Alcatel (NYSE: ALA), the France-based manufacturer of telecommunications equipment with operations on Wake Forest Road in Raleigh, announced that SBC Communications will deploy a new product that provides residential customers access to high-speed fiber-optic networks. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Alcatel’s product, called the 7340 FTTU, is currently being deployed by SBC in a mixed use development in San Francisco that is under construction. Research and development, and marketing work for Alcatel’s FTTU division is done in Raleigh with about 70 workers in place.

Alcatel traditionally has focused its product offerings on the DSL market, where demand from service providers was high for equipment that increased voice and data connection speeds over existing copper telephone-wire connections.

In a prepared statement Lee Doyle, the company’s group vice president of network infrastructure, says: “(We’re) leveraging (our) strengths in broadband access to help support the next generation of broadband services.”

Doyle is referring to the increase in demand incumbent service providers are anticipating for on-demand services, such as watching movies on a TV via an Internet connection rather than renting them from a video store, or on-location connections to corporate sites, among other uses.

Through first quarter 2002 Alcatel’s net sales decreased 42 percent to $4.33 billion while net losses totaled $869 million compared to an income of $211.4 million. Shares of ALA ranged in price from $5.56 to $20.18 during the last 52 weeks and recently traded near $6.30. The company’s market capitalization totals $7.88 billion.