Bell Canada expands broadband to Fort Frances areaCanada’s largest incumbent local telephone services provider has expanded the reach of its broadband network to several First Nations in Ontario. Announced on January 20, the company, in conjunction with Pwi-di-goo-zing Ne-yaa-zhing Advisory Services and Industry Canada, says broadband services have been brought to a number of First Nations communities in the Fort Frances region. Total cost of the network deployment was $2.7 million of which Bell Canada contributed $1.56 million with the remaining coming from the federal government ($838,000) and Advisory Services ($308,000). Nimcat pulls in five awards for IP telephony technologyOttawa-based Nimcat Networks has announced that five awards with which it has been presented recently validate the company’s growing significance in the rapidly evolving IP telephony industry. The company has been recognized with the following awards: Investor’s Choice Award from Network Outlook, New Business of the Year Silver Medal from the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, Internet Telephony’s Product of the Year Award and Frost & Sullivan’s Enterprise Infrastructure Entrepreneurial Company of the Year. The company was also named to the Pulver 100 for its peer-to-peer (P2P) calling processing software Voice over IP technology innovations. Nimcat’s nimX embedded P2P software brings network intelligence using found at the PBX or CTX levels to the end-user telephone. Applications such as call-control, voice mail, auto attendant, and other features, are embedded in and power by the IP telephone set. “Users only need to plug a nimX-powered phone into their data network and it automatically configures itself, allowing calls to be made and received without any additional complex setup or centralized equipment,” reads a January 17 news release. Mindready software used in IP over FireWire communicationsMontreal-based Mindready Solutions Inc. has announced that its software is being used to run IP communications over a FireWire (IEEE 1394) connection for a global defence system company. The system will be integrated in a satellite operating system. “IP-over-1394 is an extremely efficient means of communication and there are many opportunities to apply similar solutions in aerospace and defence,” Mindready Solutions’ president and CEO Claude Delage said in a news release. Telehop unveils new dial around serviceTelehop Communications Inc. has unveiled a new dial around service, 10-10-100, that is designed to be an alternative to the “high-cost” of traditional long distance services. Telehop appears to be taking a direct aim at Bell Canada’s $0.05 per minute long distance rates since its new 10-10-100 dial around service is priced at $0.04 per minute to any destination in Canada and the United States. Service has already been rolled out in Ontario and will soon be available in the other provinces. Lockheed Martin to continue work on DND health systemLockheed Martin has been awarded a contract for the second phase of an integrated electronic health management system for the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND). The Canadian Forces Health Information System (CFHIS) project, awarded to Lockheed in 2002, is a 10-year $54.5-million program designed to enable more than 2,500 Canadian Forces health personnel located in clinics across Canada to share information securely and coordinate healthcare services for the 85,000 regular and reserve forces personnel. Phase I, which included the implementation of patient registration and scheduling capabilities, was completed last year. Phase II, the largest element of the program and estimated to cost $31 million, will be to complete the transition to a fully electronic system where all aspects of patient care are conducted electronically. The second phase is expected to be completed in 2006. Phase III is anticipated to begin in 2007 and will include the integration of management information system guidelines. Inter.net Canada expands offering and target marketsMontreal-based upstart Voice over IP provider Inter.net Canada Ltd. is building on the expanded geographic reach of its VoIP service in Alberta and has broadened its target market to include the small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). On January 18, the company announced that Calgary and Edmonton had been added to its Canadian Village and two days later, Inter.net Canada unveiled plans for SMBs. Key elements of the SME Unlimited Plus plan include 720 minutes anywhere calling in Canada and the United States, voicemail, call display, call waiting, and other features, and low international rates. Expenditures on automated voice interface systems to grow substantially in three yearsDatamonitor, an independent market analysis firm, predicts that by the end of 2008 expenditures on voice-enabled transactional systems will jump to US$377 compared to end of 2004 figures of US$56 million. Voice-enabled transaction systems are self-service interfaces that allow end-users to complete commercial transactions. The report, Emerging Voice Applications: towards voice transactions, notes that the most popular voice solutions are account management, order processing, pay-as-you-go top-up for cellular services and hotel and automobile reservations. Hotels and automobile rental firms are realizing cost savings in the form of lower overhead from employees and facilities, says the report.MCI to acquire security firmMCI Inc. and NetSec Inc. have reach an agreement under which NetSec has agreed to be acquired by MCI for US$105 million in cash. The transaction is expected to close 30 days from the January 20 announcement. The acquisition accelerates by one year MCI’s ability to deliver advanced security services. The two companies will combine their respective security methodologies to provide customers with security across multiple systems and devices.