While the switching sector is "very crowded", analyst Yankee Group forecasts that the picture will soon be clearer in its report Enterprise LAN Switching: Who is Number Two? "In the switching vendor landscape in three to five years, consolidation will leave some clear number two players after the dominant Cisco," the report says.

Foundry Networks will be the switching alternative for companies seeking a best-of-breed, high-end infrastructure, while Nortel Networks is the only vendor other than Cisco that can provide a complete solution for small businesses through large enterprises. 3Com will continue to dominate the SME space.

Over 100,000 visitors attended the Telecom Israel 2002 expo in Tel Aviv last month. Amir Tamari, CEO of the Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Center, said there were 2,000 attendees from abroad, 17 national delegations and 23 business delegations.

Equant is to provide Swedish automotive component supplier Trelleborg AB with a customised IP VPN solution under a three-year EUR4.8m contract. Equant's IP VPN, based on MPLS technology, will connect all 15,500 Trelleborg employees at 90 sites in 40 countries.

360networks, a Toronto-based provider of wholesale and data telecommunications services, will acquire Vancouver's Group Telecom, Canada's largest independent, facilities-based telecom provider. 360networks recently completed lighting its intercity fibre networks in North America, connecting 48 major cities in the US and Canada. Group Telecom offers a suite of voice and data telecom services across 17 metro fibre networks in Canada.

FiberNet Telecom Group, New York City has announced an agreement with BT North America to provide co-location services in New York City. FiberNet operates carrier hotels and has lit multiple strands of fibre on a redundant and diversely routed SONET ring and IP architecture throughout NYC.

OFS, developer of fibre-optic products, says that its Specialty Photonics Division has posted leading fibre-optic engineer, Dong Hui Wang, to Beijing, China from its Broendby, Denmark, facility.

The newly-formed post reinforces OFS' commitment to the growing telecommunications market in China. Wang will be the local point of contact and technical expertise for Chinese purchasers of fibre-optic products from OFS's Specialty Photonics Division.

The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) has established a cooperative relationship with the International Telecommunications Union to ease implementation of metro Ethernet standards. At its recent meeting in Seattle, the MEF set a goal of delivering metro Ethernet Services specifications by mid-2003. Participants considered four key areas: services, protocol and transport, management, and architecture.

Paris-based LDCom Networks has selected Cisco Metro Ethernet Switching to deliver connectivity services to both businesses and service providers across France. LDCom aims to provide an alternative to France Telecom and currently services 50,000 enterprise clients, 820,000 residential customers, 2,000 hosting clients and 200 telecoms clients.

European consumer and business broadband adoption is increasing. A new Yankee Group report, Beyond Self-Install: Can Online Customer Care Drive Broadband Loyalty, identifies price as the reason for this rapid take-up of broadband access. "Operators must find ways to reduce costs and cope with provisioning requirements."

UK Government advisory group Broadband Stakeholder Group says telcos must share the same physical infrastructure to extend broadband coverage across the UK. Chairman Keith Todd says the UK needs a "civil utility infrastructure", whereby local authorities or private sector organisations construct nationwide, high-capacity fibre networks.

Amsterdam-based operator KPN has reached agreement with the receivers on the purchase of the KPNQwest network in Belgium. This includes a 500km fibre network over the routes Brussels–Rotterdam and Brussels –Lille. Earlier this year KPN took over the Dutch, German and UK part of the KPNQwest network and acquired capacity on a transatlantic link.

A Call for Papers for NFOEC 2003 has been posted on to www.nfoec.com, which gives submittal guidelines. The organiser comments, "Submit your paper before the deadline!"

Telecom Italia has deployed Munich-based Adva Optical Networking's Fiber Service Platform (FSP) 3000 to develop the metro-network infrastructure in several Italian cities. Telecom Italia has deployed the hardware as well as Siemens' Telecommunication Network Management System software in an eight-node ring network in Rome.

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