Telecommunications briefs

SaskTel spreads out

SaskTel is beefing up its digital wireless network, particularly in the south eastern and west central districts of the province. In the southeast SaskTel plans to install six cell towers and enhance the range of six existing towers. The carrier will also install a new tower to cover Meadow Lake Provincial Park, erect seven towers in the southwest, and improve equipment at two existing towers. The new infrastructure should help spread “1X” coverage in the province. 1X is a kind of digital wireless technology that is optimized to provide fast data connections.

Grow west

Bell Canada’s western arm Bell West has completed a high-capacity connection between Calgary and Medicine Hat as part of Alberta’s SuperNet infrastructure. This leg of the province-wide broadband network will bring data service to 303 locations, including 129 schools, 89 provincial government offices, 27 health facilities, 38 libraries and 20 municipal government offices in 40 communities. The Calgary-Medicine Hat corridor represents SuperNet’s main stretch, a 2,500 kilometre link. Bell West is spending $102 million to build this “base area.” SuperNet aims to connect 422 communities by high-speed data by year’s end.

IP matures

The IP-PBX market is maturing, according to Allied Business Intelligence Inc. (ABI), a market research firm in New York. ABI said enterprises are purchasing more IP-PBXs today than they did a couple of years ago, but the rate of growth in the IP-PBX market is slowing, indicating that this sector is maturing. ABI said that in 2002 companies opted more for “IP-centric” systems, or IP gateways for legacy PBXs. But by 2006, 90 per cent of all new IP-PBX seats will be on all-IP systems. By 2009 IP-PBX seat shipments will have grown to 26 million, ABI said.

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