BALTIMORE, July 17 -- Blue Sky Research, a privately held developer and manufacturer of optical network components, announced at the National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (NFOEC) that testing of its programmable ITU laser is confirming design criteria, and exceeds the performance of other available tunable laser transmitters. Dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) networks are transforming the telecommunications industry, and tunable lasers are crucial to meeting the ever-increasing demand for broadband services, the company said. While single wavelength lasers are the conventional choice for laser transmitters, estimates by global industry market research and consulting firm, Ryan, Hankin, Kent (RHK) suggest that 80 percent of continuous wave sources will be tunable by the end of 2002. Furthermore, RHK estimates the market for laser transmitters will grow from $2 billion in 2000 to about $7 billion by 2004. "This is a sheer breakthrough," said Dan Hu, president and CEO of Blue Sky Research. "With the company's proprietary, all electro-optical tuning mechanism, Blue Sky Research has achieved building the ideal tunable laser, speed, power, bandwidth and size. I cheer for our engineering innovation, and am thankful that we no longer have to rely on earlier mechanical tuning elements or grating structures, like other companies." Blue Sky Research's own measurements confirm output power of at least 20 mW over a bandwidth of 40 nm, or the entire C-band of 1530-1570 nm. Switching speed is better than one millisecond, with the potential to be even quicker -- the electro-optical tuner itself is estimated to be capable of nanosecond switching -- with only the control circuitry limiting switching speed.