AOI Raises $28M More

Applied Optoelectronics Inc. (AOI) announced that it received $28 million in E-series funding Friday, a move that shows the market for PON/FTTx components is just as hot as ever.

AOI, based in Sugar Land, Texas, says the latest funding brings total capital raised to $68.9 million.

The company, founded in 1997, specializes in lasers and optical components for cable, telecom, datacom, and FTTx applications. The company manufactures transceivers for the 2.5-Gbit/s and sub-2.5-Gbit/s markets, as well as transmitter optical subassemblies (TOSAs) and passive optical networking (PON) equipment.

Over the years AOI has spent funds acquiring patents for tunable laser and external-cavity laser technologies. In January 2006, the company opened a new research and development center in San Jose, Calif. One month later, it announced a $10 million Series D funding. (See AOI Gets Tunable Laser Patents, AOI Acquires Laser Patent, and AOI Has New VP, R&D.)

In the past 18 months it has also announced a new series of coarse and dense wavelength-division multiplexing (CWDM/DWDM) lasers.

Perhaps the most enticing aspect for investors may be its PON/FTTx components business, which is in a market that is expected to grow rapidly as more carriers take fiber closer to customer premises.

According to Heavy Reading, the number of households connected to fiber will reach 86 million worldwide by 2011, up from over 11 million in 2006, a fact that probably isn't lost on AOI's investors. (See FTTH Hits Mainstream.)

AOI claims more than 200 customers in 24 countries and says it will use the funds to expand its production capacity and product development.

— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading

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