Telecom Update (Canada) #477, April 15, 2005

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Number 477: April 15, 2005

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** Ottawa Announces Telecom Review Panel ** Rogers, Bell to Launch Cellphone TV ** Two New CRTC Commissioners Named ** Businesses Urged to Begin 10-Digit Conversion ** Bell Offers Accelerated Dialup ** Aurora Cable to Launch Phone Service ** Global Telecom Spending Up 9.4% ** CRTC Okays Bell "Dry Copper" DSL Offering ** Telus-Shaw Dispute on Hold Until VoIP Decision ** Cisco Buys Server Switch Maker ** Verizon Gets 13% of MCI ** European Businesses Offered Flat-Rate IP Calling ** Nortel to Miss 1Q Reports Deadline ** RIM Lines Up Suppliers in Israel ** Telecom Coalition Launches Website ** Cogeco Revenue, Profit Rise ** Shaw Net Income Up 87% ** Wireless Industry Leaders to Address Calgary Conference

OTTAWA ANNOUNCES TELECOM REVIEW PANEL: Industry Minister David Emerson this week confirmed the appointment of a three-person Telecom Policy Review Panel, to report by the end of 2005. As we reported in Telecom Update #475, the panel members are Gerri Sinclair, former head of Microsoft's; Hank Intven, former Executive Director Telecom at the CRTC, now a partner at McCarthy Tetrault; and Andre Tremblay, former CEO of Microcell Telecommunications.

** The panel has been asked to make recommendations that will improve Canada's competitiveness, including the telecom regulatory framework, access to advanced telecom services (including high-speed connectivity), and adoption of information and communications technology.

** The panel will receive submissions from interested parties, hold public consultation, and commission reports on some specific issues.

** Industry Canada says it is already addressing several policy issues that can be fixed in the shorter term, including telemarketing, wireless number portability, and giving the CRTC fining authority.

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ROGERS, BELL TO LAUNCH CELLPHONE TV: Rogers Wireless and Bell Mobility are preparing to launch television service over their cellular networks. Both will use MobiTV, a Java application that has already been deployed by some U.S. cellular carriers.

** Rogers Mobile Television will offer eight to ten channels by the end of June for a promotional price of $9 a month plus data charges.

** Bell says it will launch in early May with about a dozen channels for $10 a month plus data charges.

TWO NEW CRTC COMMISSIONERS NAMED: Heritage Minister Liza Frulla this week announced the appointment of two new CRTC commissioners: Elizabeth Duncan, an accountant and former cable industry executive in Nova Scotia, and Helen Ray del Val, a former senior counsel with BC Tel. They will represent the Atlantic and Pacific regions, respectively.

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** Denis Carmel, CRTC Director General Communications, will be leaving the Commission staff this spring or summer to take a post elsewhere in the civil service. He will stay at the CRTC until a replacement is named.

BUSINESSES URGED TO BEGIN 10-DIGIT CONVERSION: Ten-digit local dialing will officially begin in Area Codes 519, 613,

450, 514, and 819 in June 2006, but a coalition of carriers in the affected areas says that in most cases 10-digit dialing works now. They are urging businesses to begin reprogramming equipment now. See
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for details.

BELL OFFERS ACCELERATED DIALUP: Bell Canada now offers a free service, Dial-Up Accelerator, that it says makes dialup access speeds up to five times faster. The technology is from Waterloo, Ontario-based SlipStream Data.

AURORA CABLE TO LAUNCH PHONE SERVICE: Aurora Cable Internet plans to provide "full-service standard-feature" phone service by July 1 in its serving area north of Toronto. Aurora will resell PSTN local loops provided by FCI Broadband and is also working with FCI to develop a Voice over IP service.

GLOBAL TELECOM SPENDING UP 9.4%: Dublin-based Research and Markets says that worldwide telecommunications revenue totaled US$2.1 trillion in 2004, up 9.4% from 2003. The U.S. market accounted for over one-third of global telecom spending.


2005-144, the CRTC approves an amendment to Bell Canada's Gateway Access tariff that will allow competitors to use Bell unbundled loops to provide high-speed access to end customers who don't subscribe to any voice service over the loop. Bell says it has had "many requests for this capability."

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TELUS-SHAW DISPUTE ON HOLD UNTIL VOIP DECISION: The CRTC says that it will deal with Telus's complaint against Shaw (that the cableco's telephone service does not comply with its CLEC obligations -- see Telecom Update #475) after the Commission releases its VoIP decision, due by May 12.

CISCO BUYS SERVER SWITCH MAKER: Cisco Systems has agreed to buy Topspin Communications, a five-year-old maker of high- performance "server fabric switches" used in grid computing, for US$250 million in cash and share options. When the deal is completed, Topspin will become part of Cisco's Data Center, Switching, and Wireless Technology Group.

VERIZON GETS 13% OF MCI: Verizon Communications has purchased the 13.4% stake in MCI held by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu, paying $2 more per share than it is offering other MCI shareholders in a public takeover bid. Verizon has also filed a registration statement confirming its plan to buy all of the long distance carrier for US$7.6 billion.

EUROPEAN BUSINESSES OFFERED FLAT-RATE IP CALLING: Colt Telecom Group plc has launched IP telephony service for businesses in Austria, Belgium, France, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and UK. It offers unlimited local, national, and international calls within those countries for a flat rate of

24.50 euros per user, per month.

NORTEL TO MISS 1Q REPORTS DEADLINE: Nortel Networks says it will file its first-quarter financial report by the end of May, missing the deadline set by Canadian and U.S. security regulators. The 2004 annual report is to be filed in April.

RIM LINES UP SUPPLIERS IN ISRAEL: Continuing its run of BlackBerry marketing agreements, Research In Motion announced deals April 14 with Cellcom Israel and Partner Communications, which together have 4.7 million subscribers in Israel.

TELECOM COALITION LAUNCHES WEBSITE: The Coalition for Competitive Telecommunications has launched a website to provide information on its policy initiatives and activities.

** The site provides details on the previously announced Business Telecom Networking Dinners the Coalition will hold in conjunction the 2005 Canadian Telecom Summit (May 30) and the Telemanagement Live 2005 conference and trade show (October 18).

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COGECO REVENUE, PROFIT RISE: Cogeco Cable reports sales for the three months ending February 28 of $55.3 million, 9.7% more than a year earlier. Net income was $5.6 million, up from $0.6 million. Cogeco added a net 12,781 Internet customers.

** CEO Louis Audet says Cogeco's forthcoming Internet phone service will not match Videotron's pricing ($16-$30 a month), which he calls "needlessly low."

SHAW NET INCOME UP 87%: Shaw Communications' profit for the three months ended February 28 was $32.1 million, an 87% increase over the same period a year ago. Service revenue of $550 million was up 7.1%. Shaw gained 32,539 Internet customers, a 3% increase.

WIRELESS INDUSTRY LEADERS TO ADDRESS CALGARY CONFERENCE: Wireless Communications 2005, to be held in Calgary May

17-18, will feature addresses by noted U.S. analyst Andrew Seybold and executives of Virgin Mobile Canada, Vonage Canada, Rogers Wireless, and Research In Motion. For information:
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John Riddell
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