Business phone rates fall across Canada as telcos implement rate rebalancing

The move to rebalance Canada's telephone rates is officially underway, and the main beneficiaries will be business customers who for decades have paid inflated rates to subsidize the cost of residential service. The telcos and the CRTC are now working towards reducing that subsidy – albeit gradually – and to bring local rates closer in line with actual costs.

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Americans give Canada failing grade for maintaining contribution subsidies

The battle over contribution has spilled into the United States, with AT&T Corp using its influence in Washing-ton to promote the interests of its Canadian subsidiary, AT&T Canada. Early this month, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued its annual review of telecommunications trade agreements under section 1377 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act. Analyzing nine countries, the report cited the payment system in this country as cause for concern.

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CNM People

Paul Braconnier, president of Vicom Multimedia Inc, has been appointed to the company's board of directors. The board also accepted the resignation of Barry Chugg from the board, although he will continue as VP of the Edmonton-based company.

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CNM Short Takes

Canada pushes for global e-com standard
Canada is among the countries pushing for an international standard for e-commerce, in hopes that it will encourage more Canadians to embrace online shopping.
On March 29, Industry Minister John Manley released the Canadian Standards Strategy, an eight-page document that outlines, in general terms, the direction Canada should take in developing standards for protecting health, safety and the environment, as well as promoting trade and economic competitiveness. Of interest to industry is a suggestion in the document that standardization – particularly voluntary standards – can help reduce the costs of regulation. In announcing the strategy, Manley singled out e-commerce as one area where Canada hopes to persuade other countries to adopt international standards.
The Standards Council of Canada will now work to develop an implementation plan, which will outline how the strategy is to proceed.

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Feds give Heritage more money for digitizing new and archival cultural content

Canadian Heritage is spending $20 million over the next year to digitize Canada's cultural history and to develop new online content. The first details of the program were released last week as part of the federal department's budget estimates for the current fiscal year (Part III – Report on Plans and Priorities).

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