BCE buyback of SBC shares to be finalized next monthBCE Inc. has announced that its purchase of SBC Communications Inc.’s stake in its Bell Canada subsidiary will be completed by early December, which is earlier than previously expected. It will buy the 16% it does not currently hold for just under $5 billion. BCE earlier purchased a 4% stake from the Texas-based telco. Group Telecom to announce winning bidder this weekGT Group Telecom Inc. announced it is negotiating with the leading bidder for its assets. The talks should conclude by Friday, Nov. 15. The company continues to operate under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. AT&T Canada to operate independantly of AT&T Corp.When AT&T Canada Corp. completes its restructuring, American telco AT&T Corp. will have no equity in the company, AT&T Canada disclosed last week. Previous plans had the U.S. firm holding a minority stake in the Canadian CLEC. For the third quarter of this year, AT&T Canada reported decreases in revenues for data and Internet and LD services, but an increase in local service revenue. Telus increasing number of job cutsIn releasing its third quarter financial results last week, Telus Corp. announced it was amending its employee reduction total from 6,000 positions to 6,500. The decline in total revenue in Q3 from the same period a year earlier was attributed to changes in the contribution and price cap regimes. Telus’ high-speed Internet subscriber base grew to 367,000 subscribers at September 30. PCNet International files plan of arrangementPCNet International Inc. has filed a plan of arrangement for itself and its subsidiaries. It will send the material out by Thursday, Nov. 14 and expects to hold a creditor’s meeting on December 4. The Vancouver ISP also announced that it is expanding its Internet Fundraiser Program, which has been used in the past by groups such as the Big Brothers Big Sisters. CRTC changes telecom cost awards procedureThe CRTC has ditched its old system of fixing costs in the cost awards process in a separate proceeding – Telecom Public Notice 2002-5. It will now set the amount of costs when it actually awards the costs. In exceptional circumstances, it will still use the taxation process. CRTC poses questions in Vidéotron-Bell disputeThe CRTC has given a list of eight questions to Bell Canada regarding the provision of fibre optic private networks. Vidéotron Télécom ltée has filed a submission against Bell Canada and Bell Nexxia on access to the networks. The commission wants to see copies of the agreement between the two BCE subsidiaries and has follow-up questions. SuperNet gets fibre from 360networks, AlcatelBell West has bought dark fibre from 360networks Inc. to be used in the Alberta SuperNet. Axia SuperNet Ltd. is buying optical fibre from Alcatel to be deployed in the Alberta grid. Bell West and Axia are the primary builders of the backbone network. CRTC adjusts Aliant business line rateThe CRTC has approved a review and vary of its September 3 ruling on Aliant Telecom Inc.’s business single-line access service rates – Telecom Order 2002-413. The original order hiked the rate in New Brunswick by $3, but the telco said that could be in conflict with the provisions of the price cap decision. The commission agreed and has changed the tariff schedule. Bell Canada to move subscribers in exchange boundaryBell Canada will be permitted to serve 14 subscribers in the Streetsville ON exchange, even though they will soon be in the Brampton exchange because of changes in the local boundary. AT&T Canada Corp. had asked for a delay, saying it needed more information. The CRTC disagreed and allowed the switch to proceed – Telecom Decision 2002-69. Vidéotron launches high-speed "lite" serviceQuebec cable operator Vidéotron ltée is the last of the "big four" Canadian cablecos to introduce a high-speed "lite" Internet access service (NL, Nov. 4/02). The cableco has quietly launched a basic cable Internet service, which provides three email addresses and speeds twice as fast as 56 kbps. As part of a limited-time offer, the service is available for $24.95/month with a 12-month subscription, including cable modem rental and free installation. Telesat celebrates 30th anniversaryTelesat Canada is marking its pearl anniversary, as it was 30 years ago that the initial Anik A1 satellite was launched. Since then, the company has set another 13 satellites into space and ranks among the top 10 satellite firms in the world. Its 14th satellite launch is scheduled for next month.