Cabinet dismisses AT&T Canada appeal of price cap decisionIndustry minister Allan Rock announced last week that the federal Cabinet has decided to reject AT&T Canada’s appeal of the CRTC’s price cap decision. He called on the commission, which comes under the purview of Canadian Heritage minister Sheila Copps, to be vigilant in promoting competition in the telecom sector. The CLEC said it was disappointed in the ruling, but happy that the government stands behind the notion of competition. Vidéotron labour dispute settled after 10 monthsA bitter 10-month strike at Quebec cable company Vidéotron ltée has been settled, with workers voting 77.6% in favour of a new five-year contract. There will be pay increases following a three-year wage freeze and some layoffs through attrition. The deal, which was shepherded by former Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard, brings to an end a battle marred by violence and vandalism. CRTC calls for comments on QoS rate adjustment planThe CRTC has issued Telecom Public Notice 2003-3, which looks at the retail quality of service rate adjustment plan and other issues. It also wants to determine the proper methodology for auditing ILECs on their reporting procedures. The first round of comments must be filed by May 16. AT&T Canada to emerge from bankruptcy protection on April 1AT&T Canada, which expects to emerge from bankruptcy protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act on April 1, has released details on its distribution to bondholders and other creditors. A total of $233 million is available for distribution along with over 1 million Class A voting shares and nearly 19 million Class B limited voting shares. No single creditor can hold more than 10% of the Class A shares. Call-Net and Bell settle LSR complaintCall-Net Enterprises Inc. and Bell Canada have resolved a dispute over Bell’s handling of local service requests. Jean Brazeau, Call-Net’s senior VP regulatory and strategic partnerships, tells Network Letter that "Bell has been very cooperative on this issue." The CLEC had filed a Part VII application with the CRTC over the matter (NL Update, Feb. 3/03). SaskTel, MTS to offer video-on-demandNetwork Letter affiliate publication Canadian Communications Reports reported last week that SaskTel has filed an application with the CRTC to offer video-on-demand (VOD) as part of its digital TV service, which is available in 10 communities in the province. Manitoba Telecom Services Inc., which deployed its digital TV service commercially in a small area of Winnipeg in January, is in the process of preparing its own application to the regulator to offer VOD. The applications are in response a dispute between the telcos and the licensed pay-per-view provider in Western Canada, owned by the telcos’ rival Shaw Communications Inc., that has prevented SaskTel and MTS from offering pay-per-view services as part of their digital TV services. The disputes are the subject of separate complaints filed by the telcos with the CRTC. For the complete story, read the March 27, 2003 issue of CCR. VoiceIQ introduces voice-to-text automation serviceMontreal’s VoiceIQ Inc. has unveiled an audio file management and transcription service called NetScribe. The product helps clients store and transcribe digital audio files. The company has also completed $175,000 in financing and plans to raise an additional $325,000. Changes to SaskTel 911 service approvedIn Telecom Decision 2003-20, the CRTC approved revisions to SaskTel’s tariff for enhanced 911 service. The ruling brings the ILEC under the provisions of Decision 99-17, implemented when the provincial telco was still outside CRTC jurisdiction. The commission also approved the company’s standard 911 agreement and standard agreement for providing manual access to the automatic location identification database. Ontario college launches semiconductor processing labToronto’s George Brown College is introducing a semiconductor processing laboratory at its campus. The $9-million project is a joint private-public sector venture. The Ontario government provided $3.5 million of the funding. EXFO wins US$1.6-million contractEXFO Electro-Optical Engineering Inc. of Quebec City has been awarded a US$1.6 million contract to supply protocol-layer test equipment. The customer is an unnamed Tier 1 network service provider in the United States. EXFO has been targeting this sector of the marketplace for about two years. PILC awarded costs for BTS workThe CRTC has awarded the Public Interest Law Centre costs for its work in the Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s Part VII application on basic toll service (NL, Sept. 10/02). Telecom Costs Order 2003-4 directs Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. to pay PILC $713 for its research. The ILECs had argued against the awarding of costs. INTERNATIONAL NEWS U.S. institutes Do Not Call registryThe Federal Trade Commission has ordered telemarketers to start using its national Do Not Call list in October. Consumers may ask to be included in the registry beginning in July. The registry was approved last winter after overcoming Congressional objections (NL, Jan. 13/03). Lucent inks DSL deal with SprintLucent Technologies has renewed its contract with Sprint’s local telecom section to provide DSL systems. Sprint will deploy a Lucent platform in remote digital loop carrier cabinets, expanding its DSL reach. The system will be rolled out nationally. Motorola close to taking full ownership of Next LevelMotorola Inc. will likely succeed in buying the 26% of Next Level Communications Inc. it did not already own after the Next Level board recommended shareholders accept the company’s increased offer. Having been rebuffed in January, Motorola sweetened its offer to US$1.18 per share, a jump of 13.5% from the original offer. Shareholders now have until April 11 to accept the offer. Next Level supplies Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. with VDSL equipment for its digital TV service, which launched commercially in a small area of Winnipeg in January. Anti-abortion activists form telecom companyChristian conservatives in the United States have created Pro Life Communications, a reseller of local and LD services. Recently, the Christian Coalition of America sent an email to its two million members suggesting they sign up with the telecom carrier. Last year, Pro Life dispersed US$225,000 to various conservative causes.