Bell Canada, Call-Net win one, lose one in winback disputeThe CRTC last week ruled in favour of Call-Net Enterprises Inc. in a dispute with Bell Canada over winback rules – Telecom Decision 2002-73. The CLEC complained that the incumbent was targeting subscribers before the switch to the new carrier was completed. The commission dismissed another Call-Net application involving Bell and Bell Nexxia attempting to win back resellers – Telecom Decision 2002-74 (NL, Jan. 14/02). Telecom foreign investment review to run into springWalt Lastewka, chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, tells Network Letter that the committee will be unable to conclude its review of foreign investment rules in telecom by February (NL, Dec. 2/02). A likelier target is late March or early April. Full details from an interview with Lastewka will be published in the next issue of Network Letter. Meanwhile, a group of trade unions has reiterated its opposition to changes in the ownership regime. VarTec sues BCE over Excel saleVarTec Telecom Inc. has launched a lawsuit against BCE Inc., BCE Ventures Inc. and Ventures president Bill Anderson over the sale of Excel Communications. The Texas company claims the Canadian telecom misrepresented the fiscal situation that Excel was in when VarTec bought it last April. BCE says it will fight the suit. More support for AT&T Canada appealUpper Canada Networks has sided with AT&T Canada in its appeal to Cabinet over the CRTC’s price cap ruling. UCNet CEO Vic Allen says the CLEC was able to provide service when Bell Canada refused to. The appeal has sparked lively debate among telecom companies (NL, Nov. 19/02). CRTC seeks comments on payphonesThe CRTC is inviting comments on access to payphone service, including access by the disabled – Telecom Public Notice 2002-6. This is a follow-up from the provisions of the price cap decision. Meanwhile, northern ILEC Northwestel is spending $200,000 to upgrade its payphones. Canada Payphone releases 2002 financialsCanada Payphone Corp. has issued its fourth quarter and 2002 fiscal year results. The company’s annual loss was cut massively from the previous year, and registered at $974,874 in 2002 as opposed to $1.7 million in 2001. The Vancouver company has also signed a three-year operator service deal with Telus. CRTC answers Telus questions on CDNAThe CRTC has responded to a series of requests filed by Telus Communications Inc. over the proceeding on competitor digital network access – Telecom Decision 2002-75. The western telco had submitted seven questions about the process. The commission dismissed the petitions, but did set out a revised hearing schedule. CRTC to investigate cable modems for third-party accessThe CRTC has established a proceeding to resolve several issues around third-party access to cable modems – Telecom Public Notice 2002-7. It has put forth six questions to be studied. Much of the discussion revolves around the adoption of the DOCSIS system for cable carriage. BCE completes purchase of Bell minority stake, sale of directoriesBCE Inc. has finalized the buyback of the remaining 16% stake SBC Communications Inc. held in Bell Canada for $4.99 billion. The company has also completed the sale of its directory division to KKR and the Teachers’ Merchant Bank. It has also reached a claims identification process under the plan of arrangement of its Bell Canada International subsidiary. Persona restructures, eliminates 28 jobsPersona Communications Inc. is merging its Central and Northern operating divisions, resulting in the closing of the Central Division’s Montreal office and consolidating operations to the Northern Division’s base in Sudbury. The move will result in the elimination of 28 jobs. The company is expected to take a charge of $500,000 in the second quarter because of the move. Manitoba Tel confirms 2003 guidanceManitoba Telecom Services Inc. has confirmed its financial guidance for 2003. Much of the announcement explains how the restructuring of Bell West affects the prairie ILEC. Baseline operations, which do not include Bell West, are projected to increase by 3% to 6%. PIAC wants others to pay Group Telecom shareThe Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) has filed a review and vary application with the CRTC seeking to change the terms of Telecom Costs Order 2002-2 and Telecom Costs Order 2002-9. The orders had mandated GT Group Telecom Inc. to pay a percentage of PIAC’s costs. Since Group Telecom is under creditor protection, PIAC wants the other respondents to make up whatever part of the nearly $6,000 bill that Group Telecom cannot pay. Vidéotron Telecom settles with unionVidéotron Telecom Inc. has reached an agreement with members of the Confédération des syndicats nationaux, which represents the company’s support staff. The five-year deal provides a 10% wage hike over the course of the contract. The 92 workers involved voted 75% to ratify the new contract. Cogeco highlights huge jump in Internet subscriptionsAt its annual general meeting last week in Toronto, Cogeco Cable Inc. highlighted strong growth in high-speed Internet subscriptions in fiscal 2002. As previously reported in its year-end results in October, high-speed Internet subscribers increased by 47% in the year ended Aug. 31, 2002 to reach 158,192. The cableco recently deployed a high-speed "lite" service (NL, Nov. 4/02). Time running out for Telus calendarsTelus Corp. has indicated that it can no longer afford to supply its staff with free desk calendars. The Telecommunications Workers Union has stepped into the breach by offering its own calendars. The union version will feature labour history and photos of members at work.