Industry Update

Corning Inc. (Corning, NY), W.L. Gore & Associates (Newark, DE) and Siecor (Hickory, NC) announced further test results on cabled Corning next-generation prototype multimode fiber. Successful demonstration of serial transmission at both 1 Gbit/sec and 10 Gbits/sec was achieved with Corning multimode fiber using Gore's high-speed 850-nm vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) technology. The fiber is best suited for high-speed transmission at Gigabit Ethernet speeds or higher and is a prototype 50-micron InfiniCor fiber optimized for 850-nm operation. The fiber transmitted 2,000 meters at Gigabit Ethernet speeds and maintained error-free transmissions at 10 Gbits/sec for 500 meters. The fiber was cabled by Siecor and multiple connectors were used in each experiment. The 850-nm VSCEL was coupled to the fiber and the output pulses, converted into electrical pulses, displayed the bit pattern on the oscilloscope in the form of an eye-diagram that illustrated a very clear, well open-eye for both 1-Gbit/sec and 10-Gbit/sec modulation.

AXSUN Technologies (Billerica, MA), a manufacturer of photonic subsystems, announced completion of a $36-million series B round of financing. AXSUN plans to use the funding to rapidly build-out its manufacturing facility and expand production capacity. Bowman Capital Management led this latest round of financing. AXSUN's products are designed to improve the performance of wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) infrastructure.

NEESCom (Westborough, MA), the telecommunications subsidiary of New England Electric System (NEES-Westborough, MA), is extending its 500-mi MetroWest fiber-optic network to connect business customers in Marlborough, Northborough, Southborough, and Westborough, MA. The new network will enable telecommunications carriers to competitively provide high-speed, high- capacity optical-transmission capabilities for telephony, data retrieval, Internet access, and enhanced business applications. NEEScom is part of New England Electric System, a $2.3-billion public-utility holding company being purchased by National Grid Group plc (Coventry, UK).

SOSINC Communications (Sioux City, IA) and its subsidiary, Sositel Inc. completed phase one of their toll-quality voice-over-Internet-protocol network targeting the wholesale and carrier markets. Completion of the Sositel national network, constructed through alliances with several large carriers, including Global Crossing Ltd. (Hamilton, Bermuda) and AT&T (New York City), is planned for the second quarter of 2000.

Alcatel (Paris) landed a contract with VPS Communications Inc. (Richmond, VA) for its long-haul dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) optical networking solution, the Optinex 1640 optical add/drop multiplexer (OADM). Additionally, VPS will have a migration path to future OC-192 (10-Gbit/sec) upgrades. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

MCI WorldCom (Jackson, MS) completed live commercial trials of next-generation optical-networking equipment from Nortel Networks (Brampton, ON). In the trial, MCI WorldCom successfully carried a terabit of traffic per second on a single strand of fiber. The late-December trial was staged carrying live Internet, voice, and data traffic on the MCI WorldCom existing network span linking Dallas and Longview, TX, using Nortel's OPTera LH backbone system and the OPTera 1600G optical-amplification system.

Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. (Richardson, TX) was selected by Nuevo Grupo Iusacell S.A. de C.V. (Mexico City) to provide Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) optical-transmission equipment for a long-distance network connecting Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey in Mexico. The equipment will become part of an optical-fiber route that extends 3,000 km to the U.S. border. The contract is valued at $3.8 million and includes Fujitsu's SDH add/drop terminal multiplexers, OADMs, and WDM system. Fujitsu also began work on a new research laboratory in Richardson, TX, that mirrors its Japanese facility. The Photonics Networking Laboratory will research into advanced optical areas, including high-speed WDM, OADM technology, optical switching, and passive-optical-network technologies.

Williams Communications (Tulsa, OK) netted several multimillion-dollar transactions for capacity on its national fiber-optic network. Teleglobe Inc. (Montreal) purchased fiber capacity on 14,000 route-mi and ongoing network services in a 20-year agreement valued at $200 million. The fiber will connect Teleglobe to 30 key markets across the United States. Williams signed a $220-million, 20-year agreement to be the core provider of a national Internet content network for Axient Communications Inc. (Phoenix). Under the deal, Williams will provide and manage dedicated capacity on its network to link Axient to more than 100 locations throughout the United States. A $182-million deal was struck with Inc. (Phoenix) for network capacity and services to provide with a national U.S. footprint for providing data-centric services to businesses and institutions.

