Alcatel is setting up a joint research venture in Chennai, India, with the Center for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), a telecommunications research organization in Delhi run by the Indian government.

On Friday, the Indian government approved the setting up of the C-DOT Alcatel Research Center in Chennai in south India with an equity base of US$49 million. Alcatel, in Paris, will hold 51 percent of the equity in the joint venture.

The new research centre will work on broadband wireless, initially looking at WiMax technology for rural areas. The Indian government expects the technology will lead to faster implementation of government, education, health, agriculture and telemedicine initiatives in the rural sector. The products developed, which will be WiMax-compliant, will be marketed worldwide.

The centre will be set up within three months, and will operate as a private company.

Alcatel has a long association with the Indian government, as a technology collaborator with ITI, a Bangalore-based telecommunications equipment maker majority-owned by the government. C-DOT was set up in 1984 to design digital telephone exchanges and other technologies, and to help local industry manufacture them.