History of Nova Scotia
with special attention given to
Communications and Transportation

Chapter 30
1997 October - November

1997 October 6

Yarmouth Airport Officially Transferred
to Local Owner and Operator

Yarmouth Airport Commission

The Honourable Wilfred P. Moore, QC, Senator, on behalf of Transport Minister David Collenette, today participated in a ceremony to officially transfer Yarmouth Airport to the Yarmouth Airport Commission. In addition to the transfer of ownership, Transport Canada is also providing a financial contribution of $1,910,000 to facilitate the transition of Yarmouth Airport to full commercialization. Yarmouth Airport is one of 70 Regional/Local airports, defined as having a scheduled passenger service of fewer than 200,000 a year for three consecutive years and operated with federal involvement. Under the National Airports Policy, announced in July 1994, local interests have the opportunity to assume ownership of Regional/Local airports during a five-year period ending 31 March 2000. Negotiations to transfer Yarmouth Airport began in January 1997, following the signing of a Letter of Intent between the Yarmouth Airport Commission and Transport Canada. An agreement to transfer Yarmouth Airport to the Yarmouth Airport Commission was signed on 13 August 1997.
[Department of Transport press release]

1997 October 6

Sydney Airport Officially Transferred
to Local Owner and Operator

Sydney Airport Authority

The Honourable Wilfred P. Moore, QC, Senator, on behalf of Transport Minister David Collenette, today participated in a ceremony to officially transfer Sydney Airport to the Sydney Airport Authority. In addition to the transfer of ownership, Transport Canada is also providing a financial contribution of $2,041,000. With today's hand-over of operations, the airport is also eligible to apply for capital contributions under the new Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP). ACAP assists eligible airports in financing capital projects related to safety, asset protection and operating cost reduction. Sydney Airport is one of 70 Regional/Local airports, defined as having a scheduled passenger service of fewer than 200,000 a year for three consecutive years and operated with federal involvement. Under the National Airports Policy, announced in July 1994, local interests have the opportunity to assume ownership of Regional/Local airports during a five-year period ending 31 March 2000. Negotiations to transfer Sydney Airport to the Sydney Airport Authority began in March 1997, following the signing of a Letter of Intent between the Sydney Airport Authority and Transport Canada. An agreement to transfer Sydney Airport to the Sydney Airport Authority was signed on 11 August 1997.
[Department of Transport press release]

1997 October 8

DEVCO Railway
License to Operate Renewed

The Cape Breton Development Corporation applied to the Canadian Transportation Agency on behalf of Devco Railway for a certificate of fitness authorizing it to operate a railway in the province of Nova Scotia. Devco Railway is wholly owned by the Cape Breton Development Corporation and is operated as an unincorporated department within that corporation. In Decision No. 406-R-1997 dated June 30, 1997, the Agency, based on an initial review of the material filed, issued interim Certificate of fitness No. 97017(I) to Devco Railway permitting it to operate a railway in the province of Nova Scotia, pending a further review of the application. The Agency has undertaken and completed a more detailed review of the application and is satisfied that there will be adequate third party liability insurance coverage, including self-insurance, for the proposed railway operation by the Cape Breton Development Corporation carrying on business as Devco Railway. Accordingly, the Agency will issue a new certificate of fitness to the Cape Breton Development Corporation carrying on business as Devco Railway in replacement of Certificate of fitness No. 97017(I) dated June 30, 1997.
National Transportation Agency, Decision No. 571-R-1997

1997 October 14

Expansion of Halifax International Airport

Seventh busiest airport in Canada

Senator Al Graham, Leader of the Government in the Senate, on behalf of Transport Minister David Collenette, today announced federal funding of $7,900,000 for the expansion and refurbishment of the air terminal building at Halifax International Airport. The $599,000 contract for Phase One of this project has been awarded to Rideau Construction Corporation of Bedford, N.S. The work involves the construction of a 1,300-square-metre building expansion and external preparation for the second phase. Phase II will involve finishing and renovating the interior of the expanded area. The project involves renovation and expansion of the south end of the air terminal building to provide centralized and expanded ticket counter space, improved baggage handling areas, and barrier-free access from the parking lots to the new ticket concourse. It will also add revolving doors, improving pedestrian access and energy efficiency, and provide for the future installation of common-use terminal equipment. The renovations will complement a $9,500,000 terminal improvement project announced last May by Air Canada and Air Nova. That initiative, already under way, will see the expansion and improvement of such areas as the Air Canada/Air Nova ticket and check-in area, second level departures area, and covered walkways. Halifax International Airport has been in operation since 1960 and served 2,700,000 passengers last year. The airport has the highest connecting passenger ratio in Canada and is the seventh busiest in the country. It contributes $1 billion annually to Nova Scotia's GDP and is a major economic generator for the entire region. The Halifax International Airport Authority, which is in formal discussions with Transport Canada for the transfer of operational, managerial and developmental control of the facility, was fully consulted and provided its agreement with this project. Work is expected to start on the terminal in October 1997. Funding for this project was provided for in the federal budget.
[Department of Transport press release]

1997 October 17

Hookup Communications Corporation Sold

Provides Internet Connections in Nova Scotia, and other places

EMJ Data Systems Limited, based in Guelph, Ontario, was expecting soon to announce the sale of its stake in struggling Hookup Communications Corporation, based in Waterloo, Ontario. EMJ, a wholesaler of computer products, bought control of Hookup in December 1995, for $4,200,000. Four months later it took Hookup public, by offering Hookup shares for sale at $7.50 each. EMJ kept ownership of 35% of Hookup. Hookup raised $24,400,000 in that stock offering, but at about the same time the Internet access business was radically altering its basic characteristics, and was rapidly becoming a crowded low-margin business dominated by large telecommunications companies. Hookup's financial results have been disappointing.

Hookup shares, which sold for $7.50 in the spring of 1996, were traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (Symbol HU). They closed 16 October 1997 at 29¢; during the previous 52 weeks, the stock's highest price was $3.20, and the lowest was 26¢. Trading in Hookup shares was halted on 2 December 1997, with the last trade at 1:35pm for 13¢. EMJ Data Systems Limited, traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (Symbol EMJ) were sold for as much as $8.00 each during December 1996, and slid to a low of $3.95 in August 1997. On 9 December 1997 they were available at $4.75.

