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Qwest extends partnership with Nortel

The telecom company plans to deploy Nortel's Optera product line to reduce network bottlenecks.

Qwest Communications International said it has extended its partnership with Nortel Networks as the telecommunications company further invests to boost its Internet capabilities.

The three-year investment is worth at least $600 million, a Nortel spokesman confirmed, adding that it's the largest fiber-optic equipment deal for Nortel to date.

Under the deal, Denver-based Qwest said it plans to provide customers more speed and accessibility to Internet-based products and services by deploying Nortel's Optera product line.

The Optera portfolio will help accelerate Qwest's ability to bring advanced Internet communications services to customers by reducing network bottlenecks and allowing 28 million simultaneous Internet connections on a single fiber (or cable). The technology will also help increase network speed and capacity of data transmissions through one strand of fiber.

Last October, Qwest chief executive Joseph Nacchio stressed that new-age networks, such as his own firm's 18,500 fiber-based layout, will propel use of the Net, driving voice, video, and data applications.

As reported, Qwest was one of several new carriers to provide a variety of network services using a brand-new fiber-based infrastructure as a means to gain a cost and performance advantage over rivals, partly by partnering with network companies like Nortel, Cisco Systems, and Ascend Communications.

Canada-based Nortel, which designs telephony and IP-optimized networks, said its latest optical technology also gives Qwest the scalability to quickly and economically handle increased traffic and services to support its acquisition plans.

In recent days, Qwest has been considering a hostile tender offer for phone companies US West and Frontier, bidding against Global Crossing.

After its initial bids were rejected, the firm increased its offer for both companies. Frontier yesterday said its board would begin negotiations with Qwest over its new bid.