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Lucent Goes Back to Iraq

By Colin C. Haley

http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/news/article.php/3331251/Lucent-Goes-Back-to-Iraq.htm (Back to article)

Lucent Technologies has notched its second contract in less than a year to help rebuild Iraq's war-torn telecom infrastructure. The work will begin immediately and involves restoring existing phone systems, building new ones and tying the two together.

The nationwide project, awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and overseen by the Coalition Provisional Authority, is worth up to $75 million over two years, but could span five years with extensions.

A dozen networking and IT technologies areas will be covered, including: switched telephone systems; local and wide area networks; enterprise systems and applications; Wi-Fi for the national phone company; and public safety information systems, including Emergency-122 (the Iraqi equivalent of 911).

"We have a lot of experience building up big complex networks quickly," Mary Ward, a spokeswoman for the Murray Hill, N.J., company, told internetnews.com.

She cited the company's work with Chinese carriers to install telecom infrastructure in rural areas. The company also designed and build a major wireless network in Saudi Arabia during the 1990s, Ward said.

Lucent has tapped CH2M Hill, DynCorp, Lockheed Martin, Booz Allen Hamilton and AT&T Government Solutions as subcontractors for the Iraq project. It will also hire additional small businesses in the United States and suppliers in Iraq.

Lucent has more than 25 years of experience in deploying telecom networks in the Middle East and has a large workforce in the area. In addition to experience in the region, it has experience in post-war Iraq.

Under a $25 million subcontract awarded by Bechtel National in August, the company helped restore phone service to 240,000 Baghdad households.

Lucent provided 13 central office switches, optical transport technology and network management services and helped train Iraqis to run the systems.

A DoD spokeswoman was not immediately available to say how many other telecom equipment providers bid for the contract, or if Lucent's work in the country's capital last year gave it an edge.

Lucent regularly competes with Alcatel , Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks .