Pirelli wins contracts for 4,000 km of optical cable in Algeria.

2 February 2004 Milan, Italy Lightwave--SONELGAZ, Algeria's state-run electric and natural-gas company, has signed a turnkey contract with Telecommunications Consultants of India (TCIL) for the installation of 4,000 km of Pirelli overhead optical cable.

Feb 2nd, 2004

2 February 2004 Milan, Italy Lightwave--SONELGAZ, Algeria's state-run electric and natural-gas company, has signed a turnkey contract with Telecommunications Consultants of India (TCIL) for the installation of 4,000 km of Pirelli overhead optical cable.

The optical cable is for SONELGAZ's nationwide modernization program, which includes the installation of optical cable in the northern part of Algeria, said Mohamed Tayeb Maddi, director of Telecommunications, SONELGAZ.

SONELGAZ is upgrading and expanding its 15,000 km electric transmission grid. The utility is installing optical cable on the existing grid and on the new power lines and expects to have a total of nearly 7,000 km of optical cable installed by 2005.

Since the start of the program in 2002, SONELGAZ has installed 800 km to 1,000 km of new electric lines and OPGW (Optical Ground Wire) annually. Mr. Maddi said the network expansion is demand driven, but that he expected installations would continue at the same rate through 2005.

The Pirelli cable is for the second and third phases of the modernization program. Some 300 km of Pirelli cable has already been installed. Corning supplied 1,300 km of lashed optical cable for the first phase, which is nearly complete.

In late 2003, SONELGAZ awarded a contract to Huawei Technologies of China to supply optical networking equipment for the backbone network and another contract to Sagem of France for metro optical-networking equipment for the cities of Algiers and Oran.

SONELGAZ has already acquired 600 km of 24-fiber underground cable from a wide source of vendors, including Pirelli, Brugg, and Corning, for the metro projects, which include 32 cities.

"Our plan is to use the fiber networks to launch a carrier's carrier business," Mr. Maddi said.

The Pirelli overhead optical cable contracts, worth $20 million, are the latest important utility projects for the Italian cable giant. The contracts follow large national projects in Brazil and Romania last year, which included more than 5,000 km of OPGW.

Under its contracts with Telecommunications Consultants of India, Pirelli will supply SONELGAZ with 3,000 km of 24-fiber OPGW and 1,000 km of 24-fiber lashed cable. The fibers will be produced at Pirelli's production facility, FOS, in Battipaglia, Italy. All OPGW cables and accessories will be produced at Pirelli's facility in Vilanova i la Geltru ( Spain ), which will also be responsible for engineering and installation services. Both contracts involve the installation of the optical cables under live-line conditions using Pirelli patented installation methods.

The first contract covers 3,000 km of OPGW to be installed on energized 220kv overhead transmission lines. Installing OPGW on energized transmission lines requires use of the Pirelli-developed installation methodology. The OPGW cable performs a dual role. It protects the electrical network from fault current and lightning damage in the same manner as a conventional earth wire whilst the inclusion of optical fibers - completely unaffected by the electrical environment - within the cable, provides a telecommunication system capable of transmitting high-speed voice, data and video traffic.

The second contract covers 1,000 km of lashed cable to be installed also on energized 220kv overhead transmission lines using a Pirelli robotized system. The lashed cable is a dielectric optical cable which, attached to the existing groundwire of the transmission lines, allows the installation of optical fibers in electrical networks at high speed and reduced cost. The Pirelli installation system, utilizing radio-controlled robots, allows live line installation without risk to personnel working in the vicinity of the line.

--Kurt Ruderman

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