Belfast Telegraph

Technology firm clicks with Euro network

By Robin Morton

Technology company Nortel in Newtownabbey has received a boost with the signing of a major contract to provide equipment for a new hi-tech European optical communications network.

The equipment for the "ultra long-haul" high capacity network will be supplied to American communications company Verizon Business from Nortel's Monkstown plant by the end of this year.

A spokesman for Nortel said that the contract win would not have any effect on the number of jobs at Monkstown, which currently stands at 600.

But he said the contract, the value of which was not disclosed, would " contribute to ongoing business".

He added: "The Verizon account team will use Nortel's full complement of skills at the Monkstown facility."

A statement from the company said that the deal would put Verizon in a better position to deliver network capacity across Europe for high-bandwith applications such as video and advanced business services.

The optical network will carry a large portion of Verizon's European network traffic and will be deployed across a range of countries such as the UK, France, Belgium, Germany and Holland.

Philippe Morin, Nortel's president of micro ethernet networks, said: " The true beneficiaries will be the end-users who will be able to take advantage of future high-bandwidth services and applications to meet their growing business needs throughout Europe."

Canadian-owned Nortel has been getting itself back on track after the dotcom crash of 2001 and its accounting woes, which began in 2003.

But it has also been hit by other factors, including a more competitive market, particularly from cheaper telecoms suppliers in Asia.

Nortel's Monkstown operation acts as a supply chain centre for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

In 2001, Nortel axed 360 jobs at the plant, where employment once stood at 1,600.

Verizon, which claims to have the US's most reliable wireless voice and data network, yesterday unveiled a new mobile phone, just in time for the Christmas market.

The new product offers access to a multimedia service with news, sports and entertainment video clips, 3D games and more than 2.4 million songs that can be downloaded directly.

Belfast Telegraph