Call-Net cheers CDNA ruling from CRTCCall-Net Enterprises Inc. is cheering the recent CRTC ruling setting competitor digital network access rates (CDNA) that will allow the company to save about $25 million in line leasing costs this year. Telecom Decision 2005-6 identified certain network access facilities as essential to the promotion of competition in the local residential services market, and lowered rates for access to those facilities by competitors. Not all service providers are satisfied with the decision. MTS Allstream says in a news release that the commission missed an opportunity to promote full competition in next-generation services. Chris Peirce, executive VP government and regulatory affairs, says, “This decision has laid out a pricing framework based on copper technology, rather than new technologies like Internet Protocol (IP) that will enable competition in the future. We would have expected a decision that followed three years of analysis to be more forward-looking; from our perspective this decision will reduce choices for Canadians in the long run.” Network Letter will have full reaction and explanation of the decision’s impact in an upcoming issue. CIRB overturns previous ruling on binding arbitration and communications banThe ongoing dispute between TELUS Corp. and the Telecommunications Workers Union continues to weave its way to a conclusion. On February 2, the Canadian Industrial Relations Board overturned a January 2004 ruling that prevented TELUS from communicating with its employees and ordered the company to offer binding arbitration to the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU). There will, however, continue to be a communications ban, but it is limited to labour relations matters and negotiations. The two sides have been bargaining since November 2000 following the merger of BC Telecom and TELUS. Aliant launches 10 Mbps broadband; fibre to the home trialAtlantic Canada’s incumbent telephone company has taken a major step forward in providing its residents with high-speed broadband access. Aliant announced on February 7 that it will begin offering apartment building dwellers in Halifax 10 Mbps broadband access, and that by July 2005 about 30% of Halifax’s apartment buildings will be able to receive this service. The second initiative is a 12-month, fibre-to-the-home trial in the Royale Hemlocks community of Bedford NS that will see 32 homes receive 30 Mbps of bandwidth delivered to the residence providing such services as Internet, TV to the PC, and others. Cisco helps expand reach of radiology and imaging across several facilities in OntarioCisco Systems Inc. has helped the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and St. Joseph’s Health Care in London (SJHC) transform radiology and imaging services in London ON. By deploying Cisco’s Medical-Grade Network, radiology and imaging has now been expanded to seven hospitals and three family medical centres in the city. Planning is also underway to expand the network even further to reach 41 community and rural hospitals across southwestern Ontario that are members of the videocare telemedicine project. “Our Cisco Medical-Grade Network allows us to provide an even higher level of service with the same number of people and that means reduced costs. Standardizing on a single converged network has allowed us to spend more time developing applications that support the medical community,” said Peter Gilbert, director of IT services for the London Hospitals. SAP Labs doubles workforce in MontrealSAP Labs Canada has doubled its research and development workforce in Montreal to meet an increasing demand for business software solutions. The division of SAP Canada Inc., which will hire 100 new people, will need them to work with mySAP and SAP NetWeaver to design and develop business software products and applications for a variety of industry sectors. “Our work has resulted in the integration of new technologies into basic business processes. For example, thanks to chips and encoded tags placed in an advertisement, you will be able to point your mobile phone to an ad on the bus or a billboard and instantaneously retrieve information on the products or events advertised. You will then be one button-push away from placing an order or buying a ticket,” SAP Labs Canada managing director Laure Le Bars said in a news release. InstaDial offers VoIP to small business market segmentVoice over IP providers continues to expand the reach of their offerings and the small- and medium-sized enterprise market is a natural market segment. Mississauga ON-based InstaDial Technologies launched InstaTalk Business 750 and InstaTalk Business 1500 earlier this month. The lower-end plan gives SMBs 750 minutes of calls within North America for only $34.95 per month. Calls to destinations outside of North America are billed at 2.9 cents per minute. InstaTalk Business 1500 offers 1,500 minutes per month anywhere within the company’s global network of 23 countries for $49.95. S&P says local telephony competition poised for market share shiftStandard and Poor’s Rating Services (S&P) noted recently that Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) data regarding the state of local telephony competition suggests there will soon be a major market share shift in the provision of local telephony services. S&P says that while there has been a gradual transition taking place over the past few years, 2005 “holds the potential for a much more accelerated redistribution of business.” The ratings agency highlights the potential impact on the regional Bell operating companies (RBOCs) in that they will face challenges in trying to win back subscribers through bundling efforts. “Absent major wins, the RBOCs may have to concede some permanent loss in market share, especially for the residential business in which they currently dominate, at about 91% of total switched access lines,” reads a February 4 news release. (The news release is available to S&P subscribers only.)SOHO router market to slow in 2006: In-StatGrowth in the small-office, home-office (SOHO) router market is expected to slow in 2006 after Voice over IP becomes more widely deployed, according to projections from high-tech research from In-Stat. The company also notes that shipments of SOHO routers will decline in 2007 and 2008 in favour of multi-service devices, which will also have a downward impact on branch office router shipments. “The introduction of multi-service products that combine IP routing, security and voice communication into a single device will limit the growth of stand-alone routers over the forecast period,” notes In-Stat in a market alert.