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Moto Finishes FTTN Fare

Phil Harvey
LR Cable News Analysis
Phil Harvey, US Bureau Chief
7/9/2009

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) has sold its Multi-Service Access Platform (MSAP), a fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) product line, to West Chester, Penn.-based Communications Test Design Inc. (CTDI) for an undisclosed sum. (See Moto Divests FTTN Portfolio.)

The sale is otherwise unremarkable except that it appears to put a final nail in the coffin of Next Level Communications, the startup upon whose technology Moto based the MSAP.

Motorola first got a controlling interest in Next Level Communications via its January 2000 purchase of set-top maker General Instrument Corp.

What followed was a turbulent relationship between an independent access company and a controlling parent. The two companies famously sparred for a while, much to the delight of journalists and the chagrin of shareholders who had bet on the FTTN market waaaay too early. (See Motorola Extends Next Level Offer, Moto's Next Level Offer to Expire, and Motorola Buys Rest of Next Level.)

In 2003, Motorola acquired the 26 percent of Next Level it didn't already own for about $34 million, and, just three years later, Moto shuttered the Next Level facility and consolidated its FTTx resources at the Massachusetts-based site of QuantumBridge Communications, another acquired fiber-access property. (See Moto Shuts Next Level Facility.)

Under Motorola, Next Level lost $385 million, according to BusinessWeek's 2003 profile of the faltering fiber concern.

But the business did have some real customers, and there is a real need to maintain those installed networks. That's where CTDI comes in. That firm has built an arsenal of discarded telecom access products by acquiring product lines from Zhone Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: ZHNE), Conklin Corp. , Verso Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: VRSO), and others: CTDI is to access equipment what Genband Inc. is to media gateways.

Motorola’s FTTN product line has been around since the late 1990s. Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), one of the Moto's marquee MSAP customers, discontinued a TV-over-DSL service powered by Moto's gear last year after the set-top box maker it used said its products would no longer support the aged MSAP product line. (See Qwest Tuning Out ChoiceTV.)

— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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paolo.franzoi
paolo.franzoi
12/5/2012 | 4:00:56 PM
re: Moto Finishes FTTN Fare


 


I am aware of the single employee that Motorola had focussing on this business.  Any idea if he ended up going to CTDI with it?


 


seven


 

DCITDave
DCITDave
12/5/2012 | 4:00:55 PM
re: Moto Finishes FTTN Fare


Moto's totally focused on GPON and FTTP now. CTDI didn't reply to our inquiries, but I imagine they're just going to sort of run the business as is and wring some cost out of it.


I imagine they could make some new sales in Tier 3 markets, but I'd be surprised if this was a growth area for them.

bollocks187
bollocks187
12/5/2012 | 4:00:49 PM
re: Moto Finishes FTTN Fare
BTW the same can be said of the Chicago Tellabs team in the 'access space'.
bollocks187
bollocks187
12/5/2012 | 4:00:49 PM
re: Moto Finishes FTTN Fare


Motorola acquisition of NLC was a complete disaster. While NLC had the opportunity to do well, it failed due in part to its outdated ATM technology. This is a test case of big company failure syndrome - a complete lack of vision and deterimination, furthermore Motorola intrinsically has NO idea about last mile technology or networking whatsover.


Buying from Moto in the service provider space equates with the same risk as buying from a small untested start up. The brand means nothing.


 


 

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