Ex-Cantel CTO honoured in U.S.

The former chief technology officer of what became the cellular division of Rogers Communications Inc. will be inducted into the U.S. Wireless Hall of Fame in the fall.

Nick Kauser, (pictured) the first CTO of fledgling Cantel, who went on to hold the same positions at McCaw Cellular Communications, AT&T Wireless Services and Clearwire Corp. (which he also co-founded), will be inducted into the hall Oct. 10.

He will join three other U.S. wireless leaders named to the three year-old hall at the ceremony.

Privately-held Cantel opened its doors in 1985 to challenge the cellular business of incumbent phone companies. Among the bigger investors was Ted Rogers, head of cableco Rogers Communications Inc., whose board of directors – including Rogers’ wife –thought wireless was too risky to be a part of. But Rogers believed it was important enough to invest in on his own.

A year later Rogers bought out his partners, and then sold control of the company to Rogers Communications.

Rogers, who died in 2008, was elected to the Wireless Hall of Fame. Two years earlier he was made a member of the Canadian Telecommunications Hall of Fame.

Kauser is now a partner in the Kirland, Wash.,-based investment company Eagle River Inc., formed by cable mogel Craig McCaw.

According to Caroline Van Hasselt’s biography of Rogers, High Wire Act, Kauser was a graduate of McGill University who had his own business installing telecom equipment in Venezuela before moving north. His older brother Stephen, a director of Telemedia Inc., which was led by Cantel investor Philippe de Gaspe Beaubien, mentioned to de Gaspe Beubien that Nick might be interested in the CTO job at Cantel.

Meanwhile in November, the Canadian Telecommunications Hall of Fame will add four new names including newly-appointed Governor General David Johnston. In addition to his academic career, Johnston has chaired the federal government’s Information Highway Advisory Council and its panel on smart communities, a national task force on high speed broadband access and the broadband national selection committee.

Other laureates are Dr. Michael Binder, former assistant deputy minister of Industry Canada who headed the spectrum, information technologies and telecommunications division. According to a news release, Binder was responsible for the policy development of the telecommunications industries, the regulation of the wireless frequency spectrum and the introduction of wireless spectrum auctions.

He is currently president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commisision.

Others named to the hall are

–cable pioneer Edwin R. Jarmain, whose London Cable TV was one of the first coaxial networks in the country. In 1952 he wired a test area of 15 homes with cable (and loaned 14 of them television sets) for a three-month test. He died in 2007;

–Dr. George Sinclair, a pioneer in developing radio antennas and filters for military and civilian applications, according to the telecom hall of fame news release. After teaching at the University of Toronto he formed Sinclair Radio Laboratories Ltd. (now the Sinclair Technologies division of Norstat International Inc.), which designs and builds multi-couplers and antennas for everything from fighter planes to cellular towers.

The hall of fame is also giving the former Canadian Business Telecommunications Alliance a special recognition award for helping to open the telecom sector to competition. The association formed in the early 2960s as the Canadian Industrial Communications Assembly, the alliance was disbanded in 1997, “in many respects a victim of its own success,” the telecom hall of fame news release says. By then the industry was “significantly advanced down the path to full industry competiton.”

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