Vendors Eye Euro Ethernet Hotpot

Equipment vendors are discovering new revenue opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe (C&EE), especially as broadband penetration starts to ramp up in the region. (See Eastern Promise and Czech Out Ethernet's New Euro Hotspots.)

So say executives from Swedish optical specialist Transmode Systems AB and vendor giant Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) ahead of The Future of Carrier Ethernet: Eastern Europe 2007, a one-day event being held in Warsaw on November 27.

Jon Baldry, Transmode's technical marketing manager, says the C&EE region is an "important growth area" for his firm, which has generated much of its business in the Nordics, the U.K., and Ireland.

In the past 12 to 18 months Transmode has pushed further east, establishing a base and business in Germany, and using that as a platform to push into countries such as Serbia, Hungary, and Poland. (See Serbians Gear Up for Growth and Transmode Wins Hungary.)

"It's quite a sophisticated market -– it's very forward-looking, and there are substantial investments in telecom infrastructure," says Baldry, who notes that network operators and cable companies are upgrading SDH networks that are now full, as well as physically expanding their networks.

"There's a lot of Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel growth," says the Transmode man. "Everyone is talking about the need for lower cost GigE ports" to support broadband traffic, especially video, adds Baldry.

He says demand is coming from all sorts of players, from the national carriers, to cable operators, to large enterprises. "The incumbent operators aren't as big" as in Western Europe, making the prospect of winning business with a national operator a realistic goal for medium-sized specialist vendors such as Transmode, says Baldry.

While boosting a carrier's backbone and metro optical capacity is Transmode's proposition, AlcaLu is seeing a lot of demand for MPLS-based metro Ethernet networks, says Phil Tilley, VP of European marketing for the vendor's IP division. (See AlcaLu Revamps Its Carrier Business and AlcaLu Expands Alwan's Role.)

Tilley sees a trend towards the aggregation of residential and business data traffic on the same infrastructure, an approach that, for example, Poland's Netia Holdings SA has taken as the east European country's broadband and IPTV markets take off. (See Netia Uses Alcatel-Lucent for 10G, Netia Deploys Juniper B-RAS, and Poland's Dialog Tunes in to IPTV.)

Poland, Russia, the Ukraine, and the Czech Republic are key markets in the region where carriers are investing heavily as they migrate from TDM to packet-based networks, says Tilley, though he notes that the capacity demands are nowhere near the levels of Western Europe just yet. (See Mostelecom Picks Alcatel-Lucent, Golden Line Selects Alcatel Switch, Sakhtelecom Picks Alcatel NGN, and Ukrtelecom Deploys RAD Gear.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to The Future of Carrier Ethernet: Eastern Europe 2007, a conference focused on the evolution of Ethernet as the technology of choice for enabling next-gen services in telecom networks. To be staged in Warsaw, Poland, November 27, admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.

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