9 March 2022
EFFECT acquires Viasat’s coherent optical DSP & FEC business
At the Optical Fiber Communications conference (OFC 2022) in San Diego, CA, USA (6-10 March), EFFECT Photonics b.v. – a spin off from the Technical University of Eindhoven (TU/e) in The Netherlands that develops DWDM optical system-on-chip components using indium phosphide (InP)-based multi-channel photonic integrated circuits (PICs) for mobile networks and data-centers – announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire coherent optical digital signal processing (DSP) and forward-error correction (FEC) technology as well as a highly experienced engineering team from global communications company Viasat Inc of Carlsbad, CA, USA.
Viasat is a long-established player in DSP and FEC technology. With eight generations of design IP, it has a proven track record of delivering field deployments.
As a result of the acquisition, EFFECT Photonics will now own the entire coherent technology stack of all optical functions, including a high-performance tunable laser, together with DSP and FEC. The firm reckons that this will enable it to deliver on its aim to make high-performance coherent communications solutions widely accessible and affordable. Furthermore, it will enable longer-term economic and environmentally sustainable communications due to the ability to deliver high-end performance and reach within a small footprint and with lower power consumption, opening the way to drive coherent technology into new places.
The transaction is expected to provide the following customer benefits:
- EFFECT will be able to optimize the complete solution for any application addressing both existing challenges and new possibilities.
- With full ownership of the key optical, DSP and FEC functions, EFFECT can offer seamless integration, cost efficiency and security of supply.
- EFFECT will be an independent vendor able to offer a full portfolio of building blocks such as the tunable laser and DSP, and/or complete solutions, increasing the choice reduced by recent mergers and acquisitions in the industry.
EFFECT Photonics has also secured an additional $20m in Series C funding, bringing the total to $63m. Additionally, pursuant to the DSP acquisition agreement, Viasat will be joining EFFECT Photonics’ supervisory board and hold a minority interest in the firm.
“This is a significant step in accelerating our ambition to make coherent optical communications ubiquitous and further drive our product portfolio growth. We look forward to welcoming the team of highly skilled and experienced design architects and engineers who will be joining us to drive the development of energy-efficient, high-performance and affordable coherent solutions,” says CEO James Regan. “With all the recent changes in the industry landscape, this means that EFFECT Photonics is the only independent vendor able to deliver both the active optical components and the DSP. This will offer the market more choice and the ability to source superior solutions,” he adds.
“Given the trend of the fiber-optic communications industry towards consolidation to provide vertically integrated end-to-end solutions, we believe that combining Viasat’s assets and capabilities with the unique integrated photonics capabilities of EFFECT Photonics will create substantially more market opportunities and better products,” reckons Viasat VP & business area leader Russell Fuerst. “By investing in this Netherlands-headquartered company, we will also further expand our presence in Europe and be able to partner with EFFECT to bring state-of-the-art integrated photonics to Viasat’s own customers.”