Nortel provides vital wireless link to US Navy for tsunami relief

Nortel [NYSE/TSX: NT] is providing a mobile communications system to support US Navy humanitarian relief efforts in areas of Indonesia affected by the recent tsunami. The system will enable shore and ship-to-shore communications for navy military and medical personnel operating from the hospital ship USNS Mercy, deployed off the coast of Banda Aceh, and to other navy ships in the area.

"There are few things more rewarding than being part of a humanitarian effort," Nortel president and CEO Bill Owens said, "the power of communications is at its greatest when it is harnessed to help those in need."

Nortel and three subcontractors — Cell-Tel Government Systems, Maritime Telecommunications Network and Global Broadband Solutions — dispatched a team of engineers and technicians to the area and set up 'fly-away', a transportable Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) solution which can be deployed within two days anywhere in the world that satellite access is available.

It will augment the US Navy's tactical radio network, which is used to support the high volume of communications needed by the medical relief staff, facilitate communications for the arrival and delivery of relief supplies into the area, as well as enable communications between medical personnel on the ground and offshore aboard USNS Mercy.

Nortel's employee and corporate tsunami relief donation program has also nearly doubled its original objective to over $1 million. Employees surpassed the company's initial challenge to match a corporate donation of $350,000 by donating more than $675,000. Nortel is now matching $500,000, bringing the company's total monetary donation to nearly $1.2 million, divided among the Red Cross, UNICEF and CARE.