"I stubbed my toe on Hookup," EMJ president Jim Estill said. Mr. Estill founded EMJ, based in Guelph, Ontario, in 1979, but during 1997 has been spending most of his time running Hookup. Mr. Estill said investors have been punishing EMJ for its stake in Hookup even though that stake had been completely written off. For the year ending 31 July 1997, EMJ had sales of $157,000,000, up from $140,000,000 for the previous 12 months. EMJ reported a loss of $4,500,000 for the year, the result of writing off its Hookup investment.
[Excerpted from The Globe and Mail, 17 October 1997.]

ICS (webmaster) comment, written in 1998, revised 20 May 2011:  This story has a special interest for me.  Through the POP (Point Of Presence) in Kentville, Nova Scotia, I was a subscriber to the Internet connection dialup (28 kilobits per second at first, later upgraded to 56 kilobits per second) service provided by Atlantic Connect (Atcon) and its successor companies beginning in January 1996 and continuing until March 2010, when I converted to a high-speed (10 megabits per second) connection.

[Written in January 2000:  In January 2000 I was still using the dial-up software supplied by Atcon 49 months ago.  Atlantic Connect long since disappeared as an operating company, and it has been a long time since I got a bill from Atcon, but I still see "Atlantic Connect" on my screen every time I dial in.]

Later in 1996, Atlantic Connect was taken over by Auracom.  A few months after that, Auracom was taken over by Hookup.  Then Hookup failed financially, applying for bankruptcy protection (see 14 November 1997, below).  Early in December 1997, it was reported that Hookup's system and customers had been taken over, some by Netcom and the rest by Interhop.  Netcom got Hookup's 3,000 direct subscribers while Interhop gets the others, contracted through franchise agreements.  Hookup's Internet franchise division, Auracom, was sold to Interhop, another Canadian franchiser.  "Customers in Nova Scotia outside the Halifax area that are being served by Auracom (a franchisee of Hookup) will likely notice little change," said David Erskine, a company spokesman.  I was included in those "Customers outside the Halifax area that are being served by Auracom (a franchisee of Hookup) who will likely notice little change" when they were taken over by Interhop.  My experience was that the company's expectation – that "customers will likely notice little change" – was overly optimistic.  My e-mail, provided as one feature of the ISP service, never worked properly after that, and the ten megabyte website hosting space that was supposed to be included never worked at all.  Several complaints about these serious glitches were never resolved.

1997 October 17

New Cable TV Channels

Largest Canadian Cable Channel Package Ever

Beginning today, a free preview offered cable customers: History Television, Teletoon, The Comedy Network, Home & Garden Television (HGTV)-Canada, Outdoor Life, Space: The Imagination Station, and The Family Channel. Depending on individual markets, cable companies will also be adding some or all of the following to the package: the Canadian services, Headline Sports, Prime TV, Treehouse; and U.S. services BET Black Entertainment Television (an urban service based in Washington, D.C., that includes music videos, sitcoms, concerts, specials, and news), CNBC (carries mainly business news but also carries topical talk shows), The Golf Channel (based in Florida, carries the PGA and LGPA tours and more than seventy other tournaments), Speedvision, Food Network and the superstation WTBS, Atlanta. Following the preview the channels will be available for $5.99 a month and up. VISION.COM is a consortium of Canada's largest cable companies, which together serve more than 6.5 million customers. It was created to carry out research and develop new products and services in the areas of digital television, Internet access and telecommunications. The members of VISION.COM are Rogers Cablesystems Limited, Shaw Communications Inc., Le Groupe Videotron Ltee, Cogeco Cable Inc., Access Communications, Western Co-Axial Limited, Videon CableSystems, and Cable Regina.

Schedule of Launch Times
for New Cable TV Services

Channel Launch Time (ADT)
HGTV Canada 11:30pm, 16 October 1997
Food Network
The Family Channel
The Golf Channel
Headline Sports
7:00am, 17 October 1997
CTV N(1) 9:00am, 17 October 1997
Teletoon 11:00am, 17 October 1997
Outdoor Life 4:00pm, 17 October 1997
Prime TV 5:00pm, 17 October 1997
The Comedy Network
History Television
Space: The Imagination Station
7:00pm, 17 October 1997
Treehouse TV 1 November 1997

ExpressVu issued a statement: "For the first time in Canadian television viewing history consumers will be able to buy just the programming they want. With the launch of ExpressVu's direct-to-home satellite service, consumers can customize their programming based on thematic packages. "Finally Canadian television viewers can select and pay for the programming they want in packages that suit their needs. Cable subscribers, on the other hand, are forced to take all of the channels in the new tier, even if they only want a few channels — if you don't want the whole tier, you lose it all," said Michael Neuman, President and CEO of ExpressVu Inc.

Specialty services such as The Golf Channel, Speedvision, History, Comedy, Teletoon, and Space are available in various packages throughout ExpressVu's programming menu, free of charge for six months. ExpressVu will continue to expand its channel line-up and, in the fall of 1998, will launch its own high powered DBS satellite and offer the equivalent of 300 channels of local, regional, national, global and internet programming. The company will retain its present satellite, Anik E-2, to service business and education television, and data broadcast customers, as well as to provide backhaul of local channels from the top markets in Canada to its Toronto uplink centre. "ExpressVu is the only broadcast delivery service with the ability to expand its line-up to 300 channels and offer consumers the best of Canadian and U.S. services, local and regional programming and ethnic services that Canadians demand," said Neuman. Owned by BCE Inc., Cancom (Canadian Satellite Communications Inc.), and WIC (Western International Communications Ltd.), ExpressVu is licensed to provide a full range of DTH entertainment and information to Canadians in every region of the country. DISH is a trademark licensed for use by ExpressVu.

1997 October 21

Former Railway Lands
To Form Kentville Green Belt

The Town of Kentville is expected soon to buy 55.3 acres 22.4 hectares of land from CP Rail, which could eventually become a green belt of recreational and park lands running the length of the Town from east to west. The Town Council approved the acquisition of this land earlier this month, and CP Rail is expected soon to agree. The land will be bought for a "minimal sum of money." Essentially, this land is the right-of-way along the old Windsor to Yarmouth main line of the Dominion Atlantic Railway, within the town limits, and includes the right-of-way along the old main line of the Cornwallis Valley Railway northward from the bridge over the Cornwallis River to Exhibition Street.

