October 20, 2004 3:40 PM PDT

Alcatel wins $1.7 billion SBC contract

SBC Communications has awarded telecom equipment maker Alcatel a $1.7 billion contract to upgrade its network with fiber-optic technology.

Alcatel will provide SBC with network access, aggregation and switching equipment to allow the Baby Bell to offer more Internet-based services to its customers, the companies said Wednesday. The French equipment maker also will help SBC develop its fiber infrastructure to carry video streams delivered on an IP-based network.

The contract is part of SBC's Project Lightspeed initiative to upgrade its copper-wire network to faster fiber-optic lines. SBC is laying the groundwork to begin offering TV programming over the Internet by the end of 2005 as a product of its network upgrade.

"We're moving at light speed to bring IP-enhanced services to customers," Edward Whitacre, chief executive of SBC, said in a statement.

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