Infinera to sit out OFC 2020 conference due to coronavirus concerns

Add Infinera to the—so far—short list of companies that are pulling out of OFC 2020 conference next month in San Diego. Infinera announced Thursday it won't be going to the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition (OFC 2020), which is slated for March 8-12 in San Diego.

“While we were looking forward to attending OFC 2020, the premier optical networking conference, and showcasing our latest innovations, our top priority is the health and safety of our employees, and our concern extends to the welfare and well-being of our customers, partners and others in our community,” said Infinera CEO Tom Fallon, in a statement. “We appreciate the event organizer’s action plans to lessen the coronavirus risk, but our decision not to attend this year is in line with other precautionary measures we have implemented to reduce the threat of exposure to our employees and mitigate the impact on our ability to serve our customers.”

Similar to some vendors' approaches to the cancellation of Mobile World Congress this week, Infinera is planning a virtual event to showcase its latest innovations, which will include its latest 800G solution.

On Tuesday, Ciena said it would not be attending the OFC event, while Lumentum has also withdrawn. Ciena also cancelled its participation to the Capacity Middle East 2020 conference.

Also on Tuesday, OFC said its conference was still going strong, and that it has "heard from many exhibitors that they are committed to attend OFC, and we thank them for their continued engagement."

“Due to the COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus) outbreak, OFC Management is closely monitoring the ongoing potential impact for our attendees, exhibitors, and vendors”, said Ryan Strowger, head of OFC Management, in a statement on OFC's webpage. “We are following the guidance from worldwide health organizations and experts. We are fully committed to taking appropriate precautions to provide a safe and healthy environment for attendees.”

OFC acknowledged that some Chinese service providers, speakers, vendors and attendees would not be able to attend.

"OFC Management understands that individuals who have been in China (originating or visiting) within 14 calendar days, will be unable to participate in-person at OFC 2020 due to travel restrictions barring access to the U.S. Some Chinese exhibiting companies have determined that they will be unable to exhibit, while other Chinese exhibiting companies may utilize non-China based staff, or sales representatives/distributors with knowledge of their products and services to represent them. OFC Management will continue to support OFC companies based in China on their final decisions, and we thank them for their continued engagement."

OFC added several links to information about the coronavirus on its webpage, as well as a coronavirus-related FAQ page.

RELATED: IDC: Coronavirus will drag down China's ICT market by 10% in the first quarter of 2020

While telecommunication companies are deciding whether to attend industry events, the global economy could be headed toward a recession or economic contraction this year due to the coronavirus. U.S. telecommunications companies are facing disruptions in their supply chains, mainly from China, due to the coronavirus.