The North Sea Cable Maintenance Agreement, an international group of cable carriers, signed a 33-month deal with Alcatel to maintain all submarine networks laid in the North Sea.
The group — which includes Concert, Deutsche Telekom, Tele Danmark, KPN, Telia and France Telecom — agreed to share the maintenance costs of the undersea networks.
Alcatel bid on the deal, says spokeswoman Jamie Horton, but would not disclose the amounts, since the company does not know what maintenance will be involved. Reminded that a bid must give some idea of the amounts, she said Alcatel was not releasing those, since they entailed "too much guesstimating at this point."
Under the deal, which starts in April 2002, Alcatel will oversee supplying the vessels and remote operation vehicles needed to overhaul any damaged system, it reports. The company also will provide a charting service to customers, updating repair records.
Alcatel says its maintenance cable vessels are designed to work in such difficult areas as the North Sea. Its service area entails the sea between Lands End, Ushant, the Faeroe Islands and Norway. The region's potential for damage is three to four times higher than other areas of the world because of local fishing activity, it says.
Alcatel will put two of the vessels from its maintenance fleet in the region, and customers who detect a problem in their networks will contact the company directly from its coordinating center in Copenhagen, Denmark.