Iraq infrastructure contract includes telecom

The U.S. Agency for International Development has awarded a $1.8 billion contract for reconstruction efforts in Iraq that include a plan to restore damaged fiber-optic backbones in war-torn areas.

Bechtel National Inc., a division of San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp., and a team of subcontractors won the contract yesterday to repair the country's infrastructure.

Officials with U.S. AID said the subcontractors on the Iraq Infrastructure II contract include Parsons Corp. of Pasadena, Calif., and Horne Engineering Services Inc. of Fairfax, Va.

The work will be implemented over 24 months in partnership with the Coalition Provisional Authority and in cooperation with Iraqi contractors, said Gordon H. West, acting assistant administrator in AID's Asia and Near East Bureau.

Most of the money will go toward repairing Iraq's roads, rail systems, public buildings, electric power systems, municipal water plants and sanitation services. But the contract also covers the installation of switches and transmission equipment at 12 destroyed sites to reconnect 240,000 telephone subscribers, which represent 20 percent of the installed telephones in Iraq.

The telecommunications work also includes installation of an international satellite gateway in Baghdad to support international calls and the restoration of the southwest leg of a fiber-optic backbone connecting Baghdad and Basrah and major cities in between.

Among the companies involved in the telecom work are Lucent Technologies Inc. of Murray Hill, N.J., the Iraq Telephone and Post Co., and Globecomm Systems Inc. of Hauppauge, N.Y., which assembled the satellite gateway system.

The telecom work began last July and will be completed by March, according to company officials.

Iraq Infrastructure II is a program to rehabilitate and repair Iraq's infrastructure.

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