Lucent Signs Major Deal with France Telecom

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-09-18

Lucent Technologies announced on Monday that it has signed a major, multiyear contract with France Telecom to provide equipment for a 10-gigabit optical network that the company is building to supply its business customers with additional bandwidth.

According to Lucent, which is in the midst of major restructuring that has seen its manufacturing and management work force cut by more than half, the telecom carrier will use new Wavestar TDM 10G equipment developed by Bell Labs.

France Telecom has also agreed, Lucent officials said, to begin testing the companys new Wavestar LambdaRouter. The router, developed over 18 months by Bell Labs, uses microscopic mirrors to route traffic from fiber to fiber "without using electrical signals," the company reported.

"Lucents strength is in its ability to rapidly understand both the current and future requirements of our customers," Fran_ois Barrault, CEO of Lucent for Europe, the Middle East and Africa," said. He added that the system will allow for expansion as France Telecoms customers require more bandwidth.

A company spokeswoman said Lucent was not disclosing the value of the contract, but described it as "multimillion dollar" deal.

Lucent has acknowledged that management blunders under former CEO Richard McGinn caused it to fall behind competitors like Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks in the development and deployment of optical networking equipment.

The company reaffirmed recently that it will focus its sales efforts on major carriers, legacy telecom equipment and optical networking. Its in the process of selling a major optical manufacturing facility in Georgia in a deal that includes a contract for purchase of equipment from the facilitys new owners. The deal with France Telecom, one of the worlds major telecommunications conglomerates, is expected to help the company in its renewed effort to recapture market share in optical networking equipment sales overseas.

The Wavestar TDM 10G allows the transport of voice and data across a single wavelength of light, at speeds of 10-gigabits per second. It also gives the carrier a self-healing optical ring that automatically reroutes traffic if a fiber is cut.

The new optical technology will give France Telecom the capacity to carry 2 million, one-page e-mails per second, across a single strand of fiber.

The router being tested by France Telecom has the ability to move data 16 times faster than electrical switches, Lucent adds, enabling the transmission of billions of e-mails per second.

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