Industry Update

North America

Nortel Networks Corp. (Brampton, Ontario) and ANTEC Corp. (Duluth, GA) have announced an agreement to realign their cable businesses to create a new company within the broadband cable access space. The new company will acquire Nortel's ownership interest in Arris Interactive (Suwanee, GA), developer of broadband cable access technology and solutions. Nortel will transfer to the new company its 81.25% interest in Arris Interactive in return for 33 million shares of common stock in the new company and $325 million, giving Nortel a 46.5% ownership interest. ANTEC, which will become a subsidiary of the new company, currently owns the remaining 18.75% of Arris Interactive. The new company will be called Arris Inc.

Carriers' carrier Fiberworks (Lawrenceville, GA) will team with Corning Inc. (Corning, NY) to light up 15 southeastern U.S. cities with citywide, all-optical broadband access and transport systems. Corning will provide in excess of 175,000 km of MetroCor fiber over the next three years to Fiberworks to complete this phase of its network deployment. In addition, Fiberworks has announced that it has received unanimous approval by the Georgia Public Service Commission for its competitive local-exchange carrier and other common-carrier licenses. These approvals allow Fiberworks to construct its previously announced IP-based, carrier-neutral metro-access network in Atlanta.

Time Warner Telecom Inc. (Littleton, CO) has signed a multiyear contract to purchase up to $100 million of optical-network equipment from Astral Point Communications Inc. (Chelmsford, MA), including the ON5000 Optical Services Node. Time Warner Telecom delivers high-bandwidth transport services in all of its 22 markets and will use Astral Point's ON5000 to provide managed capacity at speeds of OC-3 to OC-48, as well as next-generation products.

ADC (Minneapolis) has signed a three-year agreement to supply its complete range of hybrid fiber/coaxial network equipment and services to Everest Connection (St. Louis), a broadband cable network builder and alternative-services provider. ADC estimates the contract to be worth $300 million. Everest plans to build and operate broadband networks that bring digital video, telephony, and data services to customers in at least four U.S. markets, including Kansas City; Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN; and Tulsa, OK.

Anritsu Co. (Morgan Hill, CA) has announced a corporate restructuring, which has lead to the development of four internal companies, all operating independently of one another. The four companies are Measurement Solutions, Network Solutions, Industrial Solutions, and Info Solutions. The company expects the restructuring to result in accelerated product development and enhanced sales and marketing efficiency.

Corning Inc. (Corning, NY) will pay approximately $3.6 billion to acquire all of Pirelli S.p.A.'s (Milan, Italy) 90% interest in its optical components and devices business, which manufactures lithium niobate modulators, pump lasers, certain specialty fibers, and fiber gratings used in optical networks. The remaining 10% of the company is owned by Cisco Systems. Corning expects the acquisition to significantly strengthen its capabilities in the transmission segment of the optical layer.

Carrier-class photonic switching systems developer Calient (San Jose) will acquire micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) design and fab company, Kionix Inc. (Ithaca, NY). Kionix owns or has exclusive rights to nearly 80 patents and patent applications in advanced production processes and MEMS devices.

Broadband company ADC (Minneapolis) has completed its acquisition of Broadband Access Systems Inc. (BAS-Westborough, MA) for approximately 66 million shares. BAS provides ADC with a next-generation, carrier-class IP platform and a suite of network-management and subscriber-management software solutions.

Hybrid laser/microwave systems provider LightPointe Communications Inc. (San Diego) has acquired a Dresden, Germany, manufacturing facility from Teleconnect GmbH. Per the agreement, the Optical Products Div. of Teleconnect becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of LightPointe and assumes the name LightPointe Europe GmbH. The acquisition gives LightPointe more than 30 years of experience and patents in free-space optical- networking products and development.

The Schott Group (Mainz, Germany) is expanding its business activities in the data/telecommunications sector with a new startup company in the United States, Schott Communications Technologies Inc. (Southbridge, MA). In addition, Schott Communications Technologies is the lead investor in the German research and development company U.L.M. Photonics GmbH (Ulm, Germany). The two startups will work closely in the development of new products for optical data communication over distances between a few centimeters and several hundred meters.

