Nortel has pinpointed a UK factory as one of the first sites for closure, as part of its bid to cut 3,500 jobs worldwide.
The closure of the plant in Paignton, Devon, which makes the Proximity I Fixed Wireless Access range, will be completed by June 1999. Around 586 employees across two plants will be affected - 530 in Paignton and 56 in Maidenhead, Berkshire.
Much of the work will be redeployed to its other fixed wireless plants in its Caribbean and Latin American regions.
Last week, Nortel confirmed it is to shed 3,500 jobs worldwide, as part of its plan to shift away from traditional voice telephony equipment to IP and data networks (see Newswire 25 September).
Said Elizabeth Rose, vice president and general manager of Nortel's fixed wireless access division: "We regret the necessity of taking this action. Our employees have made a significant and valuable contribution to the development of Proximity I, which Nortel believes has a viable commercial future."
The company said it is not seeking to exit the fixed wireless access market. The Proximity I product is developed with Ionica, which has been hitting the headlines with financial difficulties, mainly caused by the difficulties of selling fixed wireless products in the UK market. BT's entrenchment in the market for transmitting calls to the doorstep has made it difficult for alternatives to make their mark.
Nortel will be offering the employees a voluntary redundancy package.
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