Lucent begins rebuilding Iraqi phone system

Lucent Technologies Inc. has begun installing 13 central office switches, optical transport and network management systems for voice and high-speed data transmission in the Baghdad region of Iraq.

The Murray Hill, N.J., company received a $25 million subcontract to begin rebuilding the country's landline telephone system. Lucent spokeswoman Mary Ward said the work will take about six months.

The prime contractor, Bechtel National Inc. of San Francisco, got the job from the Agency for International Development, which is aiding the Coalition Provisional Authority now governing Iraq.

Lucent will repair or replace large portions of the Iraqi Telephone and Post Co. system, which before the war served more than 1 million customers. That infrastructure is concentrated in Baghdad, where 240,000 out of 540,000 phone lines are out of service. Lucent will supply 5ESS and 5ESS Very Compact Digital Exchange switches, Metropolis ADM Multiservice Muxes, Navis network management systems, and maintenance and service.

As much as 80 percent of the work will be done by Iraqi workers and engineers. Lucent will establish an Iraqi training program for transition of the rebuilt network to the provisional authority.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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