Nortel Networks this week said Bell Canada will invest $US146 million over three years in Nortel products to provide enterprises with IP telephony and multimedia applications and services.
The arrangement between Nortel and Bell Canada includes a joint research and development initiative. The so-called "Innovation Centre" in Ottawa will concentrate on creating IP telephony and multimedia services, and work with third parties to encourage compatibility and market timeliness.
Bell Canada also plans to establish associated research and development satellite labs in Quebec, Ontario and other areas.
The Innovation Centre's work will support both wireline and wireless facilities. New services spawned by the effort will be designed for a hosted IP network, in which Bell Canada will build and manage the infrastructure on behalf of its customers.
According to Nortel, the Innovation Centre will "complement and extend" the work of Bell Canada's iTechCentre, a $37 million lab established in 2001 to test IP-based technologies and services.
Bell Canada currently uses Nortel digital telephony gear. Bell Canada Enterprises sold its 35% stake in Nortel in 2000.
Bell Canada will extend its Nortel infrastructure with the company's Multimedia Communication Server 5200, a SIP-based media server for multimedia applications; and its Succession Communication Server 2000 softswitch. Bell Canada customers will be able to access video calling, unified messaging, single directory and other services with this deployment.
Service availability is scheduled for mid-2004.