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA-Arlington, VA) has published a new standard, Fiber Optic Test Procedure (FOTP)-123, "Measurement of Optical Fiber Ribbon Dimensions." FOTP-123 is intended to provide methods to measure or verify key optical fiber ribbon dimensional parameters. The procedure provides for comparison of a ribbon specimen to specified dimensional limits and is intended for application toward all ribbon designs, such as edge-bonded, encapsulated, and composite.

360networks (Vancouver, British Columbia) has unveiled an $80-million cable landing station in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that will serve as a major access point to its global fiber-optic network. The 25,000-sq-ft station houses network-switching equipment, office space, and three electrical generators with enough energy to power a small town. It will connect Canada to Europe and the United States via a 12,200-km undersea network. 360networks has also unveiled a $70-million cable landing station in Dublin, Ireland, that will connect Ireland to North America and Europe. A 5,600-km cable will link Dublin with Halifax and a second 240-km cable will connect Dublin and Liverpool, England. When the 360atlantic network enters commercial service next quarter, it will connect Dublin, Liverpool, Boston, and Halifax on a self-healing network ring.

INRANGE Technologies Corp. (Mount Laurel, NJ) has entered into an alliance with Tivoli Systems Inc. (Austin, TX), whereby INRANGE's IN-VSN family of storage-networking products will be used with Tivoli's enterprise-wide storage-management solutions, designed to provide customers comprehensive support in the information-intensive e-business environment. Per the initiative to offer true interoperability for storage-area-network deployments, INRANGE's IN-VSN FC/9000 Fibre Channel Director will be certified for use with Tivoli Storage Network Manager.

DigiLens Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA), supplier of polymer photonic solutions, has signed a technical licensing and materials development agreement with Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC-San Diego). The agreement will give DigiLens high-level access to SAIC's team of scientists and engineers working to develop the technologies for next-generation optical networks. Per the agreement, SAIC has increased its investment in DigiLens to more than 10%, making it the largest single shareholder.

Analog Devices Inc. (Norwood, MA) and Onix Microsystems (Richmond, CA) have announced a strategic partnership and co-development agreement to begin pre-production of Onix's all-optical MEMS switching engines. The initial effort will optimize existing Onix designs for manufacturability and reliability. In the long term, however, the companies will work together to develop switching products that will offer more integration, greater reliability, lower cost, and better functional performance.

US TechCenters (Atlanta) has entered into a strategic partnership with full-service fiber-infrastructure provider Fiber-works (Atlanta) to equip its US Tech Centers with direct fiber-optic access to the public telephone and Internet networks. Per the agreement, Fiberworks has committed to build, maintain, and manage the equipment collocation facilities' fiber access in nearly 30 southeastern U.S. cities, including Atlanta; Charlotte, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem, NC; Memphis and Nashville, TN; Jacksonville, Orlando, and West Palm Beach, FL; and Little Rock, AR. US TechCenters are standardized carrier-neutral facilities serving CLECs, IXCs, ISPs, ASPs, and others.

The network unit of Williams Communications Inc. (Tulsa, OK) has completed a $41.1-million agreement to sell fiber and services on its nationwide fiber-optic network to Dominion Telecom (Richmond, VA). Per the 20-year agreement, Dominion Telecom will utilize more than 6,000 fiber-mil between Cleveland and New York; Albany, NY, and Boston; Boston and New York; and New York and Washington, DC. Williams will also provide Dominion Telecom with fiber maintenance and collocation services for the length of the contract. The agreement also calls for Williams to be a preferred provider of off-network services that Dominion Telecom may need to expand its business.

ONI Systems Corp. (San Jose) has entered into a contract with metropolitan- area-network infrastructure provider, Sphera Optical Networks Inc. (New York). Sphera has received initial shipments of ONI's ONLINE transport platform for deployment into its New York and New Jersey networks. The ONLINE platform incorporates the OPTX operating system for wavelength and service management in optical networks and the OLMP optical-link management-protocol suite for internetworking between the optical transport and data or voice switching layers of the network.

