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Reseau Ferre De France, Nortel To Speed Modernization Of Railway Communications


PARIS - Réseau Ferré de France (RFF), owner and operator of the French rail network, has selected Nortel* [NYSE/TSX: NT] as the exclusive supplier of telecommunications equipment for its national railway network under a public-private partnership (PPP). The railway communication network supplied by Nortel will provide RFF with improved voice and data services to support operations of conventional and high-speed rail lines across France.
Nortel’s selection follows the commercial launch in the summer of 2006 of the RFF core communications network which is based on RFF’s Nortel-supplied Mobile Services Switching Center (MSC). The new network will support the existing French national radio network, including the East of France railway line from Paris to Bar le Duc. This line is already in service and the high-speed line from Paris to Strasbourg is scheduled to open in mid-2007.

The PPP for the GSM-R (Global System for Mobile Communication - Railway) network is the first of its type for RFF, providing an innovative method for financing, deploying, operating and maintaining GSM-R networks. The partnership will enable RFF to speed modernization of its ground-to-train radio system while maintaining interoperability and continuity of service with existing infrastructure.

“Working closely with Nortel we’ll be able to accelerate deployment of a modern, interoperable infrastructure with reinforced operational requirements while getting implementation and operating costs under control,” said Jean-Marc Charroud, director, Project Deployments, RFF. “By progressing our communications, we’re also enhancing our service reliability and safety, improving communications between railway workers, and offering new services to railway companies and their customers.”

“This is another stage on our journey with RFF which began in 2003 when we were selected to provide the first voice and data services for the French railway network,” said Michel Clement, president, Southern Europe and Africa, Nortel. “Nortel has unique experience in deploying GSM-R networks globally and we are firmly committed to GSM. And, having traveled this far with RFF, the new public-private partnership is a great opportunity for Nortel to help RFF achieve its business goals and make the project a real success.”

A world leader in GSM-R technology, Nortel has to date been selected to deploy GSM-R networks in 10 countries on three continents. These include national deployments for the three largest railway operations in Europe - RFF, Network Rail in Great Britain and Deutsche Bahn in Germany. Most recently, Nortel was selected by the Algerian SNTF(Société Nationale des transports Ferroviaires) to provide the first GSM-R network on the African continent and by TP Ferro for the Figueras-Perpignan high-speed line connecting Spain and France.

Nortel has been a pioneer in the GSM-R standards process since 1992, and works with Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer (UIC) and the Europe Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) on standards improvements. Nortel supplied equipment for the initial Mobile Radio for Railways Networks in Europe (MORANE) trial and was a major contributor to the European Integrated Railway Radio Enhanced Network (EIRENE) GSM-R standard.


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