Cielo Communications (Broomfield, CO), a provider of gigabit-per-second interconnect solutions for the high-speed networking industry, announced venture financing totaling $37 million. The round of financing will allow Cielo to accelerate its product roadmap, increase VCSEL production, and finance revenue growth. The company expects to announce its first products this year.

Worldwide Fiber Inc. (Vancouver, BC) entered into an agreement with CapRock Communications Corp. (Dallas) to co-develop approximately 1,300 mi of long-haul multiconduit fiber-optic backbone network through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The projected budget for the development is in excess of $100 million. Under the terms of the agreement, WFI will lay fiber west of El Paso, TX, through Tucson and into Phoenix, AZ, while CapRock will construct a fiber route from El Paso, east through Temple, and to Austin, TX. Each company will own one conduit and will jointly own those remaining in the multiconduit segment. The project is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2000.

Kestrel Solutions (Mountain View, CA), an optical-networking company, acquired Communications Products Inc. (CPI-Los Gatos, CA), a telecommunications and engineering firm. CPI has a 20-year history of creating voice, data, and video solutions for multiple protocols and media for clients such as Pacific Bell. Kestrel also announced a fourth round of financing totaling more than $100 million. The new funding will be used to accelerate the expansion of its product portfolio and commercial production.

Enron Broadband Services (Houston), formerly Enron Communications Inc. penned an agreement with Sycamore Networks (Tewksbury, MA) to use Sycamore's switching and transport products in the construction of new long-haul and metropolitan-area routes on the Enron Intelligent Network. The three-year contract has a potential value up to $200 million. Enron may also deploy Sycamore's SILVX optical-network management system.

Scientific-Atlanta (Atlanta) announced that its Prisma digital-transport fiber-optic system was installed and activated in two networks at Comcast of Connecticut, enabling the delivery of digital interactive services and other traffic over long distances. Comcast installed the platform it its Middletown and New Haven systems as the centerpiece of upgraded networks in those cities. Scientific-Atlanta also announced multifaceted agreements with Charter Communications (St. Louis) to supply equipment and set-tops. The agreements, which add to prior orders from Charter, include commitments for 20,000 mi of plant upgrades, introduction of innovative new optical products, and purchases of 126,000 Explorer 2000 and Explorer 3000 digital set-tops during the first half of 2000.

GST Telecommunications Inc. (Vancouver, WA) sold its U.S. mainland consumer Internet customer base and other select assets to Inc. (Phoenix). Under terms of the agreement, GST will sell its mainland consumer Internet operations to for $5.1 million in cash, plus common stock valued at approximately $900,000. Clear also agreed to purchase $25 million in network services from GST in the five years following the sale. GST also sold 2.1 million shares of Global Light Telecommunications Inc. common stock for approximately $30 million. GST continues to hold 1.5 million shares of Global's common stock.

Viatel Inc. (New York City) increased its ownership in Sonic Telecom Ltd. (Chantilly, VA), an on-demand provider of access, transport, and termination for transmission of video, data, and voice that uses Viatel's Circe Pan-European Network as its platform. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Viatel is building an 8,700-route-km cross-border European network that will serve more than 40 cities.

Alcoa Fujikura Ltd. (AFL-Brentwood, TN) acquired Noyes Fiber Systems (Belmont, NH) in a deal that combines two strong fiber-optic equipment manufacturers. In North America, AFL supplies fusion splicers and can now add test and measurement equipment to its customer base as a single package. Noyes manufactures optical power meters, light sources, loss/return test sets, fiber-certification kits, mini-optical time-domain reflectometers, fiber-inspection scopes, fiber-optic talk sets, variable-optical attenuators, and visible fault and fiber-optic identifiers.

Lightwave Microsystems Corp. (San Jose, CA), an integrated optical-component supplier, secured a fourth round of financing totaling $48 million. The round was led by Chase H&Q, a division of Chase Securities Inc. The capital is targeted from manufacturing expansion and the acceleration of new-product development. This round adds to the $36-million Lightwave Microsystems has raised in previous rounds, bringing the total investment to $84 million.

