Wireline substitution by wireless is happening, says Bell CanadaBell Canada continues to hammer home its message that wireline substitution by wireless is occurring in a real way. In an analysis of wireline network usage, the country’s largest telco says, “11.4% of all local residential voice traffic is carried over wireless networks of all service providers.”Released earlier this month, the report counters those who say that Bell is twisting the numbers when it says only 80% of local residential traffic is carried over its wireline network.Report on Wireless will have more on this debate in an upcoming issue. Inukshuk seeks funding and partnership proposalsInukshuk Internet Inc. is calling for proposals to enhance content or connectivity related to learning and the Internet. The Microcell Telecommunications Inc. subsidiary has more than $3 million to spend on developing partnerships between Inukshuk and Canada’s learning communities. The money will go toward developing multimedia and feature-rich learning content, applications or learning environments.“A foundation of Inukshuk is the creation of this unique public/private sector collaboration in the learning sector,” says André Tremblay, president and CEO of Inukshuk. The company is also encouraging applications for connectivity projects, which it says will result in the provision of broadband wireless Internet access to unserved and under-served communities.WaveRider to develop new broadband wireless productsWaveRider Communications Inc. has announced a new global product development strategy under which the Toronto-based equipment maker will further enhance its non-line-of-sight gear. The company’s plans include the development of WiMAX certified equipment, and new products for licensed and licence-exempt bands. “We believe our product development initiatives will help WaveRider to increase its share of the North and South American broadband markets and enable entry into new international markets,” says WaveRider president and CEO Bruce Sinclair.WaveRider also recently announced that revenues for its first quarter ended March 31, 2004 were US$2.3 million, compared to first quarter of FY2003 revenues of US$3.18 million. Sinclair says that although the company is disappointed with its revenues, it has maintained strong profit margins and continues to expand its customer base. He also explained the difference in figures by saying, “During 2003, WaveRider implemented a distributor and large account program in North America that resulted in new customers and 45% revenue growth. However, our current dependence on a single product line designed primarily for one market… made us vulnerable to seasonal and individual buying fluctuations beyond our control this past quarter.”Ottawa invests in devices for visually impairedThe Canadian government is investing $4.7 million in Quebec City-based VisuAide to support the development of assistive technologies for persons with visual disabilities as part of a $13.1-million project. Technology Partnerships Canada is contributing $3.9 million and Canada Economic Development is chipping in $800,000.The goal of this project is to develop innovative digital devices for persons with visual disabilities, and furthering the development of accessible and affordable technology for the 610,950 Canadians currently identified as having visual disabilities.“The goal of the Government of Canada,” says Industry Canada minister Lucienne Robillard, “is to ensure that the benefits of technology touch every Canadian. As a world leader in the knowledge-based economy, we strive toward the creation of an e-inclusive information society.”Under the proposed project, VisuAide will develop affordable technology platforms to assist blind or visually impaired persons access print, electronic or directional resources.Telesat expands reach of Internet applicationsSatellite operator Telesat Canada is pilot testing a system that will enable a wide range of cost-effective e-commerce applications on marine vessels. Other applications include improved Internet access, distance education, banking services, remote data collection and tele-tourism."This is another step toward eliminating the financial and geographical limitations of existing network services,” said Paul Bush, Telesat’s VP of broadcasting and corporate development, in a media releaseThe marine e-commerce applications (MeCA) project aims to provide marine operators with a suite of e-commerce applications that are flexible and easy to manage for vessels of various types and sizes.IDC to build network in AsiaInternational Datacasting Corp. (IDC) has been awarded approximately $2.7 million in contracts to provide a broadband satellite network across Asia. The network will be used to distribute multimedia content across the continent.These contracts include the provision of systems integration services and equipment needed to establish operational uplinks in Singapore and Hong Kong, and satellite router appliances sufficient to equip over 1,500 sites. IDC’s customer declined to be identified for competitive reasons, but it was disclosed that the system will be used to distribute real-time financial and commodities data to subscribers across the Pacific Rim.“This is an important win for us,” says IDC president and CEO Ron Clifton in a media release. “It is gratifying to see our focus on new products and our continued presence in international markets being rewarded.”INTERNATIONAL NEWSVerizon Wireless will pay US$5 billion for spectrumVerizon Wireless says it is prepared to pay US$5 billion for a 10 MHz slice of 1.9 GHz spectrum that would be sold to Nextel Communications Inc. as part of its complicated spectrum swap to support public safety communications operators, reports Wireless Week. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Verizon says this is the amount it would place as an initial bid for the spectrum.Verizon is trying to derail the spectrum swap and says in the letter that no solution “can or should include a grant of spectrum in an entirely different band to Nextel, or anyone else, to the exclusion of other parties.”The FCC is apparently close to approving the Nextel plan that would grant the company the right to purchase the 10 MHz of spectrum for about US$2 billion and in return Nextel would migrate out of the 800 MHz band to make way for public safety.StayOnline hotspot properties skyrocket in numbersStayOnline, a provider of wireless high-speed Internet access solutions for the hospitality industry, has announced that its customer properties nationwide jumped 400% from January to December of 2003. The company notes that growth continues to be healthy during the first quarter of 2004.Antonio DiMilia, president and CEO of StayOnline, attributes this growth to several factors. “In 2003 we more than doubled our number of installed hotels. There has also been a nationwide boom in wireless, and a hospitality industry shift to making Internet services free to guests,” he said in a media release.More than 200,000 unique users logged on to the Internet from StayOnline’s broadband wireless network at its over 200 installed hotels as of the first quarter of 2004.Mobileway secures additional financingMobileway, a mobile messaging, marketing and entertainment company, has completed a US$23 million Series D round of funding. The company will use the additional capital to expand into new markets such as China, to increase its market penetration in the United States and to launch a range of new customer applications.In the Series D round, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), a new U.S.-based investment partner, joins existing investors 31, CDP, Intel, Investcorp, Mayfield, Nexit Ventures and Visa. The company supplies more than 450 of the world’s leading brands with mobile marketing and entertainment solutions, in addition to carrying international SMS and MMS traffic for more than 70 mobile carriers.“Following massive industry growth in Europe and Japan, China now represents a vast market opportunity while the U.S. – which has lagged behind the world for the past few years – is finally waking up,” said Janice Roberts, managing director of lead investor Mayfield, in a media release. “Indeed, IDC forecasts that there will be 31 billion mobile-originated messages in the United States in 2007. The mobile phone is now the third consumer communications platform after the PC and the TV, and it’s increasingly replacing the landline as the primary home voice connection."