Pirelli selects Atlanta to develop new broadband technologies


The Italian company will also establish its new North American Headquarters in Georgia, where it has an historical presence in tyres

Atlanta, 22 September 2005 - Pirelli and Georgia Tech signed a five-year strategic R&D partnership to develop new optical components and systems and broadband access technologies for future high-speed telecommunications networks. The agreement was announced today by Governor Sonny Perdue and representatives from both the Italian company and the prestigious Georgia research institute.

Pirelli and scientists from the Georgia Electronic Design Center (GEDC) at Georgia Tech will study a new generation of integrated optical systems based on nanotechnologies and solutions for advanced home networking. Atlanta will become the North American operational branch of Pirelli Labs, the advanced research center of the Group based in Milan and founded in 2001 with an investment of $166 million, specializing in broadband access and second generation photonics. Pirelli will also consolidate all of its North American corporate staff activities in the new Atlanta center, including the headquarters of Pirelli Broadband Solutions, a new company that engineers and markets the innovations conceived in Pirelli Labs. This alliance positions Georgia to become a world-class center of research excellence in photonics and broadband technologies.

"Pirelli already has a great history here in Georgia, with tire facilities in Rome," said Governor Perdue. I am very proud that this great company has chosen Georgia as their new North American headquarters location and also selected Georgia as the home of their new company Pirelli Broadband Solutions. Pirellis selection of Georgia as its new home for the broadband business was driven by their recognition of the value of proximity to Georgia Techs Electronic Design Center (GEDC), recognized worldwide as the leading academic research laboratory in high- speed communications electronics." Under the agreement, visiting scientists from both organizations will work in Georgia Tech laboratories and in the clean rooms of Pirelli Labs near Milan, with advanced facilities devoted to research and development of optical components for telecommunications based on nanotechnologies and occupy about 54,000 square feet in the Pirelli Labs building.

Pirelli's location in Atlanta will initially include laboratory space at the GEDC in the Technology Square Research Building at Georgia Tech, as well as additional headquarters office space next door in the Centergy One building. Pirelli's initial team will consist of executive, engineering, scientific, marketing and sales professionals.

"We are excited at the reception we have received in Georgia and the cooperation at all levels from the governor, his staff and the university system," said Kevin Riddett, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pirelli North America, Inc. "By combining the respective know-how, Pirelli Labs and Georgia Tech will be able to develop new cutting-edge broadband access and optical technologies for the North American market. We view our partnership with GEDC as a major strategic asset in our future broadband activities,"added Giorgio Grasso, CEO of Pirelli Labs Optical Innovation.

Pirelli, a pioneer in photonics worldwide, is among the world's leaders and innovators in a number of fields, including its key markets of tires and telecommunications systems.

"Today's announcement indicates that we are making great progress in establishing Georgia as a hot spot in the world of electronic design," said Craig Lesser, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. "We set out to make Georgia a world leader in the design of high-speed communications systems, devices and chips, and Pirelli's location here takes us one step closer to achieving that vision."

News of Pirelli's decision demonstrates the effect that Georgia Tech can have on the state's economy, noted Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough.

"We are excited that an innovative company like Pirelli has chosen to locate at Tech Square in partnership with GDEC. This outcome reflects the power of linking Georgia Tech's research and educational assets with those of the State of Georgia to help build the state technology sector in a time when competition for such jobs comes not only from other states, but other nations as well."

Download the press release (PDF, 18Kb)