The last train departed Kentville on 16 September 1993, these tracks were officially abandoned in October 1993, and the rails and ties were dismantled during the spring and summer of 1994. Town Planning Director Wayne Gibbons told The Advertiser that most of the property "will go toward park and open space. It will become our green belt, part of the green area by the Cornwallis River and our recreational park system." This acquisition does not include the 17-acre 6.9-hectare parcel of land in downtown Kentville that was the location of the DAR's Kentville marshalling yard. Gibbons said "the town has no intention of acquiring that particular parcel of land. I'm sure it will be open for sale to private individuals." There is environmental remedial work to be done at some locations within the yard land, which is CP Rail's responsibility.

[The Kentville Advertiser, 21 October 1997]

1997 October 21

HRM Meets Y2K

[The following document was Information Item Number 7, listed on the back page
of the agenda for the 21 October 1997 meeting of Halifax Regional Council.]

Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM)
Halifax Regional Council

October 21,1997

TO: Mayor Fitzgerald and Members of Halifax Regional Council
FROM: Larry Corrigan, Commissioner of Corporate Services
DATE: October 6, 1997
SUBJECT: Year 2000 and the Business Risk for HRM



The problem began very innocently over 30 years ago when software programmers made the decision to refer to dates using six-digit numbers: two for the day, two for the month, and two — only two — for the year (October 1, 1997, for example, would be written as "10/01/97"). As the years went by, the six-digit approach became firmly entrenched in the computer world, mainly because most software programs coming on the market had to be designed to interface with their older counterparts, all of which used the six-digit date fields.


With the millennium less than three years away and our lifestyles and business practices now solidly dependent on computer chips and software programs, the six-digit decision is rapidly proving to be not only remarkably short-sighted but also incredibly expensive to modify. The problem is quite simply that when the Year 2000 arrives, computers and computer systems everywhere will recognize the last two digits of their programs as "00". Consequently they will either begin to calculate it as "1900" or, quite possibly, they will simply shut down. Assuming the systems remain operational, other problems arise: the year 2000, for instance, will be a leap year with an extra day in February. The year 1900 was not. Will February 29, 2000 simply be "overlooked" and no calculations performed for that day? Another difficulty arises with records that are electronically sorted by date. Take, for example, two documents, one dated January 1, 2000 (01/01/00); the other, December 31,1999 (12/31/99). The January 1 file, even though it was created later, will precede the December 31 entry. There is even evidence to suggest that we will begin to experience problems well before New Year's Day in 2000 — some software programs have been written to recognize the numbers "99" as meaning "End of File" so that as we enter the Year 1999, they will simply cease to record data beyond that point.

Most of us would find it very difficult to list more than ten aspects of our lives that are directly impacted by computers and computer chips. As a result, we are either oblivious to the Year 2000 problem or mistakenly believe that the difficulties are fairly easy to fix and that the "computer people" will attend to them. Unfortunately, the facts are that our everyday reliance on software programs has risen to immense proportions; the Year 2000 problems are not easily remedied; and they will require the combined effort of many professionals, most of them outside the Information Services world, to resolve.

While experts are predicting that many private sector businesses will actually fail because their operating systems are not "Year 2000-compliant," the impact on government and, in particular, HRM, could be no less devastating. The following represents merely a preliminary list of the more obvious applications used by HRM that can and undoubtedly will be affected: The implications increase if we consider that HRM also relies on a number of "contractors" to deliver a wide variety of services. At this point in time, we have no assurances that the systems and programs used by those service providers will continue to function past 1999. The ramifications, therefore, are Corporate wide and likely to be expensive. If left unaddressed, the impact on our operational efficiencies and the public's confidence in our business processes will be enormous.

The same experts agree that, in the very little time remaining, we must act promptly but judiciously. The recommended approach is a thorough review of all business processes so that those areas which stand to be most severely impacted by computer failure — and which could prove most disruptive to our operating procedures — can be identified. The second step is to divide those critical areas into two categories: those that can be corrected in time, and those for which contingency plans must be devised. Time must also be set aside for testing to ensure compliancy and, in areas where errors, shut-downs and/or a change in standard procedures are unavoidable, a strong communications program must be developed to ensure that the impact on customer service levels is minimized.

Because of its implications and the scope of work at hand, the HRM Corporate Management Team has identified the Year 2000 Business Risk as a Corporate Priority to which appropriate funds and resources are now being committed.

Further information concerning this matter is available from the following Web sites:

http://pw2.netcom.com/~helliott/00.htm — "Year 2000 (Y2K) Link Center": a comprehensive list of links to Year 2000 sites and web pages, organized into 24 categories.

http://www.y2k.com/ — The Year 2000 Web site

Further information regarding the contents of this report may be obtained by contacting Emma MacKenzie, Systems Analyst, Information Services Division, at 490-6564 (TEL) or 490-6583 (FAX). For additional copies or for information regarding the report's status, please contact the Office of the Municipal Clerk at 490-6524 (TEL) or 490-4208 (FAX).

Year 2000

Year 2000 Press Clippings, updated daily

1997 October 24

Seven Winners Awarded for
Promotion of Science and Technology to Canadian Youth

STANet, Nova Scotia's Science and Technology
Awareness Network Gets Award

(Press Release) VANCOUVER, October 24 — At a ceremony this day at Science World, seven recipients of the Michael Smith Awards for Science Promotion were presented special medals honouring their achievements. The winners were:
A committee of non-government experts in science promotion and education selected the award recipients. The awards recognize the efforts of organizations and individuals who inspire an appreciation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics among young people. Industry Canada's Michael Smith awards were created in response to the outreach activities and generosity of Dr. Smith. He donated his Nobel Prize funds to science promotion activities and schizophrenia research.

1997 October 25

No Time to Fix Year 2000

The Halifax Daily News
Letter to the Editor

Your story Halifax Boots Up for 2000 Big Fix (The Daily News, Oct. 21) was of great interest to me.  I have obtained a copy of the report that was the basis of the story, Year 2000 and the Business Risk for HRM, [above] which was on the Halifax Regional Council's agenda [for the 21 October meeting].

The person who wrote the report is remarkably uninformed or misinformed about the source of the Year 2000 computer problem.  The report states: "...the six-digit (YYMMDD) decision is rapidly proving to be... remarkably short-sighted..."

Not true.  There was nothing short-sighted about that decision.

