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A chip off the old stock

Sun, 04/01/2001 - 8:00pm
Anne Kerven

It's kind of like when someone wins the Powerball, and it's not you.

Despite daily, nearly hourly, reports of warnings, lowered expectations and layoffs, San Jose upstart Pacific Broadband Communications landed $50 million in Series B financing from some of the industry's top names. The funding will be used to take the company's product to market.

The fund builds on $10 million in seed money in September 1999 that funded R&D and helped grow the company from four employees to today's 160.

The company credits its ability to draw the backing to a good engineering team, great technology and the efforts of key people in the company, including its CFO and its VP of Business Development Jay Rolls.

"Without those, we couldn't have done it," Rolls told CEDaily. "On the CMTS side, what you have today is a bunch of players out there and 100 percent are using off-the-shelf silicon for (fundamental layers one and two)," Rolls said. "Its the same chip set from a third party. We're doing our own silicon … in house."

A developer of standards-based broadband solutions for integrated data, telephony and video over last-mile networks, Pacific has some pretty powerful backing.

On its board are industry veterans Alex Best and Tony Werner. It's "hard to put an objective number as to how that helped, but it didn't hurt," Rolls said.

On its list of investors are Bowman Capital, which led the round; Cox Communications; Juniper Networks Inc.; Scientific-Atlanta; Vulcan Ventures Inc.; Pilot House Ventures LLC; Raza Foundries; and YAS Broadband Ventures LLC.

YAS Broadband's founder is a consultant to CableLabs, but has no voting interest on certification or qualification, Rolls said.

The company's cable modem technology was just tested for reference design in Wave 17 at CableLabs, and Pacific is submitting its CMTS for Wave 18, he said.

"If we got a pass on that, it would be a major milestone," he said. "It also would send a big signal that we're first to go through on our own silicon. We're very optimistic."

Pacific expects the product, its first, to go to market in the second half of the year.

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