Nortel And Redline To Build Telecom Infrastructure In Iraq - InformationWeek

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Nortel And Redline To Build Telecom Infrastructure In Iraq

The two Canadian companies got contracts to build a nationwide optical backbone and to deploy a WiMax network.

Two Canadian companies reported this week that they have received contracts to build telecommunications infrastructure in war-torn Iraq. Nortel said it received a $20 million contract to build a nationwide optical backbone, while Redline Communications said its equipment will be used to deploy a WiMax network.

A spokesman for Nortel said Wednesday that work on the optical network is scheduled to get underway in the first quarter of 2007. The Nortel contract was awarded in a pubic competition by the Iraq Telecommunications & Post Corporation, which is Iraq's sole fixed-line operator.

The spokesman noted that Nortel built an advanced dense wavelength division multiplexed network that links broadband optical services between Baghdad and Basra. He said the new contract calls for the backbone to be built in 14 months. The network will deliver data, video, and multimedia.

"This national project is vitally important to the many telecommunications projects underway that will help rebuild the capabilities of the Iraqi society and economy," said H. E. Mohamed Allawi, Iraqi Minister of Communications, in a statement.

The Nortel network will cover 35 major cities across 5,000 kilometers.

Redline said it was selected by telecom operator IraqTel to deploy a WiMax network. The network will offer advanced voice and broadband services. Redline didn't respond to phone calls and e-mails seeking additional information on the contract.

In spite of the growing violence in Iraq and the challenge of providing security, telecom infrastructure has gradually been improving. Last summer, the U.S. State Department said there were more than 7 million cell phone subscribers in Iraq, up from 1.4 million in two years.

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