IPSWICH, England, Sept. 22 -- In a move consistent with its pledge to quadruple its ability to manufacture fiber optic products over the next two years, Agilent Technologies Inc. has announced plans to build a $20-million fiber optic R&D facility. The 80,000 sq ft building will be constructed as an addition to Agilent's Ipswich Components Operation (ICO) facility in Ipswich, England, and will be finished by December of next year, Agilent said. Agilent will hire about 500 new employees -- mostly in the areas of engineering and R&D -- to work at the new facility. Agilent hopes to develop new products and refine existing ones with the new investment. Agilent's 178,000 sq ft ICO facility -- part of the company's Fiber Optic Communications Division -- is where Agilent designs, develops and manufactures optoelectronic communications components for the world market. Since Agilent split from Hewlett-Packard Co. last year, its ICO unit has hired 150 new employees, brining its total to more than 1000 not including this most recent expansion.