Virtual-private-network (VPN) service provider Sonet Communications Inc. (Houston) has selected Dynarc's (Sunny vale, CA) auto-provisioning routers for its 10-city national rollout. The purchase is worth $1.2 million over the next 12 months. The Dynarc routers will provide a ready-to-deploy VPN solution with Internet Protocol quality of service, instant video, and channelization of services on demand.

Qwest Communications International Inc. (Denver) has signed a $24-million contract giving Pac-West Telecom Inc. (Stockton, CA) exclusive rights to an OC-48 optical transport ring. Qwest will also provide collocation services. Utilizing Qwest's Macro Capacity Fiber Network, Pac-West will be able to offer 2.4-Gbit/sec capacity on selected routes between central and southern California. In addition, Qwest has chosen Avici Systems Inc.'s (North Billerica, MA) Terabit Switch Router (TSR) for deployment in its next-generation, all-optical broadband Inter net Protocol network. The Avici TSR will be installed in four cities this year as part of a field trial expected to last several months. Upon successful completion of the trial, the TSR will be deployed in Qwest's production network.

LightPointe Communications Inc. (San Diego) has received $12 million in venture-capital funding from Sevin Rosen Funds, Ampersand Ventures, and Telecom Partners. The funding will be used to strengthen the company's manufacturing capabilities and marketing program as it seeks to broaden its market reach. LightPointe manufactures hybrid laser-optic/microwave systems that enable businesses in metropolitan areas to connect to fiber-optic networks.

Fiber-optic component company Novalux Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA) has closed a $109-million round of equity financing. This third round of financing was led by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Venture Partners and included funding from new investors Cisco Systems, Credit Suisse First Boston, Intel Capital, Lamoreaux Partners, MSD Capital, NorthEast Ventures, Salomon Smith Barney, Sternhill Partners, Telesoft Partners, and US Bancorp Piper Jaffray. The company will use the funds to expand manufacturing capacity for its new laser technology, the Novalux Extended-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser (NECSEL), and assemble independent design teams to develop other photonic products.

Optical integration services provider iPhotonics (Glen Burnie, MD) has closed a new equity funding round totaling $23.9 million, led by Bowman Capital, a Silicon Valley investment firm. Other investors include Abell Ventures, Cisco Systems, eMedia Club, Avansis Partners, and Weiss, Peck, & Greer Venture Partners. iPhotonics will use the funding to finance ongoing growth in revenues as well as fund the necessary infrastructure and working capital expansion expected through the company's business plan.

WaveSplitter Technologies Inc. (Fremont, CA), supplier of fiber-optic components for optical-amplifier and DWDM systems, has completed a $51-million equity financing round, led by Thomas Weisel Capital Partners. New investors included J & W Seligman & Co., Corvis Corp., NEC Corp., and Kalkhoven Pettit Levin Ventures LLC. WaveSplitter intends to use the funds to increase its manufacturing capacity, accelerate new-product releases, and expand its sales and customer support.

CyOptics Inc. (Burlington, MA), developer of optoelectronic transmission components for 40-Gbit/sec and ultra-long-haul transmission, has raised an additional $57 million in financing, bringing its total equity financing to more than $77 million. Cisco Systems led the round, which also included Corning Inc., Intel Capital, and Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. The financing will be used to fund product development and accelerate the expansion of the company's manufacturing facilities and customer-support infrastructure.

Multiservice optical-systems developer Maple Optical Systems, formerly Maple Networks (San Jose), has closed more than $50 million in its series B round of financing. Venture capitalists participating in the round include Amerindo Investment Advisors, Aurora Technology Fund, Technology Crossover Ventures, and McQuillan Ventures. Siemens AG also contributed, as did Raza Foundries, which initially invested $9 million. Private investment partnership Texas Pacific Group led the round, bringing the total raised by Maple Optical Systems to more than $60 million.

OnePath Networks (Princeton, NJ), provider of broadband optical-access systems for the residential market, has secured $40 million in its latest round of financing, led by first-time contributor Aurum-SBC Investments. Other investors included Patricof & Co. Ventures, Geneva Merchant Banking Partners, CIBC World Markets, Israel Seed, and Apax Partners. OnePath Networks will use this financing to speed the development and deployment of its optical access products and systems, including iPath, which delivers high-speed data, cable TV, and DBS entertainment over a single wire, and HomePath, a true passive optical network.

