ExtendMedia builds ITV application for MTS DSL televison service

Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (MTS) has announced what it says is the first business-on-demand interactive television (ITV) service in Canada, a virtual channel offered to its DSL TV customers promoting events at the recently-opened MTS Centre. The service, developed in collaboration with Toronto-based ExtendMedia and with content provided by True North Sports and Entertainment Ltd., provides information about entertainment and sports events at the facility, including about the Manitoba Moose hockey team. It also enables customers to buy tickets through the television, or to request more information. MTS says the announcement is the first of several new ITV applications it will offer to its more than 25,000 DSL television subscribers, including games-on-demand and video-on-demand.

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Commission adopts modified U.S. test to define program-related ITV content

Cablecos are cheering a CRTC decision that limits the amount of interactive television content that broadcast distribution undertakings (BDUs) must carry from broadcasters. On November 4, the commission issued Broadcasting Public Notice 2004-82, which sets out a regime for ITV that forces cablecos and satellite DTH carriers to pass through any content that fits within a normal 6 MHz channel or the bandwidth assigned to a particular channel, so long as it is program-related, but no more.

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Satellite radio hopefuls have much work in marketing their services: Decima survey

Despite a high profile CRTC licensing hearing and extensive media coverage, a small percentage of adult Canadians are aware that domestic satellite radio services may be made available in this country, according to a new survey by Decima Research Inc. This suggests the Canadian groups vying to offer satellite radio services across the country will have their work cut out for them in marketing and selling their services – at least initially.

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Digital copyright reform looks certain as debate on new legislation set for February

All signs point to legislation being ready for debate in the House of Commons by February on the contentious issue of Canada’s international digital copyright obligations, and changing the Copyright Act to ratify the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Internet treaties. The trends are encouraging for Canada’s music industry, which has stepped up lobbying efforts through the newly-formed Music in Canada Coalition (MCC). The MCC, made up of record labels, recording artists, copyright holders and collectives, and the Canadian Recording Industry Association, took a road show to Parliament Hill on November 24, and heard from politicians that many of the hurdles to putting legislation on the table have been cleared.

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ROW International News Briefs

Global UMTS TDD Alliance grows membership
The Global UMTS TDD Alliance announced on November 18 that several operators and vendors have joined the organization. The group’s membership now passes the 50-member milestone, including 30 network operators and 20 equipment manufacturers. The announcement was made at the conclusion of its second summit where more than 80 executives from more than 20 countries joined to discuss strategies around using TDD for 3G wireless networks.

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ROW People

Michel Allard has been named director of insurer relations at Vigil Locations Systems, a Montreal-based provider of telematics services. Allard will be responsible for introducing Vigil’s technology to insurance companies throughout Canada. He will also hold a supervisory role in charge of commercial agreements with brokers.

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ROW Short Takes

Cell-Loc lands major contract for Beacon technology
Calgary-based Cell-Loc Technologies Inc. (CLTI) has secured a contract valued at a minimum of US$18 million with a subsidiary of Brazil’s largest bank Banco ITAU for its Beacon Location Network technology. ITAU Seguros S.A., an insurance company, plans to use the Beacon technology to enable rapid stolen vehicle location, remote disabling and recovery in the city of Sao Paulo. Deployment of the network is scheduled to begin immediately and is scheduled for completion and to be fully operational by the third quarter of 2005"Different technologies have been competing for some time to position themselves in this market. The technology that can profitably offer the lowest price points, while routinely providing both accuracy and reliability, will ultimately emerge as the frontrunner. For numerous reasons we believe that Sao Paulo, Brazil is the ideal location to deploy CLTI’s proprietary technology, and it presents the greatest opportunity to confirm the company’s leadership in this emerging market," Cell-Loc president and CEO Sheldon Reid said in a news release.

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