Back in the 1960s, and continuing well into the 1970s, data storage space in computers was extremely expensive, and thus very scarce.  Every byte counted.

This is easy to forget in 1997, when hard drive data storage space costs about ten cents per megabyte, and we all speak casually of hundreds of megabytes, and even tens of gigabytes, of space.  In the 1960s, every competent software designer had to spend a substantial proportion of his/her time in a continuing effort to minimize the use of memory.

In the 1960s, as computers began to be used for everyday commercial purposes, the earliest business applications were for routine clerical operations such as payroll and accounts receivable, which are inherently date-intensive applications.  There was a choice to be made about the format of dates — should years be stored as two digits or four?  The choice was easy.  Go for two-digit years.  Saving those two bytes — two multiplied by the thousands of date entries in even a modest data file — was crucial.

Even using hindsight, that was the right decision at that time, in the circumstances of the 1960s.  This remained true well into the 1970s, and a strong argument could be made for saving those two bytes even into the early 1980s.

From personal experience, as recently as 1983 I chose to use the two-digit year format for a new, stand-alone suite of 44 software modules to operate a high-school class scheduling system.  I knew at the time that this format could not be used beyond 1999, but the system had to run on a computer which had just 32 kilobytes of RAM (yes, 32 kilobytes) and no hard drive.

In the 1960s, when those decisions were being made, it was widely recognized that the two-digit year would have a relatively short-term usefulness.  That was not short-sighted, it was simply unavoidable.  And nobody dreamed that the software being written then would still be in use 30 years later.

If anyone wants to use the phrase "short-sighted" in this context, it can far more accurately be applied to the people in charge of computer departments who are only now, in the autumn of 1997, belatedly realizing that something really has to be done.

The Year 2000 problem has been known for decades.  Several years ago, serious warnings began to appear, reminding computer professionals that time was getting short.

The Sept. 6, 1993, issue of Computer World magazine contains an article titled Doomsday, by Peter de Jager.  This is a landmark article clearly describing the Year 2000 problem, and warning, in explicit language, that the problem is much larger than is generally believed and time is getting short.

De Jager wrote, "This is a good news/bad news story.  First the bad news: there is very little good news.  There is no way to avoid the fact that our information systems are based on a faulty standard that will cost the worldwide computer community billions of dollars in programming effort..."

De Jager's article has been available on the Internet since 1993.  It now is archived at http://web.archive.org/web/19970716224100/http://www.year2000.com/archive/NFcw-article.html.

A comprehensive Year 2000 FAQ file has been available on the Internet for nearly three years.  (I contributed to it in a small way — one paragraph — do a search within the page for "rustfrog".)

De Jager's testimony to the House of Representatives' science committee, May 14th 1996, titled Unjustified Optimism, which has been continuously available at <http://www.year2000.com/archive/NFtestimony.html> includes this: "The situation is critical.  More than 65 per cent of North American businesses have not yet begun to address this problem.  For many it's already too late.  There are less than 140 weekends left before Dec. 31, 1998.  You should be complete by then, so that you can allocate all of 1999 to test the hundreds of thousands of error prone changes you've introduced into your systems..."

For the last three or four years, there have been frequent publicly circulated warnings about the Year 2000 computer problem.  An excellent list of published articles by numerous authors is at <http://www.year2000.com/archive/>.

And now, in October 1997, when HRM seems finally to be gaining some awareness of the situation, the author of that report dares to accuse the programmers of the 1960s of being short-sighted.  Seems to me it has taken a large measure of short-sightedness among the computer managers at HRM for them to have arrived at this late date before beginning to take this seriously.

October 1997 is very late to be starting to think about it.  In fact, the broad consensus among knowledgable software people is that it is now too late.

Any organization of the size and complexity of HRM, which is only now beginning to look seriously at this problem, has waited too long.  As of Oct. 21, there are only 113 weekends remaining before the deadline, and this is one deadline that cannot possibly be extended by anyone for any reason.  (The significance of the number of weekends available is explained fully in the Year 2000 FAQ file on the Internet.)

Quite simply, the job cannot be done in the time now remaining.  This is recognized implicitly in the HRM report itself, where it speaks of "... two categories: those that can be corrected in time, and those for which contingency plans must be devised."  The HRM applications that can be corrected in time will be found to be relatively few; those for which contingency plans must be devised will be many.

That's where the short-sightedness has been lurking.

Ivan Smith, Canning, N.S.
Via the Internet

Year 2000

Year 2000 Press Clippings updated daily

The Hidden Side(s) of Y2K

Note (by ICS, May 2013):  These three websites (immediately above)
are still available in 2013 as archived copies in the Wayback Machine.

And, one of the best backgrounders I've seen is
Digital Doomsday, A Business Survival Guide to the Year 2000
Part One  http://web.archive.org/web/19980630180313/http://www.year2000.co.nz/y2kmtb01.htm
Part Two  http://web.archive.org/web/19980630175530/http://www.year2000.co.nz/y2kmtb02.htm#nick
There will be some companies that go down the gurgler as a result of this.  Any Chief Executive who isn't kicking his information systems manager every week about this is failing in their job.  And any CEO who hasn't done anything about this yet has to get their finger out, now!  If you're changing data formats, don't forget to change the formats in your archives too or you may inadvertently render them unusable.  But note that changing historical data may require permission and agreement from customers and their auditors...

1997 October 31

Roper's Brook Bridge
Burned by Haloween Vandals

Vandals set fire to the Roper's Brook bridge on Halloween night, cutting off the Cabot Trail in Victoria County near Ingonish. Transportation and Public Works crews worked through the night to set up a temporary gravel detour over the brook and had traffic flowing less than 18 hours after the fire started. "The crews did a fantastic job to get the detour open," said Charles MacDonald, area manager with the Transportation Department. Heavy rain on 3 November seriously threatened the temporary bypass road, but quick work kept it from being swept away. A new two-lane panel bridge was installed at a cost of about $250,000.
Adapted from the Nova Scotia Government press release, 4 November 1997