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA-Arlington, VA) published a new Telecommunications Systems Bulletin (TSB) entitled, "Guideline for the Statistical Specification of Polarization Mode Dispersion (PMD) on Optical Fiber Cables," TSB-107. The document provides information on the statistical nature of PMD, why it is necessary to use statistical specification/characterization methods, how to calculate the parameters, and implications for system functionality.

Wavetek Wandel Goltermann (WWG-Research Triangle Park, NC) announced a five-year global-purchase agreement with Teleglobe (Reston, VA). Under terms of the agreement, WWG will supply Teleglobe with ANT-20 Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) and SDH optical-network testers for the latter's GlobeSystem Network.

The GTE Network Services division of GTE Corp. (Dallas) selected Nortel Networks (Brampton, ON) as its primary supplier for optical-metropolitan solutions following successful product testing. Nortel's OPTera Metro will be used to expand GTE's optical network and offer advanced optical services to enterprises in major metropolitan centers in Washington, California, Virginia, and Florida.

The former SONET Interoperability Forum, an industry group sponsored by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS-Washington, DC), is altering the scope of work in an effort to concentrate on issues surrounding multitechnology and transport-technology integration, including IP-over-SONET, ATM-over-SONET, and ATM-over-optical networks. The group is also changing its name to the Network and Service Integration Forum (NSIF).

Qwest Communications International Inc. (Denver) completed a 1,000-mi expansion of its high-speed broadband Internet network. The company's overall North American network now stretches more than 25,500 mi. The new route expansion, a result of an exchange of fiber-optic capacity with another carrier, extends from Denver to Dallas.

Viatel Inc. (New York City) entered the European competitive local-exchange carrier business through a combination of self-constructed and swapped metropolitan fiber-optic networks. The metropolitan local loop assets include infrastructure in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Dusseldorf, as well as throughout the New York metropolitan area. Viatel can now link its pan-European, North American, and transatlantic broadband networks into a single integrated network.

First Fibre Ltd. (York, England) received a contract to supply network-terminating equipment (NTE) for BT plc's (London) short-haul data services. BT's high-speed data services interconnect local-area networks up to 25 km apart. Under the three-year contract, First Fibre will supply its CityLIGHT access system as a common NTE. The initial contract includes 10/100-Mbit/sec Ethernet/Fast Ethernet, token ring, and Asynchronous Transfer Mode protocols running at OC-3 (155-Mbit/sec) and OC-12 (622-Mbit/sec) speeds.

Global Crossing Ltd. (Hamilton, Bermuda) will purchase Ciena Corp.'s (Linthicum, MD) MultiWave Sentry intelligent optical transport solution for the expansion of its U.K. network. The deal is under a pre-existing contract between Ciena and Racal Telecom (Reading, UK), acquired by Global Crossing last November. Global Crossing plans to accelerate the availability of high-speed data services and rapid provisioning to corporate customers. Ciena also announced a contract to supply its LightWorks suite of intelligent optical solutions to Esat Telecom (Dublin) for deployment in Esat's network spans connecting Ireland to the United Kingdom.

Nortel Networks (Brampton, ON) and Nortel DASA (Frankfurt, Germany) have been selected as the solutions integrator for EINSTEINet, Germany's first facilities-based application service provider. Nortel DASA is a joint venture between Nortel Networks and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace. The Nortel Networks solution will provide high-speed Internet access, optical Internet, Internet data-center infrastructure, and application software and service capabilities. The deal is expected to be worth $200 million over three years. EINSTEINet plans to provide high-performance application software services to small and medium-sized businesses over its secure network.

Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. (Richardson, TX) and Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe Ltd. (Birmingham, UK) will jointly open a $48-million engineering center for advanced communications technology products. The center will be located in Belfast and employ 400 engineers over the next four years. The expansion incorporates the existing software operation in Belfast, Fujitsu Telecommunications Software (Ireland), that began in early 1999.

Global TeleSystems Ltd. (GTS-London) announced that its European fiber-optic network now extends to Bilbao, Spain. GTS now offers borderless broadband services over its own fiber-optic facilities to 30 European cities over a 17,000-route-km network. With the addition of Bilbao to existing Spanish PoPs in Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia, GTS can offer seamless broadband services between Spain and the rest of Europe.

