Hatteras Networks, a developer of Ethernet platforms that enable voice and data service providers to provide business customers with service over both fiber-optic and copper-based networks, says its new prtoduct tackles the proverbial “last mile” problem.

The product, called Access Class Ethernet, will save service providers the expense of having to upgrade their network as it is compatible with many of the systems currently in operation, Hatteras says. Access Class Ethernet also allows service providers to provide multiple high-speed services to virtually all of their customers up to 12,000 feet away from a building.

In a statement released by Hatteras, Infonetics Research Analyst Michael Howard says: “Most last-mile Ethernet access products are designed to serve the roughly 10 percent of businesses with fiber access, while Hatteras Networks enables carriers to deploy Ethernet to any business and thus profit from this largely untapped market.”

According to a Yankee Group report, carrier expenditures on access and metro Ethernet equipment are expected to reach $4.4 billion by 2005, which seems to back up Hatteras’ bullish claims.

Hatteras has been flying below the radar since cutting one-third of its staff from 62 to 37 and refocusing its product line in May 2001. At the time company officials proclaimed the layoffs came as a result of a decision to refocus Hatteras marketing efforts to major telephone companies rather than the competitive local exchange carriers, the so-called CLECs, many of which went belly up during the telecom crash of 2001.

Hatteras Web site: