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Is Fiber Glut Real?

Photonics Spectra
Sep 2001
Don't believe everything you read in the mainstream media, says TeleChoice: 'No widespread fiber glut exists.'

Despite the gloomy headlines about five-digit layoffs, billion-dollar losses and bankruptcies at photonics companies, TeleChoice and its top telecom client, Williams Communications, insist that a glut exists in only three US fiber routes: New York to Chicago, Denver to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to San Francisco.

TeleChoice data suggest that more than 63 percent of the fiber routes between major US cities are at or near capacity.

Glut-mongers, the companies say, are counting so-called dark fiber -- fiber that is in the ground but not yet attached to laser transmitters or receivers -- in their contrary reports. In addition, they say, capacity should always lead demand by 30 to 50 percent to avoid customer service issues, so overcapacity is not equivalent to glut.

This should be good news for photonics. But just two weeks after TeleChoice's press release, JDS Uniphase reported a $50.6 billion loss for this fiscal year, making it hard to ignore the possibility that somewhere, somehow, there must be the mother of all gluts.

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