connections. The new strategy differs from Project Pronto in that the nodes would be closer to the end user—within 5,000 ft, as opposed to Pronto's 12,000 ft. As part of the initiative, SBC companies and Microsoft (Redmond, WA) plan to begin field trials for an IP-based television platform later this year.

CommScope (Hickory, NC) transferred all of its equity ownership interest in OFS BrightWave to Furukawa Electric (Tokyo) in exchange for 7,656,900 shares of CommScope common stock owned by Furukawa. CommScope intends to hold these shares as treasury stock. As a result of the transaction, CommScope no longer owns any equity interest in OFS BrightWave. In addition, CommScope and Furukawa have renewed their optical-fiber supply arrangement by entering into a new four-year supply agreement that expires in June 2008. CommScope will continue to have access to an array of optical fibers as well as a cross-license for key intellectual property.

Alcatel (Dallas) signed a multimillion-dollar contract to provide EATEL with a complete fiber to the premises (FTTP) network based on the vendor's Alcatel 7340 platform to deliver a full range of voice and data communications services in Louisiana. The FTTP deployment is Alcatel's second in Louisiana and first with an incumbent operator in the state. EATEL will deploy this network for all new construction developments. The carrier also plans to upgrade existing copper connections in its network to fiber over time.

Solstar (Edinburg, TX), provider of entertainment and communications services, chose Allied Telesyn (Bothell, WA) to help deliver triple-play services to 15,000 residential customers in southern Texas using an Ethernet-based fiber to the home network. Allied Telesyn's 9000 Series will provide the single-fiber access aggregation for the network. Allied also will provide its RG600 series residential gateway. In addition to access hardware and customer premises equipment, the company will provide professional services for integration of video middleware and set-top boxes, network integration support and testing, residential engineering resources, and project management services.

Palmetto Bluff, a 20,000-acre master-planned community in Bluffton, SC, created a "data on demand" telecommunications service using Ethernet passive-optical-network equipment from Alloptic (Livermore, CA). Hargray Communications Group, the local telecommunications service provider, will operate the service. Through the partnership with Hargray, residents of Palmetto Bluff will have access to bandwidth on demand from 256 kbits/sec to 1.5 Mbits/sec for intranet and Internet data usage as well as voice, video, and security features.

Nationwide, provider of diversified insurance and financial services to customers across the United States, built a core optical network at its Columbus, OH, headquarters based on the Cisco Systems (San Jose, CA) ONS 15454 multiservice transport platforms that will help the company more efficiently manage its current networking requirements and better prepare for future IT initiatives. Using this high-speed, high-bandwidth network, Nationwide has reduced costs associated with adding certain new network connections up to 75% from previous methods and reduced the time required from an average of 90 days to 14. Built using four Cisco ONS 15454s at each site, the network can scale to a total capacity of 320 Gbits/sec—32 fully protected channels each at 10 Gbits/sec—and is capable of supporting multiple services.

Digital Lightwave (Clearwater, FL) announced that Cisco Systems (San Jose, CA) selected the NIC Plus in support of next-generation network testing needs. Cisco has purchased Digital Lightwave products over a six-year span, most recently selecting the NIC Plus to fulfill T-carrier, SONET, SDH, OTN, ATM, and Ethernet testing requirements.

White Rock Networks (Richardson, TX) signed a supply agreement with Cox Communications (Atlanta) that calls for White Rock to deliver its VLX2020 SONET OC-48/192 transport platform to multiple Cox locations. Value of the agreement was not disclosed.

Vermont Telephone (Vtel—Springfield, VT), the largest independent telephone company in that state, chose the ECI Telecom (Petah Tikva, Israel) XDM metro and regional converged optical-network system for WDM, SONET, and Ethernet. The new equipment should allow VTel to reduce the number of systems deployed, decrease network complexity, and lower overall cost of network ownership while accelerating the introduction of new services. ECI Telecom also received a $16-million order from the Ukrainian State Telecommunication Enterprise for the XDM.

Fujitsu Network Communications (Richardson, TX) targeted the advanced packet-network market with a new network-based service delivery initiative. Fujitsu has partnered with Atrica (Santa Clara, CA) and CoSine Communications (Redwood City, CA) to create the Flexible Architecture for Subscriber Service Termination (FASST) portfolio. Initial offerings in the portfolio include optical Ethernet systems from Atrica and managed IP service and advanced subscriber management platforms from CoSine, combined with Fujitsu's existing optical-networking equipment. Applications supported by FASST include voice over IP, secure Internet access, transparent LAN service, Frame Relay/ATM services, videoconferencing, video on demand, broadcast video, SANs, and business continuity. Fujitsu also announced a reseller agreement with BTI Photonic Systems (Ottawa, Ontario) that the company expects will enhance the transport capabilities of the Flashwave 4500 multiservice core transport system and Flashwave 7500 WDM system. The addition of the BTI Netstender system to the Fujitsu Flashwave optical-networking portfolio will support longer network spans while enabling simple low-cost DWDM support for up to 32 wavelengths. Netstender combines multiplexing, amplification, signal conditioning, and performance-monitoring building blocks in an integrated platform. Fujitsu further announced that Bright House Networks has deployed the Flashwave 7500 for cable TV systems in and around Tampa Bay and Central Florida.

