Nortel wins U.K. military deal

British Telecommunications (BT) has selected Nortel Networks to help continue modernization of the U.K. Ministry of Defence's communications network over the next two years.

Nortel, a Canadian network equipment maker, will supply multiservice switching and voice-over-IP solutions, worth about $42 million, as part of the ministry's Defence Fixed Telecommunications System contract with BT, which began integrating and improving the military's network in the late 1990s.

Under the project, BT, which recently received a five-year contract extension worth up to $2.7 billion, will provide wide-area network services to more than 2,000 locations, including voice services for more than 200,000 subscribers and Ethernet-based connectivity to 150,000 terminals, according to a joint press release from both companies.

The ministry is projected to save about $27 million annually as a result of greater operational and user efficiencies.

The companies have also jointly developed a dedicated testing facility, called the Network Development Lab, to test services and applications for the planned ministry network. The lab, which cost about $5.4 million in technology alone, includes all existing equipment deployed in the current network and all new equipment being procured for the planned one.

BT and the Defence Communications Services Administration, which is responsible for delivering information and communication services to the ministry, also plan to use the lab to showcase services that could be provided to government agencies or those in the defense industry that need a ministry-level secure network.

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