Canadian company Nortel Networks is to spend Pounds 2 million on university scholarships and will create 2,000 high-technology jobs in Europe this year, writes Tim Greenhalgh.
The company's aim is to create the next generation of internet leaders. The new jobs and scholarships will be mostly available in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Nortel Networks, which employs about 20,000 people in 33 European countries, will also build two Wireless Internet Centres of Excellence (Wice) in Spain and Germany, completing its European Wireless Internet development network.
Other centres are based in the UK, France and Italy. The company will also open two new internet laboratories in Norway and Sweden.
Clarence Chandran, president of the company's service provider and carrier group, said: "We continue to invest in the critical infrastructure that will drive the future of the high performance internet. Now we're investing in Europe's youth, the future generation of internet leaders. We plan to increase our workforce by about 10 per cent this year."
The scholarships will be administered through the Nortel Networks Foundation, and will provide $3.3 million (Pounds 2.2 million). About $1 million will be given by the end of this year to universities - the scholarships begin in September 2000.
The foundation was established to invest in future internet economy leadership by supporting science, maths and technology education programmes.
Charles Childers, chief marketing officer at Nortel Networks, said: "As the basis for future internet leaders who will develop economies and improve life in the community, education is crucially important.
"Through education funding and employee volunteer programmes, we are committed to helping young people develop the skills they need to enter the technology-driven workforce."
Nortel Networks' Wices will provide a research, development and testing ground for new communications capabilities. They will focus on bringing to market the company's recently launched "Wings of Light" strategy. The company will harness leading optical internet and internet protocol capabilities at Wices, based in Maidenhead, Paris and Rome. Two new centres are planned for Spain and Munich.
"We are beginning to implement the third generation of wireless networks," Mr Chandran said.
"The third generation will see a coming together of terrestrial and wireless networks with new service-enabling capabilities. These centres of excellence will provide a 'think-tank' environment for Nortel Networks and its customers to redefine the speed, reliability, quality and profitability of the Wireless Internet."