Corvis lands a major deal

It will sell Williams equipment worth up to $200 million

Optical equipment

April 14, 2000|By Stacey Hirsh | Stacey Hirsh,SUN STAFF

Williams Communications Inc., a wholesale provider of voice, video and data products and services, said yesterday that it will buy up to $200 million worth of equipment from Columbia-based Corvis Corp.

"This is huge news for the company," said Mike Gordon, managing director of Meritech Capital Partners of Menlo Park, Calif., one of Corvis' lead investors.

The equipment, to be purchased over the next two years, will be used in Williams Communications' 33,000- mile nationwide network that will carry voice, video and data services.

The network, expected to be complete by the end of the year, will cost more than $5 billion.

Gordon said the purchase is one of the largest contracts ever to be awarded for pure optical equipment.

"What it reflects is the fact that Corvis is the first to market with an all-optical, long-haul transport and routing solution, and the first company to be able to commit to volume," Gordon said.

Glenn Falcao, executive vice president of Corvis, said the purchase, coupled with another recent purchase by Broadwing Inc., reinforces the direction of Corvis.

"It's a very important milestone for the company," he said.

About two weeks ago, Broadwing purchased an optical networking system from Corvis for an undisclosed amount, Falcao said. "To be endorsed by these two types of companies is quite an endorsement for us," he said.

Gordon anticipates that it may be just the beginning.

"This is the first of what we expect will be multiple large, comparable-sized orders for Corvis," Gordon said.

Jason Martin, director of technology for Williams Communications, said that using Corvis equipment will allow the company to deliver faster service to its customers at a lower cost.

Corvis will provide Williams Communications with optical routers and amplifiers, and the software that manages those devices, Martin said.

"What Corvis allows us to do is actually transmit the voice, video and data over those fiber-optic lines we've been putting in the ground less expensively than in the past," Martin said.

Purchase of the equipment is pending a field trial of the Corvis products on a network route from Dallas to New York, Martin said.

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