PacketFront Gets $27M Deal, Eyes IPO

Broadband access equipment vendor PacketFront AB has landed a five-year, €23 million (US$27.4 million) deal from Danish utility SEAS-NVE for its FTTH hardware and software. (See PacketFront Wins Danish Deal.)

The contract, won in partnership with integrator Siemens Communications Group , is the latest in a string of fiber access network deals for the Swedish vendor, which has seen a significant increase in greenfield access network activity in the past year. "This is a perfect deal for us, giving us a multi-year solid revenue stream," says PacketFront CEO Martin Thunman. (See PacketFront Wins Norwegian IPTV, Paxio Does FTTH With PacketFront, Dutch Do FTTH With PacketFront, PacketFront Wins in Texas , Magnet Picks PacketFront, and Unknown Document 80044.)

Thunman predicts his firm, which beat out the likes of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) to the deal, will ship 250,000 FTTH ports in 2006, a significant increase on previous years -– the company only recently reached a total 150,000 ports. (See PacketFront Touts FTTH Success.)

That growth will take the VC-backed company towards an IPO: Thunman is considering taking the company public in 2007. (See PacketFront Bags Another €15M.)

So what are the Danes up to? In common with other European utilities and municipalities, such as Amsterdam and Paris, SEAS-NVE is building an open access network that can then be used by any service provider that buys wholesale capacity from the utility -- a model that's giving traditional telcos a poke in the ribs. (See Paris Plans FTTH Network and Amsterdam Fires Up Muni Broadband.)

PacketFront is providing its BECS management and provisioning system and ASR 4000 broadband routers, which will be supplied and deployed by Siemens Communications, which also designed the network for SEAS-NVE. (See PacketFront Launches BECS 3.)

Thunman says Siemens is "a great integrator, and it has a lot of experience with utility companies through its other divisions." But doesn't Siemens have its own FTTH hardware? Well, yes, courtesy of close Korean partner DASAN Zhone Solutions Inc. . But Thunman says Siemens' solutions group is focused on delivering what the customers want, rather than trying to force an in-house solution on potential customers: "It has a much more customer-friendly approach than typical integrators." (See Siemens Converges in Venice.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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