Nortel Networks Corporation (), formerly known as Northern Telecom Limited and sometimes known simply as Nortel, is a multinational telecommunications equipment manufacturer headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
In 1895, Bell Telephone Company of Canada decided to spin off its manufacturing arm to build phones for sale to other companies as well as other devices such as fire alarm boxes and street call boxes for police and fire departments. This company was incorporated as the Northern Electric and Manufacturing Company Limited. In 1900, the new company began manufacturing the first wind-up gramophones that played flat discs. In 1913, the company's headquarters and main factory was built in Montreal. In 1914, the company merged with Imperial Cable to form Northern Electric, co-owned by Bell Canada and the U.S. company Western Electric. By the end of World War I, Northern Electric had become a major distributor of Western Electric appliances across Canada.
In 1966, the Northern Electric research lab, Northern Electric Laboratories (the predecessor to Bell-Northern Research), started looking into the possibilities of fiber optic cable, and in 1969, began work on digitizing telephone communications. Also in 1969, Northern began making inroads into the U.S. market with its switching systems. In 1972, it opened its first factory in the U.S. in Michigan. In 1975, Northern began shipping its first digital switching systems, one of the earliest such systems to be sold.
Digital World was Northern Telecom’s daring declaration, made public by a three-page advertisement that appeared in major trade publications in 1976, that digital technology was the key to the future. It was the first to announce, and to deliver, one year ahead of schedule, a complete line of fully digital telecommunications products. The most well-known of that Digital World product family, the DMS-100, a fully digital central office switch serving as many as 100,000 lines, was a key contributor to the company’s revenue for close to 15 years.
In 1977, Nortel introduced its DMS line of digital central office telephone switches, providing explosive growth for the company, especially after the AT&T breakup in 1984. Northern Telecom became the first non-Japanese supplier to Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, and the company took advantage of opportunities in Europe and China.
In 1998, with the acquisition of Bay Networks, the company's name was changed to Nortel Networks to emphasize its ability to provide complete solutions for multiprotocol, multiservice, global networking over the Internet and other communications networks. As a consequence of the stock transaction used to purchase Bay Networks, BCE ceased to be the majority shareholder of Nortel. In 2000, BCE spun-out Nortel, distributing its holdings of Nortel to its shareholders. Bell-Northern Research was gradually absorbed into Nortel, as it first acquired a majority share in BNR, and eventually acquired the entire company.
In the late 1990s, stock market speculators, hoping that Nortel would reap increasingly lucrative profits from the sale of fibre optic network gear, began pushing up the price of the company's shares to unheard-of levels despite the company's repeated failure to turn a profit. Under the leadership of CEO John Roth, sales of optical equipment had been robust in the late 1990s, but the market was soon saturated. When the speculative telecom bubble of the late 1990s reached its pinnacle, Nortel was to become one of the most spectacular casualties.
At its height, Nortel accounted for more than a third of the total valuation of all the companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). Nortel's market capitalization fell from C$398 billion in September 2000 to less than $5 billion in August 2002. Nortel's stock price plunged from C$124 to $0.47. When Nortel's stock crashed, it took with it a wide swath of Canadian investors and pension funds, and left 60,000 Nortel employees unemployed.
CEO John Roth retired under controversy to be succeeded by former CFO Frank Dunn. Despite some initial perceived success in turning the company around, he was fired for cause in 2004 after being accused of financial mismanagement. Dunn and other former Nortel officers have been accused of engaging in accounting fraud by the SEC (for more information, refer to "Accounting scandal").
Retired United States Admiral Bill Owens was hired as the CEO to replace Dunn. In late 2004, Nortel Networks returned to using the Nortel name for branding purposes only (the official company name was not changed).
Nortel acquired PEC Solutions in June, 2005, renaming it Nortel Government Solutions Incorporated or NGS. The wholly-owned subsidiary provides information technology and telecommunications services to a variety of government agencies and departments.
On August 17, 2005, LG Electronics and Nortel signed an agreement to form a joint venture to offer telecom and networking solutions in the wireline, optical, wireless and enterprise areas for South Korean and global customers. Nortel owns 50 percent plus one share in the joint venture.
In February, 2007, Nortel announced its plans to reduce its workforce by 2,000 employees, and to transfer an additional 1,000 jobs to lower-cost job sites. A year later, in February, 2008, Nortel again announced plans to eliminate 2,100 jobs, and to transfer another 1,000 jobs to lower-cost centres. As part of the reductions, Nortel announced it would shut down its Calgary campus by 2009.
Past and present products include:
As of October 25, 2005, the company relocated its headquarters from Brampton, Ontario in the Greater Toronto Area to 195 The West Mall in western Toronto, in the former city of Etobicoke. The Brampton offices were sold to media-telecom giant Rogers Communications for C$100 million. The company has other key locations across Canada including its R&D headquarters in Ottawa.
Nortel has significant presence in Europe, Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Nortel delivers network infrastructure and communication services to customers across Asia in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, and Turkey (Nortel owns 53.17% of Nortel Netaş, originally established as a joint venture with Turkish PTT in 1967). In addition, the company has three joint ventures in the People's Republic of China, including Guangdong Nortel Telecommunications Equipment (GDNT), who operates Nortel's full service R&D centres in China.
Former members of the board of directors of the company include:
In late October 2003, Nortel announced that it intended to restate approximately $900M of liabilities carried on its previously reported balance sheet as of June 30, 2003, following a comprehensive internal review of these liabilities (“First Restatement”). The Company stated that the principal effects of the restatement would be a reduction in previously reported net losses for 2000, 2001, and 2002 and an increase in shareholders’ equity and net assets previously reported on its balance sheet.
Nortel unveiled details of additional accounting errors involving billions of dollars and said that a dozen of the company's most senior executives would take the unusual step of returning $8.6 million, millions of dollars of bonuses they were paid based on the erroneous accounting.
At Nortel, investigators ultimately found about $3 billion in revenue had been booked improperly in 1998, 1999, and 2000. More than $2 billion was moved into later years, about $750 million was pushed forward beyond 2003, and about $250 million was wiped away completely.
Five directors stepped down. Nortel's board has faced criticism for allowing the company's accounting fiasco to go on and approving the bonus plans, but none of the five directors were accused of wrongdoing in a company investigation.
Nortel filed with regulators its financial statements for 2003 and restated, for the second time, its results from earlier years. Securities regulators, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the U.S. Attorney's office were conducting probes during this same period.
On June 19, 2008, the RCMP charged Dunn, Beatty, and Gollogly with criminal fraud related to their activities in 2002–2003.
Without admitting or denying the Commission's charges, Nortel agreed to settle the Commission's action by consenting to be permanently enjoined from violating the antifraud, reporting, books and records and internal control provisions of the federal securities laws - namely, Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Sections 10(b), 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A), 13(b)(2)(B) and 13(b)(5) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Exchange Act Rules 10b-5, 12b-20, 13a-1 and 13a-13. Nortel also has agreed to pay a $35 million civil penalty, which the Commission will seek to place in a Fair Fund for distribution to affected shareholders, and to report periodically to the Commission's staff on its progress in implementing remedial measures and resolving an outstanding material weakness over its revenue recognition procedures.
Communications Law Bulletin Special Edition: Nebraska Preempted And Enjoined From Applying State USF To VoIP Services.
Jun 03, 2009; The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the Nebraska federal district court holding that Nebraska was preempted and...