Reliant Energy (Houston) has made a $25-million equity investment in Grande Communications (San Marcos, TX). The investment will provide Grande the means to build out their broadband deep-fiber network and provide bundled services, including high-speed Internet, all-distance telephone, and advanced cable entertainment to homes and businesses. Construction of the network has begun in Austin and San Antonio, and it will serve all of the surrounding communities throughout the I-35 corridor.

Alcoa Fujikura Ltd. (AFL-Brentwood, TN) has acquired all of the assets relating to the fiber-optic product lines of Thomas & Betts Corp. (Memphis, TN). The sale includes splitters, couplers, cable assemblies, and fiber-management systems for OEMs and optical-systems suppliers marketed under the Aster brand name. The Aster business will become one of 25 Alcoa business units. AFL has also acquired AtPac (Salem, VA), a provider of engineer, furnish, and installation services to the telecommunications industry.

Astral Point Communications Inc. (Chelmsford, MA) has received a multimillion dollar, multiyear contract from Advanced TelCom Group Inc. (ATG-Santa Rosa, CA) for its ON5000 Optical Services Node, subject to completion of product testing. ATG is currently testing the ON5000 node and its ONset Optical Network Management System to validate the products' ability to support delivery of multiple network services and provide SONET-like protection over diverse transmission media. The ON5000 nodes could be used in several new metropolitan optical networks that ATG is developing for middle-sized markets.

LayerOne Inc. (Dallas) has announced an agreement with Telseon (Englewood, CO) that will extend Telseon's optical-networking services into every LayerOne NEXUS Optical Distribution Exchange. Telseon will initially offer its services in LayerOne Exchanges in Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and St. Louis, which are located in the premier carrier hotels in those markets; Telseon will also expand into additional LayerOne facilities as they become operational.

AT&T Corp. (New York) has selected NEC America Inc.'s (Herndon, VA) Spectral Wave 160 as its next-generation DWDM platform. The companies have signed a purchase agreement that enables AT&T to deploy the system in its network starting in the second quarter of 2001, subject to successful testing of the product. The SpectralWave uses L-band and C-band optical amplifiers to achieve high channel counts, up to 640 OC-48 channels. The SpectralWave will also enable AT&T to upgrade from OC-192 to OC-768 in a planned future release.

Europe

E-business and borderless broadband services company Global TeleSystems Inc. (GTS-London) has announced an agreement with ISP/telecommunications provider Tiscali S.p.A. (Tiscali, Italy) to provide Internet transit services across Europe. Per the agreement, Tiscali will use GTS's high-performance Ebone Internet backbone to expand its IP services throughout Europe and support the launch of the Tiscali pan-European portal. Tiscali operates a free ISP service to the Italian market and is currently expanding across Europe. The IP Transit and other GTS-related services will aid in that expansion.

Alcatel (Paris) has placed an order for 25 DWDM components from APA Optics Inc. (Blaine, MN), including the eight-channel and the 16-channel units. APA Optics provides a range of DWDM components, from singlemode multiplexer/demultiplexer units with eight to 56 channels to a mulitmode device with up to 16 channels.

Kymata Ltd. (Livingston, UK), designer and manufacturer of planar optical components and subsystems, has acquired Total Micro Products (TMP-Enschede, Netherlands) for an undisclosed amount. TMP is a MEMS facility providing design, fast-track prototyping, and manufacturing services. Its products, which include crossconnect and silicon optical-bench products and pressure and flow censors, will complement Kymata's existing family of planar optical devices.

GN Nettest (Copenhagen) has acquired Photonetics S.A. (Marly-le-Roi, France), supplier of instruments for measuring the performance of DWDM systems and components. The company will be amalgamated into GN Great Nordic, subsidiary of GN Nettest. In connection with the acquisition, GN Nettest's board has resolved to list the company through an IPO expected to take place in the first quarter of 2001.

ADVA Optical Networking (Munich, Germany and Ramsey, NJ) has acquired a research and development team of 42 engineers from Siemens Norway for a total of EUR 6 million. In conjunction with the acquisition, ADVA has founded a Norwegian subsidiary, ADVA Optical Networking AS. The telecom R&D engineers provide ADVA with SONET/SDH and ATM protocol knowledge, enhanced by their skill set in software management for network-element managers, says ADVA.