1997 November 10

PSINet Plans to Acquire iSTAR to Form
Canada's Largest Internet Services Company

TORONTO, November 10 — PSINet Inc., (NASDAQ stock symbol: PSIX) today announced plans to acquire iSTAR Internet Inc. (TSE stock symbol: WWW), and to merge the company with its privately held Canadian subsidiary PSINet Limited. Upon successful amalgamation, it is intended that the new organization will go under the name of PSINet. Combining the two Canadian enterprises, iSTAR and PSINet Limited, will result in the creation of the largest Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Canada. The PSINet Inc. offer is for any and all of the current outstanding Common Shares of iSTAR at C$1.206 per share (86¢ US) or approximately C$35,000,000 (US$25,000,000) in PSINet Inc. convertible preferred stock. The offer has been recommended to shareholders by the iSTAR board of directors. The agreement includes the immediate loan of C$5,000,000 working capital from PSINet Limited to iSTAR. The transaction is expected to be completed within 60 to 90 days. PSINet Inc. will acquire all of the outstanding common stock of iSTAR in exchange for PSINet Inc. convertible preferred stock. The Offer is subject to certain closing conditions including government and regulatory approvals. The Offer is also conditional upon a satisfactory arrangement with Bell Canada, regarding the Network Provisioning Agreement. iSTAR has a close working relationship with Bell and management is optimistic about reaching a satisfactory resolution.

PSINet Canada, with headquarters in Toronto, currently has 81 employees. iSTAR employs 200 people with its head office in Ottawa and additional offices in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. The combined corporate headquarters will be in Toronto, Ontario. Upon integration, Canadian customers will have access across the world to an extensive network of more than 350 access points of presence (POPs). The plan includes linking the combined PSINet and iSTAR operations in Canada to the largest and most technically advanced Internet backbone in the world. PSINet is currently beginning to build out 10,000 route miles of OC-48 which will be the most powerful broadband access available. Under the terms of the agreement, iSTAR shareholders will receive non-voting, 8% cumulative convertible shares of PSINet Inc. Up to one-third of the shares of each holder is convertible on or after each of 1 April 1998, 1 July 1998, and 1 January 1999, at the ten-day weighted average prevailing at the time of conversion. Any remaining shares outstanding at the end of three years will be automatically converted at the ten-day weighted average price of PSINet common stock at that time.

iSTAR Internet Inc. was incorporated in August 1995 and became a publicly traded company in November 1995. It is Canada's largest Internet service provider company. Until PSINet Inc. has taken up and paid for the required number of iSTAR common shares, iSTAR will continue to provide its customers with all connectivity and web services through its national high speed backbone, including iCOMMERCE and iNTRANET business solutions. More information on iSTAR can be found on the web at http://www.istar.ca.

PSINet is a large provider of turn-key corporate Internet and intranet access, managed security services, electronic commerce solutions and Web hosting services throughout Canada, the United States and abroad. PSINet manages one of the world's largest and most advanced fast-packet networks, which provides state-of-the-art, high speed Internet access ranging from dedicated high-speed circuits to ISDN to high-speed modem dial-up. PSINet backs up its state-of-the-art network with the industry's original service guarantee, employing automatic back-up systems and crediting for service outages. Headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, PSINet has offices throughout the United States and subsidiaries in Canada, Japan and Europe, including Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Late in 1995, iSTAR took over NSTN (Nova Scotia Technology Network), thus acquiring NSTN's Nova Scotia operations and POPs.

1997 November

MT&T Mobility Celebrates Ten Years

"Here's a glance back at some of MT&T Mobility's milestones:" In 1998, three digital PCS (Personal Communications Services) technologies will be available in Nova Scotia and none of them will be interchangeable. Each technology will include its own technical standards (CDMA, TDMA, or GSM) to encode digital signals, and each PCS phone will work on only one of these standards. That means customers who decide to change service providers will not be able to use their old hardware with the new provider company. MT&T Mobility will provide digital services in the metro Halifax area beginning early in 1998.
[Excerpted from an MT&T Mobility advertising supplement distributed in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 29 November 1997.]
Historical Notes about Maritime Telegraph & Telephone Company

TDMA, Time Division Multiple Access, is also known as D-AMP. In Canada TDMA is offered by Rogers Cantel, and in the United States by AT&T. As early as 1992, Rogers Cantel put TDMA into commercial operation, but it was a much earlier version called IS-54B. TDMA has moderate sound quality. TDMA organizes calls by chopping specific frequency bands into pieces that are sequenced in time, so that individual phone calls are lined up one behind another, sort of like cars in a highway lane. A very general technical description is that TDMA chops each radio frequency channel into three blocks; when a call is made, an algorithm assigns to that call one time slot within the dedicated channel.

GSM, Global System for Mobile communications, was developed in the late '80s and early '90s in Europe. In 1997, GSM was the most common cellular system in Europe, and was said to be the dominant digital technology in the world, being supported in at least 109 countries. GSM is available to a population of about one billion people, with 55 million subscribers. GSM is technically a variant of TDMA. GSM and CDMA are completely incompatible. GSM has been chosen by Microcell Telecom Connections, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microcell Telecom (of Montreal). GSM works much like TDMA but uses different algorithms and an upgraded technology to accomplish the same result, with the significant difference that GSM chops the radio frequency channel into eight time-sequence blocks.

CDMA, Code Division Multiple Access, is also known as IS-95, and has been chosen by Sprint PCS (Personal Communications Services), Clearnet Communications Corporation (of Pickering, Ontario), and Mobility Canada (which encompasses the local "Bell" companies operating under the "Mobility" name, including MT&T Mobility in Nova Scotia and PEI). [CDMA digital service became available in the metro Halifax area in April 1998.] CDMA offers greater capacity than its competitors TDMA or GSM, which may mean somewhat lower rates for consumers. CDMA offers slightly better voice quality than TDMA or GSM. In the latter half of 1997 CDMA was popular in Hong Kong, South Korea, and parts of Canada and the United States. CDMA's technology is very different from that of TDMA and GSM, which are based on time divisions.. CDMA is not time dependent, instead it assigns a unique digital algorithmic code to the signal, which can be expanded or compressed and moved about within a wide frequency range. The receiver scans and matches that algorithm so that the call becomes exclusive.

