Bechtel National, Inc has recently awarded Lucent Technologies a $25 million subcontract to carry out emergency repair and rehabilitation on Iraq’s communications network.
The award is the first major communications infrastructure subcontract Bechtel has awarded in Iraq. The project is part of the Coalition Provisional Authority’s rebuilding and reconstruction efforts. Earlier this year, Bechtel was awarded a contract by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to design, rehabilitate, upgrade and reconstruct Iraq’s infrastructure, including emergency work on the country’s communications system.
Prior to the second war in Iraq, approximately 1.1 million Iraqis subscribed to the Iraqi Telephone and Post Company (ITPC) for landline telephone services. Much of the communications network was centralised in Baghdad, where 240,000 out of 540,000 telephone lines are now out of service. The Lucent subcontract is directed at restoring this service.
Lucent will provide 13 central office switches, advanced optical transport technology and network management systems designed for voice and high-speed data transmissions.
Lucent Worldwide Services and Bechtel will work with ITPC personnel and local Iraqi contractors to install and deploy the switching units to bring the 240,000 lines back into service within ITPC’s network serving Baghdad and the region around it. Bechtel estimates that as much as 80 percent of the actual deployment work will be done by Iraqi workers and engineers.
In addition to rebuilding the network, Lucent will establish an aggressive program to train Iraqi personnel to enable the transition of the operations of the network to ITPC.