Gould Electronics (Eastlake, OH) sold its fiber optics unit to Applied Fiber (Albany, GA). Based in Millersville, MD, Gould Fiber Optics produces fiber-optic couplers with value-added assemblies. Terms of the transaction, which closed April 30, were not disclosed.

Mahi Networks (Petaluma, CA) closed $70 million in new funding, which enables the company to expand manufacturing and support operations for continuing deployments of its products. This funding brings the total capital raised by the company to more than $255 million. Participants in the round included Jerusalem Venture Partners, Meritech Capital Partners, Oak Investment Partners, Rho Ventures, St. Paul Venture Capital, Van Wagoner Capital Management, and Wasserstein Ventures. Mahi also acquired Photuris (Piscataway, NJ) and will market Photuris's V32000 optical distribution system as the Vx7 multiservice core transport system. Mahi also absorbed existing Photuris customer relationships.

Bookham Technology (Oxfordshire, UK) plans to change its corporate domicile to the United States. The change is to be effected by a UK court-approved scheme of arrangement, under which every 10 existing Bookham ordinary shares will be exchanged for one share of common stock in a newly incorporated Delaware corporation called Bookham Inc. Bookham expects the common stock of this corporation to be listed on the NASDAQ National Market. If approved, the change in domicile should be completed by Sept. 30. Meanwhile, the company also announced it has been selected by Sumitomo Electric Industries (Tokyo) to supply passive optical components for Sumitomo's fiber to the premises broadband systems.

ECI Telecom (Petah Tikva, Israel) will deploy fiber to the premises equipment as part of British Telecom's (BT—London) "21st Century Network" initiative. The trial is one of the first 21st Century Network initiatives that BT will deploy and will include 3,000 homes with active connections to 1,500 residential users and more than 100 business users. ECI and BT will go live with the trial in October with voice and data services carried over BT's existing digital exchanges. ECI will supply the Hi-FOCuS 4 platform developed by its Broadband Access Division.

Ibsen Photonics (Copenhagen), supplier of holographic phase masks, transmission diffraction gratings, and DWDM monitors based on diffraction gratings, received U.S. Patent #6,693,701, titled "Method and Apparatus for Diffractive Transfer of Grating Mask." This technology allows manufacturers to print submicron grating periods by further advancing the manufacturability provided by NFH technology, which involves replicating phase mask structures via a mask aligner.

Lumentis (Stockholm), provider of service-oriented optical transmission equipment, announced additional funding of $9 million in its third and final round, bringing the total funding of the company to $38 million. The London-based Chandaria Group and Swedish private equity firm Novalis are new investors. Lumentis also announced a five-year contract worth 40 million SEK with Swedish national carrier Teracom for the Lumentis xWDM and a deal with I.NET SpA of Italy for the same equipment.

Transmode Systems (Stockholm) and Song Networks, a pan-Nordic network operator and service provider, announced an agreement covering the supply of WDM systems to support Song's network optimization across all its territories. Under terms of the 18-month frame agreement, Transmode will supply its System 1100 C/DWDM platform for all new metro- and access-networking applications across each of Song's Nordic territories. Transmode has been granted the exclusive right to supply CWDM equipment to Song, and initial orders already have been issued.

ADVA Optical Networking (Martinsried, Germany, and Mahwah, NJ) and Siemens (Munich) announced that EVN, an Austrian utility and energy service provider, deployed a combination of ADVA Fiber Service Platforms (FSPs) to begin offering its customers Ethernet and storage services. Deployment of ADVA's FSP 3000, FSP 2000, and FSP 500 optical systems is a key step in EVN's transformation into a multiservice utility. Traditionally providing a range of utility-related services, EVN will now include affordable Ethernet services designed for businesses using bandwidth-intensive Internet and intranet applications as well as storage services.

China Cable and Communication (Beijing), a China-based cable TV company, will acquire from Beijing Zhongminjing Technology Development a two-core 34,800-km fiber-optic backbone network covering 410 cities across China. The backbone network covers all 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, and four centrally administrative municipalities. Completion of the acquisition, to be conducted in a number of phases through an arms-length commercial transaction, is subject to due diligence and third-party determination of the values upon which the purchase price will be based. The network is not yet equipped with a transmission and switching system.

Tokyo-based Hitachi and NEC will join forces in the business of backbone routers/switches for the carrier, government and public sector, and large-enterprise markets. The two companies will establish a joint-venture company in October that will be located in Tokyo with about 350 employees from both companies. It will have capital of around 5.5 billion yen. Hitachi will own 60% of the new company and NEC, 40%. The new company will supply products to Hitachi and NEC, and the two companies will market them to their individual clients. Hitachi and NEC will promote system integration offerings using the new company's products by combining servers with network equipment. The new company will also market its products through its business partners under the new company's own brand name.

Eudyna Devices (Yokohama), Mitsubishi Electric (Tokyo), Oki Electric Industry (Tokyo), Opnext (Eatontown, NJ), and Sumitomo Electric Industries (Tokyo) released common specifications for optical devices based on a 10-Gbit/sec Miniature Device Multisource Agreement (XMD-MSA). The specifications are intended for optical devices capable of transmission over 20 km or more. The XMD-MSA establishes compatible sources of 10-Gbit/sec transmitter/receiver optical-subassembly (TOSA/ROSA) devices embedded in the 10-Gbit/sec XFP MSA module.

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