Nortel Networks will create 1800 jobs in the UK as part of a global investment programme in its optical networks production capacity.
Although optical technology is not in many reseller portfolios, it is expected to explode in the channel over the next few years to feed optical networks demand, according to industry observers.
The move comes as part of a $400m investment to triple Nortel's optical carrier products manufacturing capability and create 5000 jobs over the next year.
Nortel said it plans to expand its facilities in Paignton, Devon and Monkstown, Northern Ireland. It also plans to build precision laser fabrication plants in Ottawa and Montreal, and to increase staff numbers in its professional services division in the US.
The move goes some way towards reversing a restructuring plan unveiled earlier this year, which aimed to reduce the Nortel workforce by 10 per cent by slashing 8000 jobs.
An earlier 3500 redundancies were announced in September 1998 as a result of Nortel's $9.1bn acquisition of Bay Networks. Another 600 positions were cut at Nortel's Paignton site at the time.
John Roth, chief executive of Nortel, said the expansion would "help Nortel lead in building the optical internet".
The vendor has already doubled its manufacturing capacity this year, and tripling its facility again would enable it to keep ahead of customer demand, Roth said.
Nortel's growth and earnings forecasts would not change as the increased production capacity had already been factored into its predictions, he added.
John Manley, Canadian Minister for Industry, said the investment would help the government in its goal of making Canada the most connected country in the world.
Both plants are expected to open by the middle of next year.
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