Peter MacKinnon, President of LG Nortel Gives us Perspective

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Peter MacKinnon, President of LG Nortel Gives us Perspective

I read an recent press release from LG Nortel and thought we might gain some understand by interviewing Peter MacKinnon, the Chairman of LG Nortel Ltd, and President of the LG Nortel BU.


[CF] Is the LG Nortel relationship an entity that exists regardless of the turmoil at the parent company?

[PM] LG-Nortel is a profitable, standalone business and has not filed for creditor protection. The company is solvent with a strong balance sheet, >1000 employee base, enjoys a leading position in building customer network solutions in Korea (across several product portfolios) and has generated positive cash flow from operations since its inception in November of 2005.

Given Nortel's filing for creditor protection and the ongoing business environment, Nortel has decided its intention to seek a buyer for its majority stake (50% + 1 share) in LG-Nortel, the company's Korean joint venture with LG Electronics.

Nortel has determined this is the best path forward to secure a sound future for LG-Nortel. Nortel and LGE are fully committed to LG-Nortel's future success and are committed to concluding this transition swiftly and efficiently for the benefit of LG-Nortel and its customers. Throughout the process, the LG-Nortel management team will ensure that business operations continue as usual.

[CF]  Nortel's strength is in optics and LG has a history in electronics, what should we expect?
[PM] This is a good question! Nortel's long standing pedigree in Optics has been well recognized in the industry for many innovations specifically on optics and digital signal processing (DSP) to increase line rates and reduce overall network cost. The LG-Nortel & Nortel teams are working together to marry the power of optics, with the simplicity of ubiquitous ethernet and commercialized electronics to create a next generation fiber access system that enables an end user experience that is beyond the current fiber access technologies based on TDM asynchronous passive optical networking solutions available today.

Current fiber access technologies, such as TDM based PON solutions are very complex, do not scale, are limited in service offering, are not foundational in addressing business services and backhaul infrastructures and are OPEX challenged over the long run. Our WDM-PON solution will break through a number of these barriers that relate to above cost effectively and with simplicity, and should provide the foundational solution for the next 20-30 years for residential, business and backhaul applications.

[CF]  You have a history with WiMAX, do you see a parallels in requirements for high speed data between the fiber and wireless experiences?

[PM] Absolutely! You can find parallels between the two technologies, they are complementary and have different value propositions?

Both fiber and WiMAX are addressing the need for high speed connectivity either combination of mobility and landlines. Without going into too many details, WiMAX has provided significant breakthroughs in high speed data over OFDMA based wireless networks, with major breakthroughs in technology specifically MIMO signal processing.

Whereas, traditional Fiber based systems use landline optical technologies, the most popular being Gigabit PON/Gigabit Ethernet PON support point to multipoint end user connectivity, however, the relationship is similar to WiMAX, the bandwidth served is inversely proportional to the number of subscribers in a geographical serving area. In addition, these technologies do not perform well for a ubiquitous fiber infrastructure that delivers business services and backhaul solutions. LG-Nortel is currently marketing a solution for global operators to leverage all the benefits of Point to Point connectivity with the added value of point to multipoint fiber topologies similar to existing TDM PON offering.

[CF]  What places in the world do you think we should focus on to see the trends?
[PM] In regards to the fiber access solutions, I would take a look at a number of places in the world that the operator experience is dictating the technology choices. More specifically Korea & Continental Europe, would be where I would focus to determine the next impending trend. Korea is the highest broadband penetration market in the world, and is aggressively deploying new 3G / 3.5 G services. Continental Europe, from a fiber access perspective, is divided into two distinct technology "camps", where the south (ie. France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany) are exploring TDM PON solutions, whereas the Nordics states, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland, have made statements to the effect that TDM PON architectures are not acceptable for their networks. Their solution of choice is primarily a Point to Point architecture. There are other remaining Tier 1 / PTT operators who are studying various techologies, and will follow the mainstream deployments when they occur.

Lastly, innovation, will dictate the path that operators may follow in the near future, specifically as new technologies that have the promise of longer term sustainability will end up being the winner in deployments.

[CF]  In your career what changes were you least expecting?
[PM] Interesting question ... I never thought that my family & I would stay abroad for 7 yrs with assignments in the UK, France and Singapore (original assignment was 2 years in the UK!). I would also say that the LG-Nortel experience has been a major highlight in my career, and I've really enjoyed working with this world-class team.

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