Long-haul optical revenue accounted for 51% of the total optical market in 2001, says a recent study by Probe Research, Cedar Knolls, N.J. Yet this niche saw its numbers fall by over 50% in 2002. Minor improvements are expected by 2004, but even then the totals will fall short of 2001's revenues. This lack of significant growth will continue possibly until 2007.
A number of events have triggered long haul's stagnation and decline. Unrealistic traffic projections prompted network overbuilds. Several of the largest carriers declared bankruptcy. Other carriers are wrestling with continued financial instability. Subsequent carrier consolidation, excess availability of assets, the demise of several optical startups, and consolidation among optical networking equipment vendors have contributed to the area's poor performance as well. Investors no longer trust telecom service providers and equipment vendors. And, carriers have been unable to offer profitable new data services.
"Up until the last year, optical technology development centered on providing extended reach and higher throughput, all driven by burgeoning IP traffic," says Maria Zeppetella, Probe's optical infrastructure vice president. "However, service providers have now come to face the more realistic average growth rates of 100% annually for IP (Internet protocol) traffic."
For details, go to www.proberesearch.com.