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Looking to avoid following in the footsteps of two of its competitors, General Bandwidth is cutting a portion of its staff to conserve cash, the company confirmed today.

General Bandwidth received an influx of funding in September, and has decided to reduce its staff in an effort to outlast the economic downturn, said Shannon Pleasant, General Bandwidth's director of corporate communications.

Affected workers were notified this week, and for the most part, have already cleared out, said Pleasant. Some of the employees will stay on through the summer.

Although the company is not releasing specific numbers, one report from a Texas-based newspaper indicated the cuts were as high as 60 percent of the staff.

Last week, TollBridge Technologies was forced to cease operations after it failed to secure funding. JetStream closed up shop in April for the same reason. "The money just isn't there," Norm Bergen, director of carrier networks and services for research firm In-Stat/MDR, told CED Broadband Direct.

It is no surprise to Bogen that the voice-over-broadband market is suffering. In-Stat/MDR released a report in Aug. 2001 on this market, which concluded that the outlook was "fairly negative." "No major vendor has offered this type of equipment because it is temporary solution. It also is telling that no major equipment vendor had acquired any of these companies," he said.

Unlike TollBridge and JetStream, General Bandwidth received a pile of money late in the game, which should hold them for at least 12 months, Bogen said.

General Bandwidth believes its cash will last a bit longer than 12 months. Pleasant said the company has enough money in the bank to last three years without other monies coming in. "And, we do have money coming in," she said.

In May, General Bandwidth introduced its Converged Service Delivery application, which is designed to enable the delivery of converged voice and data services to small- and medium-sized businesses over existing infrastructure. The application is fueled by the company's G6 Central Office Platform, which aggregates and grooms voice and data traffic originating from voice-over-broadband networks, passive optical networks and next-generation digital loop carriers. The G6's ability to act as the voice gateway and the aggregator eliminates the need for additional switching and routing equipment, enabling more efficient utilization of the service provider's transport network, according to the company.

The G6 platform has been deployed in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

General Bandwidth is working to enhance its product to make it a true VoIP gateway, said Bogen.

"We are confident that the telecom market will turn around, but we no longer think it will happen in the next three to six month," said Pleasant. "Fortunately we have enough money in the bank."

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