Startup Terahertz Photonics Ltd. (Livingston, UK) has secured backing of £3 million for device research and development and coatings manufacturing in its first round of funding, which was led by venture capitalists Scottish Equity Partners and ADD Partners. With its new funding in place, Terahertz now employs 15 people and will soon move from the Research Park of Heriot-Watt University, from which it spun off, to new premises in Rosebank Park in Livingston.

Yahoo! Europe, subsidiary of Yahoo! Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) has entered into an agreement with Gobal TeleSystems Inc. (GTS-London) for the use of GTS's pan-European Internet network and infrastructure. Yahoo! will be connected directly to the GTS Ebone IP network at 2.5 Gbits/sec. According to the company, Yahoo! will use the GTS network to scale its European traffic requirements and ensure effective and efficient management of content access resulting from the rapid increase in Internet usage across Europe.

South|Central America

Lucent Technologies Inc. (Murray Hill, NJ) has signed a $180-million contract with Eletronet (Ilha do Leite, Brazil), supplier of bandwidth for communications companies in Brazil, to supply optical-networking systems for Eletronet's backbone network. Covering 100 main cities and the majority of Brazil's population, the network will feature Lucent's WaveStar 400G, a DWDM system that expands network capacity by simultaneously transmitting multiple wavelengths of light across a single strand of fiber up to 400 Gbits/sec.

Marconi plc (Pittsburgh) will acquire the transmission business of Splice do Brasil (Votorantim, Brazil), manufacturer of telecommunications solutions, for cash considerations of $64 million and additional payments of up to $105 million over three years, subject to certain performance targets being met. The acquisition will enable Marconi to offer a complete range of transmission, access, and broadband-switching products and network-support services to the Latin American market through the consolidation of the Splice transmission business and Marconi's local presence.

Telecommunications and Internet service provider Operadora Protel S.A. de C.V. (Lomas de Chapultepec, Mexico) has announced plans to deploy a high-capacity optical-backbone network using systems from Ciena Corp.'s (Linthicum, MD) LightWorks product family. Protel will use Ciena's systems and network-management software to optimize its existing fiber-optic network to create new virtual networks and to better manage network availability and efficiency of its new service offerings.

Asia

SDL Inc. (San Jose) has entered into a supply agreement with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (Shenzhen, China) to supply 980-nm pump modules and arrayed-waveguide-grating modules for Huawei's DWDM systems. The contract, which runs through 2001, is expected to generate more than $20 million in revenue for SDL.

Korea Telecom (Kyonggi-do, South Korea) has selected Ciena Corp.'s MultiWave Metro for use across seven metropolitan fiber rings throughout Korea, including Seoul. Ciena's Metro gear will enable Korea Telecom to deliver to more customers a mix of services, including SONET and Gigabit Ethernet, by providing the necessary intelligent network capacity, performance monitoring, and optical-service protection.

Lucent Technologies (Murray Hill, NJ) has signed an $8.8-million contract with China's Fujian Mobile Communication Co. Ltd. to build three 10-Gbit backbone networks in the Fujian province. The network will utilize Lucent's optical solutions, including the WaveStar TDM 10G, an SDH system that uses a single laser to transmit information at a rate of 10 Gbits/sec. In addition, Lucent has signed a $14-million contract with China United Tele communications Corp. (China Unicom) to bu ild high-capacity networks in eight pro vinces of China. Lucent will provide China Unicom with its WaveStar ADM 16/1 optical multiplexer and its ITM/SC network-management software. Lucent will also provide complete services, including site survey, installation supervision, and testing.

Digitel Telecommunications Philippines Inc., the largest fixed-line operator in Luzon, the Philippines, has chosen Alcatel (Paris) as turnkey supplier to deploy its DWDM and SDH backbone network. Alcatel will supply, install, and commission its Optinex DWDM and SDH systems, which will enable the network to handle one million simultaneous multimedia connections, according to Alcatel. Per the agreement, Alcatel will also install fiber-optic cables running 1,600 km across Luzon.

More in Network Design