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CyOptics' FTTH chips pass the million mark

The InP optoelectronic chip foundry says that in 2006 it shipped more than one million laser and photodiode chips for fiber-to-the-home applications - a number that is set to grow rapidly.

CyOptics, the opto chip foundry based in Lehigh Valley, PA, shipped more than one million InP-based lasers and photodiodes for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployment in 2006.

The company says that use of the chips in gigabit passive optical networks (GPONs) is being driven by "explosive" demand from individual businesses and homes for these very-high-bandwidth connections.

The specific products made by CyOptics for the GPON applications include 1310 nm and 1490 nm distributed feedback (DFB) lasers, and avalanche photodiodes, all of which are used in optical line terminals (OLTs) and optical networking units (ONUs).

According to market analysts at Ovum-RHK, the rapid growth of this niche is set to continue: "GPON is the fastest-growing portion of the [wider] PON market now, and this rate will be sustained," said Karen Liu, research director for components at the firm.

"Ovum expects both ONU and OLT shipments [for GPON] to more than double each year through 2011."

Ali Abouzari, VP of sales at CyOptics, told compoundsemiconductor.net that the company has a stranglehold on the market for GPON laser and detector chips, with an estimated market share of over 90 percent currently.

He reckons that business from this particular application is worth more than $10 million to CyOptics annually.

CyOptics has enough capacity to meet current needs, but Abouzari adds that there is downward pressure on chip prices as the volumes continue to increase. "Average selling prices are falling significantly," he said.

Japan is the biggest existing market for FTTH deployments, and CyOptics says that the majority of its chip sales for the application are outside of North America currently.

However, with carriers in the US such as Verizon now beginning to implement their plans for widespread FTTH deployment, CyOptics is in an excellent position to capitalize on the emerging domestic market.

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