$35-million digital service expansion on tap by AliantAliant Mobility will invest $35 million to expand digital wireless service across Atlantic Canada through the second half of 2003, the company announced. Dozens of centres across Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador and Nova Scotia are set to receive the upgrade. Calgary’s Wireless City initiative unveils Wi-Fi deploymentThe Calgary Wireless Cluster’s Wireless City initiative has unveiled its hotspot project, a network of four Internet access zones in the city’s core. Not only will consumers be able to test the service for free, wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) can tap into the network to offer services to their subscribers.Richard Belzil, director Wireless City at Calgary Technologies, explains, “With the wireless city program, we were really looking at promoting technologies that are developed in the market and giving them an opportunity to showcase (their wares).”Telus Mobility and NetWireless are currently the only two WISPs inter-connected to the Wireless City network. Belzil says he is in talks with several others but declined to provide names until the deals are done.Be sure to check out the next issue of Report on Wireless for more details on the Wireless City initiative.Wi-LAN expands distribution channel in Nordic countriesWi-LAN Inc. has inked an agreement with Finland-based Radionet Ltd. to market its broadband fixed wireless access products in Finland and other Nordic countries. Radionet will market Wi-LAN’s products to telecommunications operators, ISPs, enterprises and systems integrators.“Wi-LAN has seen success in this market, and we are very pleased to build on that success with the support of our new partner, Radionet,” Nico Roelofsen, Wi-LAN’s VP global sales, said in a news release.Radionet will market WI-LAN’s BWS, LIBRA, AWE, Ultima3 and VIP product families.In other Wi-LAN news, the company announced that it has received a first payment of $1.4 million from an $8.8-million research and development investment agreement through Technology Partnerships Canada. The loan is to help the company develop next-generation wireless technologies. Future payments will be made on a quarterly basis.R&D spending dropped nearly 9% in 2002Spending on research and development activities dropped 8.7% in 2002, decreasing from $11.9 billion in 2001 to $10.9 billion, according to Research Infosource Inc.’s Canada’s Top 100 Corporate R&D Spenders List 2003. Nortel Networks Corp. continues to hold down first place with 2002 fiscal year R&D spending topping the $3.5-billion mark despite a drop in R&D investment of nearly 30%.However, there is good news. If Nortel is removed from the list, R&D spending actually increased 6.7%. The Communications/Telecommunications Equipment sector had the highest level of spending, ahead of the Pharmaceutical/Biotechnology and the Software and Computer Services sectors.CSI Wireless sells products into commercial marine marketMarport ehf has made a multi-million dollar purchase of GPS products from Calgary-based CSI Wireless Inc. The Iceland-based company, which also has operations in Canada, will pay $2 million for a mix of Vector Pro, Vector Lite and Vector Sensor systems. Marport will then market private-label versions of the products through its manufacturing and worldwide dealer network. The products, sold under the CompassPoint brand, will be targeted at the commercial marine market.SR Telecom vies for private placementMontreal-based SR Telecom Inc. is hoping to garner approximately $6 million through a private placement. The company has entered into an agreement for a private placement “on a best effort basis.”Pricing of the units will be determined by market conditions. Each unit will consist of one common share and one-half of one common share purchase warrant. Each full warrant will entitle the holder to acquire a full common share at prices to be dictated by the market.SaskTel Mobility to bolster wireless dataSaskTel Mobility says it will increase the throughput rates and reliability of wireless data services by integrating California-based Bytemobile’s optmization service node product into its 1xRTT, CDMA and CDPD networks. The deal marks the first between Bytemobile and a Canadian operator, according to a media release.SpaceBridge inks distribution agreementSpaceBridge Semiconductor and Components Distributors Inc. (CDI) have finalized a distribution agreement under which CDI will distribute SpaceBridge’s complete line of wireless broadband access products. The products include digital modem integrated circuits, baseband-to-IF chips, software and application-specific access modules.“CDI has a highly targeted, technical sales team and end-markets that align well with the SpaceBridge approach. By setting up this sales channel, we realize the next step in our long-term plan to enhance customer service levels. In CDI, we have found a distributor with the market perspective and sales approach that best match our highly focused product strategy,” Avedis Menechian, president and CEO of SpaceBridge, said in a news release.ViXS and Intersil collaborate on 802.11g networksToronto-based ViXS Systems, in partnership with Intersil, will work to develop new design tools for the transmission of video over standardized 802.11g networks. The companies are working toward a new software development kit combining the firms’ chipsets. ViXS says its XCode technology can guarantee 30 frames per second of video over any type of Internet protocol network.VoiceIQ, MSD announce new partnershipVoiceIQ Inc. and Management Systems Designers Inc. (MSD) will work together to develop business opportunities with the United States federal government, particularly within its federal court system. The two shops will cooperate on marketing, business development, selling and technical delivery of software, expertise and implementation for the judiciary.Microcell offers web services to all subscribersFido pre-paid customers now have access to downloadable games, ring tones and web-based information so long as they have a GPRS handset, Microcell Solutions Inc. announced. The company will charge by the minute rather than the industry standard – by megabytes.INTERNATIONAL NEWSHands-free devices equally dangerous when driving, according to new studyA new Swedish study proclaims that driving a vehicle while using a hands-free device is equally as dangerous as using a handheld cell phone, according to Wired News. The study seems to debunk a widely held belief that keeping two hands on the wheel reduces the possibility of accidents.The National Road Administration tested 48 people in driving simulators. They were divided into two groups, one with and one without hands-free devices. The study revealed that there is no difference in reaction time between the two groups.