Teleglobe Inc. (Montreal) activated the European ring of its GlobeSystem network, linking 15 European cities to its global-broadband network. The European ring delivers capacity sold at wavelength (2.5 Gbits/sec and 10 Gbits/sec) and multiple STM-1 (155-Mbit/sec) levels. Among the initial buyers is Williams Communications Inc. (Tulsa, OK), which signed on for $24 million of wavelength capacity and network services.

Golden Telecom Inc. (Moscow) acquired STM-16 (2.5-Gbit/sec) capacity from Moscow to Stockholm from Sonera Corp. (Helsinki, Finland) through a multimillion-dollar lease agreement. Sonera's Russian subsidiary has a fiber network from Finland to Moscow using utility rights-of-way. Golden Telecom will use the capacity to connect directly to the Global TeleSystems Inc. (Washington, DC) network in Stockholm, providing broadband Internet and data access in Europe and the United States. Initially, Golden Telecom plans to activate the equivalent of an STM-1 and will upgrade to STM-4 (622 Mbits/sec) and, when required, to STM-16.

Net Uno, an Internet and competitive service provider in Venezuela, selected Tellabs' (Lisle, IL) integrated solution to expand its market coverage and further develop service offerings in Venezuela. The agreement also enables Net Uno's cable-TV affiliate, CableTel, to offer bundled telephony and Internet over HFC networks to residential customers in major markets. The contract, valued at $18 million, includes Tellabs' FOCUS SDH equipment, MartisDXX SDH managed-access platform, CABLESPAN 2300 Universal Telephony Distribution System, and network planning and installation.

Impsat Corp. (Buenos Aires), owned by the Pescarmona Group, plans to invest $20 million in Chile during 2000. The capital will be invested by Impsat Fiber Network to start Impsat Chile to provide telecommunications, data transmission, long-distance telephone service, and Internet services in the country. Impsat will set up a fiber-optic cable network between the border with Argentina and the Pacific Ocean and build a teleport in Santiago.

ANDA Networks (Santa Clara, CA) entered the Chinese telecommunications market through an original equipment manufacturing (OEM) agreement with Wuhan Snow City Communications Ltd. (WSSC-Wuhan, China), part of Snow City Science and Technology Ventures, a long-standing supplier to China Telecom (Beijing) and Great Dragon Telecommunications Ltd. (Beijing). Under the agreement, WSSC will locally modify ANDA Networks' V5.2 interfaces and STM-1/OC-3 optical-interface cards for implementation in the Chinese market. The two companies anticipate local manufacturing and assembly in the People's Republic of China to follow later this year. ANDA also announced it would form a joint-venture company, Armitel-ANDA Networks Co. Ltd. with Armitel (Sungnam City, Korea), a Korean systems manufacturer and integrator. The new entity will address the $100-million-plus annual in country spending on integrated voice- and data-access solutions.

Shanghai Bell (Foshon, China) and the MPT Design Institute of China will deploy Laser Link optical transmitters and receivers from ANTEC Corp. (Duluth, GA). The order marks Shanghai Bell's entry as a turnkey cable-TV provider for voice, video, and data services. ANTEC specializes in the manufacturing, materials management, and distribution of products for HFC broadband networks.

Corning Inc. (Corning, NY) formed a new equity-venture company with Samsung Electronics (Seoul) to mass-produce micro-optic products used to expand the capacity of the Internet. The new company, Samsung Corning Micro-Optics, will manufacture DWDM packaged components using robotics and other automation developed by Samsung, benefiting capacity, reproducibility, unit cost, and reduced cycle time.

Cabletron Systems (Rochester, NH) was selected to provide a Gigabit Ethernet solution to KOC University (Istanbul), Turkey's most prestigious academic center. Along with the university's networking requirements, Cabletron will also provide computer-based training and VOD programs for more than 1,200 students. KOC University chose Cabletron to build an Internet technology environment for improved communications for enhanced education techniques. Cabletron will deploy its SSR8600 backbone routers, SmartSwitch 6000s for local distribution, and SmartSwitch 2200s for desktop/user access.

More in DWDM & ROADM