Nortel customers staying the course - for now

Nortel customers staying the course - for now

Existing deployments will continue despite uncertainty

Nortel's enterprise customers plan to stand pat while the company navigates the turbulent waters of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The International Nortel Networks Users Association (INNUA) issued a statement saying it backed Nortel's decision to file for bankruptcy protection Wednesday and believes it will result in a stronger enterprise focus.

Read an FAQ about what this all means.

"INNUA's members are dedicated Nortel customers who will continue to support the reliable Nortel solutions they have in place," the organization said in a statement. "INNUA believes Nortel's decision will afford the company the opportunity to truly focus on strengthening the business to meet Nortel customers' current and future communications needs."

INNUA President Steve Ford said the filing came as a surprise.

"We've all read the media on what's been going on but it's always surprising, even when you anticipate that something's coming, that it actually does happen," he says. "But I think they'll emerge from this doing fine."

"We see it as a necessary move and a well-timed decision," adds INNUA Executive Director Victor Bohnert. "It will afford them the limited time in protection so they can restructure their organization and ultimately come out of this stronger than when they went into it."

Bruce Meyer, director of network services at ProMedica Health System in Toledo, Ohio, plans to chart Nortel's course through Chapter 11 before making any decisions.

"We've got the same support contracts and the same equipment we've had all along," he says. "We are in the midst of a VoIP rollout at one of our bigger hospitals but that's already paid for equipment. Just because they declared bankruptcy doesn't mean we got to go out and figure out how we're going to fund a multimillion dollar swap-out of Nortel equipment. We'll watch it real closely like everybody else."

Meyer said he is not yet considering alternative suppliers and hasn't yet been approached by any Nortel competitors enticing ProMedica to jump ship.

"Even if Nortel says, 'That's it, we're closing our doors Feb. 1,' that doesn't mean that the equipment stops working or you don't get maintenance from other places," he says. "It's not like your network plug is being yanked out of the wall."

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