Bell consortium beats out Telus–Alberta leapfrogs federal gov’t in bid to bring broadband to every community

The Alberta government’s decision last week to award a $193-million infrastructure contract to a Bell Intrigna-led consortium and $163-million service contract to two Bell affiliates has given BCE Inc the network and customer base it needs to aggressively compete on the home turf of its biggest rival.

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CNm People

Sheridan Scott, chief regulatory officer at Bell Canada, has been appointed chair of the board and of the executive committee of the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA). Scott has been representing Bell on the ICRA board since the company became a member in September 1999. She has a lengthy history of involvement in regulatory affairs in the Canadian broadcast and telecommunications sectors.

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CNM Short Takes

Filament Communications promotes new service
Ottawa’s Filament Communications, formerly Animatics, has launched a new Usability Consulting Group. The service, which offers end-user research and testing from the early stages of site-building, is being promoted with a new direct marketing campaign in the U.S. and Canada. Paper mock ups feature prominently in the process, which is designed to detect flaws in web sites before going to launch.

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YTV says Internet access up 36% in 2000 over 1999 among “tweeners” demographic

A new survey by popular children’s television station YTV is bearing out the predictions of many forecasters by saying the Internet cohort is growing and that younger kids are comfortable multi-tasking and incorporating the Internet into their daily activities.

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Tax treatment for artists especially pressing for new media workers: CCA

The Canadian Conference of the Arts is hoping a Nov. 22 meeting of national arts service organizations will resolve a long-standing dispute over how artists are taxed. The CCA argues that the current taxation regime penalizes artistic workers, and hinders Canada’s ability to compete at a grassroots level in the creation of new media and other cultural content.

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Opposition to JumpTV.com intensifies as broadcasters form new media coalition

JumpTV.com has until Nov. 10 to respond to a flood of objections to its request for an Internet-specific retransmission tariff. Canada’s broadcast community and rights-holders have banded together to stop the proposed tariff, arguing that a key section of the country’s copyright should specifically exclude companies such as iCraveTV.com and JumpTV, and bring Canadian law into what it says is the Western world’s norm.

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Telefilm fund nears 50% rate for defaulted loans; industry calls for new model

Telefilm Canada is preparing to write-off 45 per cent – or $4.1 million – of paid out over the past two years from its $30-million multimedia fund, citing the high-risk nature of the industry for the high default rate. The figures, released last month as part of Telefilm’s 1999-2000 annual report, will give the new media industry additional ammunition in its battle to have the multimedia fund converted from a loan-based to an equity-based model. Industry leaders have long complained that government loans do little to help fledgling new media companies leverage additional capital, and have lobbied vociferously for a fundamental change in how money is doled out.

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