Boosting Negev presence. Maor
Photo: Assaf Malichi
ECI Telecom gets $800M deal with BT
CEO of Petah Tikva-based firm says deal proves it can 'become a strategic partner of leading international companies'; urges government to encourage Israeli high-tech to move to Negev

ECI Telecom has won its largest ever contract, an $800 million deal with British telecom BT's Openreach to help bring a large-scale super-fast broadband network to Britain.


Openreach recently announced plans to invest a further 1 billion pounds, or 2.5 billion in total, to extend deployment of fiber-to-the-premise and fiber-to-the-cabinet to around two thirds of Britain by 2015.


ECI, a private company based in Petah Tikva, will work with Openreach in deploying the next generation access to up to 18 million households and businesses throughout Britain in the next 3-5 years. Deployment is scheduled to begin in July-August.


Openreach was created in 2006 to give communications providers equal access to Britain's local access network.


"Being part of a project of this scale is proof of ECI's ability to become a strategic partner of leading international companies," said Rafi Maor, president and chief executive officer of ECI Telecom.


"We have recruited hundreds of research and development employees to expedite product development," he said.


The CEO added that his company is expected to "boost its presence in Beersheba."


"The government has approved a plan that makes our plan in the Negev attractive. We have centers in China and India, and it is important that the government encourage investment in the Negev," Maor said.


"The government must encourage the Israeli high-tech to move south. It's beneficial to the development of the Negev and the State of Israel as a whole.


ECI supplies communications platforms for carrier and service provider networks. It was acquired by the Swarth Group and certain funds for $1.24 billion in 2007 and delisted from Nasdaq.


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