fiberoptics industry report

Agilent cuts 4000 jobs, opens Malaysia facility; Bandwidth9 suspends operations, seeks partners; Corning drops switch, blocker and 200 employees; MORE...

Agilent cuts 4000 jobs, opens Malaysia facility

Agilent Technologies (Palo Alto, CA) plans to cut an additional 4000 jobs, or 11% of its workforce, in the wake of first-quarter losses of $369 million. The company eliminated 2500 jobs in November and 8000 jobs in late 2001, and said uncertainty in the economy has continued to weaken demand for its products. At the same time, Agilent has gone ahead with plans to open two new facilities in Penang, Malaysia, including a research and development center, design and metrology labs, and manufacturing lines of Agilent's latest test and measurement instruments and semiconductor products.

Bandwidth9 suspends operations, seeks partners

Bandwidth9 (Fremont, CA), a privately held firm that makes VCSEL-based components for metro fiberoptic networks, has suspended its business operations while it seeks long-term opportunities to integrate its products with interested companies. The company was founded in 1997 and raised nearly $100 million from venture capital investors before the bottom fell out of the telecom equipment sector in late 2000. It has laid off most of its remaining workers (47 people) and plans to close a final assembly plant in Duluth, GA, according to a company spokeswoman.

Corning drops switch, blocker and 200 employees

Corning (Corning, NY) is again making good on its promise to reduce losses in its photonics business by narrowing product lines, reducing fixed costs, and cutting jobs and capacity. The company plans to discontinue commercialization of its wavelength switch and wavelength blocker product lines and to close its plant in Fountain Valley, CA. Nearly 200 employees will lose their jobs as a result of these actions.

India fiber boomed during market bust

Fiber deployment in India has surged over the past two years, according to a new KMI (Providence RI) report, Single-mode Optical Fiber & Cable in India. As fiberoptic cable demand began to tumble in North America and Europe in late 2000, India was experiencing a boom. For each of 13 major carriers in India, the KMI estimates deployment by route-km, fiber count, and fiber-km for both long-distance backbones and metro/access applications. KMI also estimates optical fiber and cable production for the three major suppliers in India and outlines their efforts to boost capacity over the past three years.

NP Photonics SBIR goes to Phase II

NP Photonics (Tucson, AZ) has won a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) worth $750,000 over the next two years. In Phase I of the MDA SBIR Program, NP Photonics developed a low-cost fiber drawing method using erbium-doped phosphate glass to produce the gain array, and built and tested the multimode-pumped, monolithic gain array. In Phase II, NP Photonics will continue investigating its concept and develop a verified prototype.

Also in the news . . .

NetTest (Copenhagen, Denmark) has announced a decision to spin off its Telecommunication Laboratory Products Division NetTest (Canada), to a management buy-out. Stéphane Attal, formerly general manager of the division, will head the new company, Navtel Communications (Markham, Ontario, Canada). . . . Corona Optical Systems (Lombard, IL) raised $7.5 million in its Series B round of funding and will use the funds to accelerate growth and expand sales of its optical transmitter and receiver modules. . . . Opto Speed (Rüschlikon, Switzerland) has established a U.S. sales office in Alviso, CA. . . .Codeon (Columbia, MD) and Quantum Photonics (Jessup, MD) have combined to become Covega (Jessup, MD) with $17 million in first-round financing. Codeon CEO Robert Harvey and Quantum Photonics CEO Dan Petrescu have been named Covega CEO and president, respectively. . . . Eblana Photonics (Dublin, Ireland) has secured a $4.5 million investment in a Series B fundraising, which brings the total funds raised by Eblana Photonics to $7.75 million. . . . Lightbit (Mountain View, CA) has announced its pure-optical processor chip technology intended to vastly reduce the system cost for handling multiple channels over optical fiber networks by processing multiple DWDM channels simultaneously, without requiring electronic conversion. . . . Teem Photonics (Grenoble, France) has raised (10 million (US$10.76 million) in third-round funding for a total investment of (47.4 million (US$51 million). The company plans to use the money to push development of its integrated active and passive product lines. Teem has also joined the Fiber-to-the-Home Council (Corning, NY).

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