RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Nortel’s efforts in the Internet Protocol television market are about to get a major boost, according to Light Reading, a news Web site that closely follows the networking industry.

Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor for Light Reading, reported Wednesday that Nortel is preparing to make acquisitions related to IPTV. Le Maistre cited sources in Paris for his report.

IPTV, a rapidly emerging standard for the delivery of TV over IP-based networks and a means for telephone companies to counter cable television, has been one of the major areas stressed for development by Nortel Chief Executive Officer Mike Zafirovski. He spelled out IPTV as a key part of Nortel’s strategic plan in February of last year.

Nortel is also striving to distribute IPTV-based content over WiMAX wireless broadband networks. WiMAX is another major point of emphasis for Zafirovski.

Nortel, which employs more than 2,000 people at its RTP campus, has an IPTV lab in the Triangle.

Nortel’s recently improved financial position also has led Zafirovski to talk more about making acquisitions. He told Reuters in a recent interview that the networking giant was stable enough for such deals.

The IPTV sector could be where Zafirovski makes his move.

“Experienced IPTV executives, who requested anonymity, say the Canadian giant has decided the only way to make any headway in the IPTV market, one of the key areas of development identified by CEO Mike Zafirovski in February 2006, is to own some of the key enabling technology,” Le Maistre wrote at Light Reading.

“You have to be seen to be committed to the market," he quoted one executive as saying. “Look at Alcatel-Lucent, Siemens Communications Group with its Myrio acquisition, and Microsoft Corp. These companies show a lot of commitment to IPTV with resources and have backing and involvement right up to the top levels of management, with big-name individuals closing deals. So far, Nortel hasn’t shown that sort of commitment, but some acquisitions would change that.”

Nortel is working with Microsoft on a number of IP-related products.