The technical differences among these three standards are virtually transparent to the user, meaning that they all operate pretty much alike. This does not mean that a user's phone will work on any system other than the one it was designed for. Further information is available in the book Telecosm, by George Gilder, published by Simon and Schuster in 1997.
[Excerpted from The Computer Paper, Eastern Edition (Atlantic Provinces), February 1998]

Clearnet CEO George Cope said recently that about 4,200,000 Canadians have wireless telephones, and 340,000 of them signed up during the fourth quarter of 1997.
[The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 6 February 1998]

1997 November 10

Baton Takes Ownership of CTV

Baton Broadcasting Incorporated reached an agreement this day to buy out the two large minority shareholders in the CTV Television Network Limited: Western International Communications Limited (WIC) and Moffat Communications Limited. The deal closed a few days later. WIC sold its 28.6% interest in CTV for $28,000,000 and Moffat received $14,000,000 for its 14.3% interest in the network, for a total cost to Baton of $42,000,000. Baton acquired controlling interest in CTV last week with 57.1%. Several years ago, the price of $10,000,000 for each 14.3% block was established, based on the valuation of CTV at the time. That was before CTV had been awarded interests in four new speciality channels: 100% of CTV News One, a headline news channel; 40% of the CTV Sports Net; 60% of CTV Direct, a sports pay-per-view channel and 12% of History Television. "Paying an extra $12 million for interests in four speciality channels represents fair value for these additional assets," said Ivan Fecan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Baton.
[Excerpted from a press release
and the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 11 November 1997.]

1997 November 14

ExpressVu Announces Powerful
Grey Market Program

Canadian DTH Service Makes a Dramatic Offer to Grey Market Subscribers

[Press Release]

TORONTO, November 14, 1997 — ExpressVu Inc. announced details this day of a plan to convert Canadian subscribers of US grey market satellite dishes to its direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV service. The company offered "grey market" satellite dish owners a credit on programming equal to the before tax purchase price of their ExpressVu set-top box and dish. Consumers who purchased ExpressVu's model 3500 for a suggested retail price of $599 got back $599 as a programming credit, and consumers who purchased the model 4500 for a suggested retail price of $749 got back $749 as a programming credit. The credit had to be used at a minimum monthly rate of $35.95 for French programming and $45.95 for English programming. Subscribers could also purchase ExpressVu's a la carte services for an additional monthly charge.

"Our grey market repatriation plan is the most compelling offer on the market and is guaranteed to attract a large number of customers who now subscribe to a US grey market satellite TV service that contains no local Canadian programming," said Michael Neuman, President and CEO of ExpressVu Inc.

ExpressVu's grey market offer applies to all DirectTV, EchoStar and PrimeStar subscribers located in Canada. "Grey market dish owners tell us they miss being able to watch Canadian networks, news and sports, and are frustrated with the hassle and cost associated with maintaining a false US address, paying for programming in US dollars, and the risk of having their grey market dishes turned off," said Neuman.

The ExpressVu grey market repatriation offer was valid from 15 November 1997 until 31 March 1998. Programming credits were arranged when customers called ExpressVu to activate their new system. Once activated with ExpressVu, former grey market subscribers had to return their grey market set-top box along with proof of purchase of their ExpressVu system and a programming or hardware bill from their grey market service provider dated prior to 15 November 1997. Customers could purchase the ExpressVu satellite TV system at any authorized ExpressVu agent including hundreds of independent satellite dealers and consumer electronics stores across Canada, as well as retailers such as Aventure Electronique, Bell Mobility, Bell Phone Centre stores, Future Shop, Kmart, London Drugs, The North West Company, Real Canadian Superstores, True Value Hardware Stores and Wal-Mart Canada.

ExpressVu offered up to 100 channels of the Canadian and US programming including news from all the major Canadian and US networks; sports programming that covers all the major Canadian teams; and more first run movies than HBO, Starz or Showtime. In the fall of 1998, when the company moves to its high powered satellite, ExpressVu will offer the equivalent of 200 channels, which is more than any other broadcast delivery service in Canada. Owned by BCE Inc., Cancom (Canadian Satellite Communications Inc.), and WIC (Western International Communications Ltd.), ExpressVu is licensed to provide a full range of DTH entertainment and information to Canadians in every region of the country.
[Excerpted from a Press Release]

1997 November 14

Colin Latham Named to Chair of
Stentor Alliance Council of CEOs

OTTAWA, November 14 — The Stentor Alliance Council of CEOs is pleased to announce the appointment of Colin Latham as Chairman. Mr. Latham succeeds Brian Canfield, who stepped down as CEO of BC Telecom earlier this year. Mr. Latham brings significant leadership experience to this central role in the Canadian telecommunications industry.

He is President and CEO of Maritime Tel & Tel and Chairman of the Board for The Island Telephone Company Ltd. and MT&T Mobility Inc. An engineer by training, Mr. Latham also gained extensive experience in business services, sales and marketing during his 29 year career. Mr. Latham is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia and a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He also serves on the Boards of Directors for the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, the Greater Halifax Partnership and FastLane Technologies Inc.

The Council of CEOs provides overall strategy direction for the Stentor Alliance in matters of national service development, policy, regulatory affairs, and technology. Together, they are committed to realizing the vision of making Canada the world's first digital economy. The Stentor alliance was formed in 1992 by Canada's leading providers of telecommunications services. The alliance works with customers across Canada to economically deliver leading-edge local, national and international telecommunications services. These companies maintain the world's longest, fully digital fibre-optic network.
[Excerpted from a Press Release]

Stentor membership

The Stentor Alliance comprises the following full-service telephone companies, all of which offer both local and long distance services: Source:
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Stentor Dissolved
19 September 1998

On 19 September 1998, the Stentor alliance of telephone companies was disbanded, succumbing to intense internal and external pressures which began with an enormous change in the Canadian telecom industry which opened the door for greater competition across the country.

1997 November 14

Hookup Communications Files Under the
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act

Hookup Communications Corporation filed this day a notice of intention to file a proposal under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada) in connection with a proposed reorganization of its business operations. The Oakville, Ontario, company says this notice provides it with a 30-day period in which to prepare and file a proposal outlining its restructuring plans. The internet service provider added it "is not bankrupt and retains cash sufficient to continue operations."
[The Globe & Mail, 15 November 1997]

Netcom Canada has taken over Hookup Communications Corporation, a national Internet service provider. Most of the company's 13,000 residential and business customers will be switched over to the American-based Internet company by the end of the month, Hookup spokesman Jim Estill said Friday (14 November). Netcom gets Hookup's 3,000 direct subscribers while Interhop gets the others, contracted through franchise agreements. Hookup's Internet franchise division, Auracom, is being sold to Interhop, another Canadian franchiser, Mr. Estill said. Customers outside the Halifax area that are being served by Auracom (a franchisee of Hookup) will likely notice little change, said David Erskine, a company spokesman.

