The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) and other labour-minded groups in December warned that U.S. investors might dismantle Canada’s telecom industry if the government mindlessly lowers foreign ownership restrictions. The unions fear U.S. investors would take Canadian employees States-side, leaving the sector worse off than ever. They requested a meeting with Industry Minister Allan Rock to discuss the matter, but he had not responded by press time. The feds announced in November plans to reconsider foreign ownership rules, which currently say outside investors cannot own more than 30 per cent of a company here.

Some good telecom employment news

Montreal-based wireless gear maker Mitec Telecom Inc. in November announced that it would spare 70 jobs otherwise slated for elimination. Although the company had planned to cut approximately 150 positions, since implementing a “workshare” program it decided to let go just 82 employees. Mitec in October said it would streamline its global operations to bring R&D spending in line with revenues. The job cuts, along with selling certain non-core assets and real estate, would save $6 million per year, the company said at the time. Its Montreal R&D facility had been spared from the chopping block.

Forget 3G, here comes 4G

Still waiting to see 3G wireless technology in action? Too late! According to Visant Strategies Inc., a research firm in Kings Park, N.Y., 4G infrastructure is on its way. The firm’s recent study of wireless technology predicts that 4G, employing packet switching to transport voice and data, would appear as early as mid-2003. The company says wireless operators miffed by 3G’s high cost and relatively poor performance would “leapfrog” the third tier with the lower-priced 4G architecture, which some wireless gear makers are preparing for beta tests now. For more information see Visant online at