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IN THIS ISSUE:** Bell Launches VoIP Push ** CRTC Invites Comment on Bell VoIP Tariffs ** Broadband Hearing in Whitehorse Today ** Cellcos Consider Number Portability Plan ** 800,000 Phones Still Out on Gulf Coast ** Respondents Added to Telcos' Court Appeal ** Rogers Wants Unbundled Loops From Remotes ** Bell Amends VoIP Tariff re 9-1-1 Calls ** Manitoba Tel CEO to Retire ** ITAC Study Says Canada Lags in ICT ** Vonage Activates Millionth Line ** Videotron Signs 75,000 Phone Subscribers ** New Anik Satellite Goes Aloft ** Ericsson Enables Remote Cellphone Upgrades ** Allstream Wins Via Rail Contract ** Telecom Hall of Fame Gala Grows
BELL LAUNCHES VoIP PUSH: Bell Canada has announced its long-expected response to competition from cablecos and other suppliers of IP-based telephone service. The response involves two offerings:** Digital Voice converts an existing standard phone line to VoIP using facilities in the Bell switching centre. Base price is $40/month, not including long distance. Additional numbers in 23 cities are $4 each.
** Digital Voice Lite is the new name for Bell's previously announced access-independent VoIP service, which requires a high-speed Internet connection. (See Telecom Update #475) Base price is $34/month for local calling and 1,200 minutes of province-wide long distance; Canada-U.S. LD is $5 extra.** Digital Voice is available now in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas. It will be rolled out next in Montreal, and then elsewhere in Ontario and Quebec. Digital Voice Lite, launched last March in three Quebec cities, is now offered across Ontario and Quebec.
CRTC INVITES COMMENT ON BELL VoIP TARIFFS: The CRTC gave interim approval to Bell's Digital Voice and Digital Voice Lite tariffs last week, but allowed the details to remain confidential until September
- Parties now have 25 days to comment.
BROADBAND HEARING IN WHITEHORSE TODAY: The Telecom Policy Review panel is holding a forum on broadband access today in Whitehorse, Yukon, to be followed by an online discussion until September 16. To view presenters' slides or participate in the online discussion, register at the panel's website.
CELLCOS CONSIDER NUMBER PORTABILITY PLAN: The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association says that the Wireless Number Portability Task Force is now considering a draft plan for wireless number portability prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Task Force aims to complete its review and issue guidelines by the end of the month.800,000 PHONES STILL OUT ON GULF COAST: BellSouth says it has restored service to about half of the 1.7 million phone lines that were cut off during Hurricane Katrina. The company estimates the total cost of repairing its network will be US$400 million to $600 million.
** Wireline, wireless, and Internet services have been disrupted; in New Orleans, satellite phones provided the only reliable means of communications.
RESPONDENTS ADDED TO TELCOS' COURT APPEAL: On instructions from the Federal Court, the telcos that want to appeal the CRTC's VoIP decision (see Telecom Update #486) have added Rogers, Shaw, Videotron, Cogeco, EastLink, the Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association, MTS Allstream, and ARCH (a legal resource centre for persons with disabilities) as respondents to their application. The respondents may now file opposing arguments.
ROGERS WANTS UNBUNDLED LOOPS FROM REMOTES: Rogers Telecom has asked the CRTC to order Bell Canada to make unbundled loops available in areas served by remote switches. Rogers says Bell is refusing to install the necessary equipment, resulting in up to nine months' delay in Rogers' ability to offer service in new areas.
BELL AMENDS VoIP TARIFF RE 9-1-1 CALLS: Bell Canada has amended the tariff for its Managed IP Telephony service (see Telecom Update #442) to spell out limitations on how 9-1-1 calls are handled.
MANITOBA TEL CEO TO RETIRE: Bill Fraser plans to retire as CEO of Manitoba Telecom next year; the telco has begun a search for a successor. Fraser led MTS in its purchase of Allstream last year, which transformed the telco into Canada's third-largest national carrier.
ITAC STUDY SAYS CANADA LAGS IN ICT: A study prepared for the Information Technology Association of Canada finds that the average investment per worker in Information and Communications Technology in2003 was US$1,332 in Canada, less than half of the U.S. figure.
VONAGE ACTIVATES MILLIONTH LINE: Internet telephony provider Vonage Holdings says it has more than one million subscribers in North America. Its Canadian subscriber total has not been made public.
VIDEOTRON SIGNS 75,000 PHONE SUBSCRIBERS: Videotron Ltee says it signed its 75,000th cable telephone subscriber during August. The cableco aims to provide 349,000 phone lines customers by the end of next year.
NEW ANIK SATELLITE GOES ALOFT: Telesat Canada's Anik F1R satellite has been successfully launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan. It will provide telecom and broadcasting services, including direct-to-home satellite television, and enhanced global positioning for aviation use in Canada and the U.S.
ERICSSON ENABLES REMOTE CELLPHONE UPGRADES: Rogers Wireless is the first Canadian cellco, and one of the first in the world, to provide automatic remote configuration and software updates to its customers' cellphones, using technology from Ericsson.
ALLSTREAM WINS VIA RAIL CONTRACT: Allstream has signed a three-year contract with Via Rail Canada to provide voice and data services to call centres, train stations, and administrative offices.
TELECOM HALL OF FAME GALA GROWS: The dinner and celebration announcing the first laureates in Canada's new Telecommunications Hall of Fame has been moved to a larger hall in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The gala will be held Monday October 17, as part of Telemanagement Live, Canada's premier business telecom and networking event.** For more information, or to register, go to
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