Hookup's service has degraded over the past year due to financial difficulties. Consolidation of Internet companies is becoming more common. Netcom Canada, based in Toronto, is a subsidiary of Netcom On-Line Communications Services Inc. http://www.netcom.com/ one of the largest Internet service providers in the world, with operations in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Brazil. Auracom's head office was at 1075 North Service Road, Oakville, Ontario; the Eastern Region Headquarters were at 3845 Dutch Village Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
[The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 15 & 21 November 1997]

Reference:  Auracom dial-up Internet Access gives you real speed, reliable Internet connections, personalized start page, and customer service when you need it, 24 hours a day

On 9 December 1997, when I clicked on my old Atlantic Connect bookmark http://www.atcon.com/; it was still a valid URL. My browser immediately brought up the Auracom website, now operated by Interhop. At the top of the entry page was this: "Interhop Network Services Inc. and Auracom Internet Services come together to bring you quality Internet service, across Canada," indicating that the links in the corporate history chain now were these:

Atlantic Connect, which later was taken over by
Auracom, which later was taken over by
Hookup Communications, which later was taken over by
Interhop Network Services.

The entry page also contained this message: "Below you will find a press release (OAKVILLE, Ont., Nov. 5) describing the new union between Auracom, the franchise division of Hookup Communications and Interhop Network Services Inc. We hope that you will enjoy a continued relationship with us, under the new arrangement. Interhop has been providing quality Internet access in southern Ontario since 1995, and we look forward to continuing that tradition of service in our dealings with you. As a customer, you will continue to deal with the same franchisee, that you have come to know and trust in your community, only now that franchisee will be providing you with Internet products and services with a level of quality and reliability that you have been expecting all along."

On 9 December, this notice was displayed at http://hopserv.interhop.net/usage.html "Please note that until further notice, the account usage page will not work for Auracom customers. We are working to rectify this situation. Sorry for any inconvenience."

Hookup Sells Franchise Division

OAKVILLE, Ontario, November 5 — HookUp has entered into an agreement with Interhop Network Services Inc., of North York, Ontario, to sell the franchise agreements relating to Auracom Internet Services, a division of HookUp. The agreement is pending approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange. In addition to the franchise business, proprietary rights and assets relating to HookUp's franchise operations, Interhop will also gain rights to one Class B block of IP address space. In exchange, HookUp will receive shares of Interhop with a total value of $2 million to $3 million. Interhop currently operates an Internet franchise operation in central Ontario. The agreement ties two Internet services together, providing a balanced, well-provisioned network with locations throughout Canada. Jim Estill, CEO of HookUp, commented, "Our agreement with Interhop ensures that our franchisees and their customers will be provided with a seamless transition to a reputable company with an excellent service record." HookUp Communications is a Canadian Internet service provider listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol HU.
[Excerpted from a press release]

Interhop Network Services Inc.

1997 November 15

Cobequid Pass Toll Road Opens

First Pay-To-Drive Section of Trans-Canada Highway

On this day, the 45 km four-lane Cobequid Pass highway opened for regular traffic.  Electronic tracking at the toll booths at the Cobequid-Cumberland border counted 400 vehicles passing through the toll plaza before noon.  The road was not scheduled to open until noon, but a local radio station mistakenly announced in the early morning that it was open for traffic, and many people simply drove around the barricades to see what the new highway looked like.

This road is a section of Nova Scotia Highway 104, also known as the Trans-Canada Highway, from Masstown, Colchester County, to Thomson Station, Cumberland County.  It was built by a private company as a bypass for the old two-lane Highway 4 through Wentworth which was notorious for dangerous driving conditions and was the location of 52 traffic deaths in the last ten years.  The main contractor was Atlantic Highways Corp.; major subcontractors were Nova Construction, Tidewater Construction and the Foundation Company of Canada.  The $113,000,000 Cobequid Pass highway was built by Atlantic Highways Corporation, with governments providing $55,000,000 while the consortium put up the rest.  Private financing was done by Newcourt Credit Group of Ontario.  Newcourt sold three bond issues with terms of 15 to 30 years.  Toll revenues will pay down the debts, and will provide $96,000,000 in highway maintenance and $34,000,000 worth of repaving over 30 years.  The investors will be repaid from toll revenue collected for 30 years, according to a detailed schedule drawn up during the negotiations.
Map showing Cobequid Pass Toll Highway location

The Sydney Steel Corporation (Sysco) pension fund has invested $5,500,000 in the highway, by buying a subordinated debenture in that amount issued by the Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation.  The Sysco pension fund expects to receive about 14% annual return on its investment.  Tolls were expected to generate about $250,000,000 profit for the private lenders over 30 years.

Government money wasn't used to build the highway but to fund the Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation, the provincially owned business that administered tolls.  Nova Scotia Transportation Minister Don Downe said that, in the first twenty years, the province would make a $151,000,000 profit beyond costs to build, manage and repair the new road.

Many local residents were furious the first tolled section of the Trans-Canada Highway was in their backyard.  Anger over the toll contributed to a byelection loss in the area on 4 November for the governing party.
Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation

The new Cobequid Pass Highway has no call boxes, no rest areas, and no service plazas.  It has a posted speed limit of 110 km/h for the entire length, except for the slowdown lanes approaching the toll gates, which have reduced speed limits and three rumble strips in each direction.  In general, on the old highway 4 which parallels Cobequid Pass, posted speed limits have been reduced by 10 km/h from the previous limits, with the stretch between Mahoney's Corner and Wentworth remaining at its existing limit of 80 km/h.
Map of Speed Limit Zones, Lower Debert to Thomson Station

Saves Sixteen Minutes

A driver going at the speed limit will take around 40 minutes to travel the 54 kilometre stretch of the old highway.  That's about four minutes longer than it takes driving the current speed limit.  Drivers will be able to use the new highway and cover the 45 kilometres between Thomson Station and Masstown in about 24 minutes driving 110 km/h.  That's 16 minutes quicker than the old route.

