March 25, 2004 11:26 AM PST
Lucent wins $75 million Iraq contract
Lucent plans to begin work immediately on both wireless and wireline telephone systems for police, airport flight controllers and postal services in Iraq, according to a Lucent representative.
The representative said repairs are also slated for connections between privately owned Iraqi communications companies and telephone companies outside the embattled nation.
A Department of Defense representative said the Lucent contract and other Iraqi telephone infrastructure repairs are a "significant portion" of the more than $7 billion the U.S. is spending to rebuild vital infrastructure in the war-torn country.
Although rebuilding efforts have been slowed by sabotage, access to telephone systems has improved by 10 percent since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq last year, Iraqi officials say. There are now nearly a million homes and businesses with access to a phone, with about a quarter using cell phones, said the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority.
But phone systems certainly haven't escaped the sabotage altogether. In early April, for example, a bombing attack destroyed a major a telecommunications facility.
Lucent Technologies has so far won about $100 million in contracts in Iraq. Major defense contractor Bechtel paid Lucent $25 million to install 13 switching, optical and network management systems in and around Baghdad under a separate subcontract to Bechtel.
Neither Lucent nor the Department of Defense would say how many companies bid on the contract.
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