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  1. Technology
November 24, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Bookham Technology, the UK manufacturer of chips for use in fiber optic networking equipment, has received investment of $10m from Intel Corp, building on the similar sized investment made by Cisco Systems Inc last month. The company, which has its own UK manufacturing facility with an annual production capacity of 0.5m active silicon optical circuits (ASOC), will sink the funds into designing new products. The company’s ASOCs set out to provide cheaper components for fiber optic equipment by combining micro optics with CMOS production. The company’s next range of ASOCs, which currently range from integrated circuits for use in metropolitan dense wave divisional multiplexing equipment through to fiber in the home products, will come out just after the new year. Bookham manufactures four inch wafers, but plans to move up to six or eight inch wafers in the longer term, as demand for its products from customers, which mainly number telecommunications equipment manufacturers, increases, a spokeswoman said. The decision to manufacture 4 inch wafers enabled the company to get off the ground relatively cheaply and, the spokesperson claimed, remains a viable means of production, especially as the plant still does not run at full capacity. Cisco and Intel are not the first large North American companies to have taken an interest in Bookham. Newbridge Networks took an approximately 7% stake in the company and had a development contract with the UK company, which recently resulted in products coming to market. The company, which was formed in 1989, initially grew out of CEO Andrew Rickman’s Phd project and has 150 employees.

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