Fiberoptics Industry Report

July 1, 2001
RHK predicts conservative telecom growth in 2002; Corning and Alcatel agree to share technologies; Solinet Systems raises a record $93 million...

RHK predicts conservative telecom growth in 2002
Forecast data released last month by telecom-market research firm RHK Inc. (South San Francisco, CA) projects a decline of 11% in the worldwide market for optical components used in terrestrial dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) and optical-networking applications in 2001 from spending levels recorded in 2000. The decline is a result of excess inventory, a slowdown in network build-outs, and reduced spending by telecommunications carriers worldwide. In the long term, RHK expects a return to growth in 2002, but at a more conservative rate than experienced in past years. "The dramatic fall-off in market revenues this year is the result of highly aggressive purchasing by system vendors last year," said John Lively, director of optical components at RHK.

Corning and Alcatel agree to share technologies
Fiber and component supplier Corning Incorporated (Corning, NY) and optical-networking manufacturer Alcatel (Paris, France) have signed a cross-licensing agreement that will enable access to each other's patented photonic-component technologies. Corning will supply a portion of Alcatel's dispersion-compensation module (DCM) requirements over the next three years and Corning's patented technology will enhance Alcatel's pre-existing DCM development efforts. In return, Corning will have access to Alcatel's patents for DWDM optical amplifier technology.

Solinet Systems raises a record $93 million
Solinet Systems (Ottawa, Ont., Canada), a startup originated by engineers from Nortel Networks, raised a record $93 million in its second round of funding. The company is planning to build next-generation, long-haul optical-networking equipment. Solinet will use the funding to expand operations, marketing, and customer service. The company promises a full suite of network and service management solutions that will enable carriers to configure wavelengths quickly and transport at 10- and 40-Gbit/s speeds.

DiCon opens new campus headquarters
DiCon Fiberoptics (Richmond, CA), a manufacturer of fiberoptic components, modules, and test instruments, announced the opening of its new corporate headquarters, also in Richmond. Built on the company's 28-acre campus in the Marina Bay district, the new facility will be the primary base of operations for core research, product development, sales, administration, and next-generation product manufacturing. It includes more than 201,000 sq. ft. of floor space.

Solectron acquires Cisco facility
Solectron Corp. (Milpitas, CA), a provider of electronics manufacturing and supply-chain management services, acquired the Cisco Systems (San Jose, CA) dense wavelength-division multiplex, demultiplex, and optical add-drop module manufacturing capabilities located in West Columbia, SC. As a result of the transaction, Solectron assumes full manufacturing, test, and certain new product introduction responsibility for Cisco's core DWDM modules for the next two years. Solectron will provide a full range of services to Cisco, consisting of optical assembly and test, which includes splicing and fiber handling, supply-base management, and in-warranty repair services.

Also in the news . . .
Global Crossing Ltd. (Hamilton, Bermuda) completed the final phase of its 25,000-km European backbone network with the connection of Madrid and Barcelona to its Spanish ring. . . . Fiberoptic-component supplier Oplink Communications (Ottawa, Ont. Canada) struck a deal with market leader JDS Uniphase (Toronto, Ont. Canada) to dismiss an infringement lawsuit on certain WDM patents between the two companies. . . . Ambitious fiberoptic-based data services carrier Zephion Networks (Falls Church, VA, formerly Domino Networks) closed down and laid off the bulk of its 350 employees—it was only six months old and had the backing of influential Kleiner Perkins Caukfield & Byers venture capitalists. . . . Indigo Photonics Ltd. (Birmingham, England), a specialist in optical-fiber grating technology, raised an initial £4 million (US $2.9 million) funding from venture-capital firm 3i (London, England).

John Grady

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