Among the features of the new highway are: Provisions in the Omnibus Agreement call for the province to restrict express-truck traffic greater than five tonnes from using the old highway.  Beginning when Cobequid Pass was opened, express trucks using the old 104 were to be fined $250.  "The Province of Nova Scotia has every intention of enforcing its trucking laws on this route just as it does throughout the province," said Mr.  Downe.  "Vehicle compliance officers operate across the province to ensure trucks follow weight and road restrictions while making sure vehicles conform to National Safety Code standards.  Enforcement measures covered in the 104 contract deal only with ensuring that express-truck traffic uses the new route.  We'll use automatic traffic counters, and if there's a problem, our officers will monitor the road more closely." The government's contract with Atlantic Highways allows the company to take over policing of the old highway if at least 92% of truck traffic does not travel on the new road.  The notion of private enforcement is not unique, said Mr. Downe.  He pointed to the Halifax Bridge Commission, which employs its own security staff who can issue citations for speeding or driving through the toll-gate without paying.

Under the Omnibus Agreement, the province agreed not to build a road competing with the Cobequid Pass for 30 years or twin the existing road through the Wentworth Valley.  Twinning the existing road and creating a controlled-access highway was ruled out long ago because it would have split Wentworth Valley communities down the middle.  New service roads would then have been needed for area residents.

The highway was free of charge for the first two weeks of operation.  At 12:01am on 1 December 1997, toll charges came into effect.  The toll collection plaza was located about halfway along the highway, at the border between Cumberland and Colchester Counties.  In all of Canada, this was the first section of the Trans-Canada Highway on which drivers had to pay a fee.  One local person commented: "You can get in your car in Vancouver and never pay a toll until you get to the Wentworth Valley." The one-way cash charge for cars was $3.00, for recreational vehicles $4.00, and for trucks $2.00 per axle.
Questions and answers about tolls and profits

Electronic transmitters (the technically correct term is "transponder," not "transmitter"), about the size of a playing card and known as E-Passes, were available to be bought by frequent users — that is, by anyone who was willing to pay the $16.00 to buy one of the electronic transponders.  These transponders were mounted inside the windshields of the vehicles.  Electronic equipment at the toll plaza scanned each approaching vehicle.  Those with E-Passes returned a radio signal to the toll collecting equipment, containing vehicle identification information which the highway's computer used to file a record of the vehicle identification, the time and direction of the trip, and to make a deduction from that vehicle's prepaid E-Pass account.  E-Passes for cars cost $15 (actually, the buyer's out-of-pocket cost was $15.00 + $1.00 + $2.40) with a deposit of $30 in the toll account; each car with an E-Pass paid a toll of $1.50, half of the $3.00 charge when paid by cash.  E-Passes for trucks cost $40 with a deposit of $54 in the toll account; each truck with an E-Pass paid a toll of $1.50 per axle, a reduction from the $2.00 per axle charge when paid by cash.  On Cobequid Pass, drivers who don't pay tolls will be videotaped and reported to the RCMP.

The above was excerpted from
The Halifax Chronicle-Herald of 8, 15 and 17 November 1997,
The Halifax Daily News of 15 November and 1 December,
The Globe & Mail of 15 November, and
Transportation Department press releases dated 27 Mar., 8 Sep. and 14 Nov. 1997.

Cobequid Pass Toll Highway website

Note: On 5 September 2001, the hit counter in this webpage showed 00214.

Cobequid E-Pass Electronic and Easy

The following was excerpted from the information leaflet,
prepared by AHMC (Atlantic Highways Management Corporation),
and given to each motorist passing through the Cobequid Pass
toll lanes, after the highway opened.

What is an E-Pass?
An E-Pass is the fast, easy, least expensive way to travel on Cobequid Pass.  It's an electronic transmitter that attaches to the inside of your windshield and allows you to pay for your trip easily and electronically — no card to swipe, no attendant to pay.

Why should I but an E-Pass?
Using an E-Pass saves you half the toll rate — that's $1.50 every time you drive on Cobequid Pass — and it allows you to use the E-Pass express lane.

How does an E-Pass work?
When approaching the toll plaza, E-Pass users go through a specially marked express lane.  As you approach the toll gate, your E-Pass number is read by a computer system that checks your account to make sure there are enough funds to pay the toll.  If your account has sufficient funds, you get a green traffic light and the toll gate rises automatically.  When your account balance falls to one-third of your original balance, you get a yellow light and the toll gate rises.  That means you need to make a deposit to your account.  If there is not enough in your account to pay the toll, you get a red light and the gate does not rise.  A toll attendant will explain how to pay the toll and replenish your account.

How much does an E-Pass cost
and where do I get one?

An E-Pass costs $16.00 ($15.00 plus $1.00 for the mounting kit) plus HST (harmonised sales tax, 15% in 1997).  This is a one-time charge.  You can open an E-Pass account in person at the Toll Plaza on Cobequid Pass near Sullivan's Lake, mail your application to P.O. Box 920, Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia B3G 1M4, or fax it to 902-465-4986.  When you open an E-Pass account, you will need to make a minimum deposit of $30.00 which will be used to pay your toll charges.  You can pick up an E-Pass at the Toll Plaza on Cobequid Pass near Sullivan's Lake, Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

How do I keep my account up to date?
There are two options: Each time you use your E-Pass, the toll charge is deducted from your account.  For pre-authorized credit card accounts, your credit card is automatically debited to replenish the E-Pass account to the amount of the original deposit.  This occurs when your account has one-third of the deposit remaining.  If you do not have a pre-authorized account, you can top up your account at the toll plaza with cash, money order, or by using your credit card or debit card.

What if I don't have an E-Pass?
Everyone is welcome to drive on Cobequid Pass.  If you don't have an E-Pass, you simply pay the $3.00 cash rate to a toll booth attendant.

Other things you need to know:

A telephone call to the toll plaza, 902-668-2211, elicited the information that a monthly statement will be mailed to each holder of an E-Pass, with details of each trip through the toll gate — date, time of day, and direction of the trip.  This means that a computer record is kept of this information, for each and every E-Pass account.

Why tolls?... Are tolls being introduced for other reasons?  Warnings have already been sounded by Ontario's privacy commissioner that that the real money in tolling comes from the sale of information gathered by electronic toll systems.  The record of your travel habits is marketable, and toll collectors in the U.S. are already selling this information to credit agencies... Is Nova Scotia ready for this threat to privacy?
[Excerpted from "Highway Robbery on the 104", by Janet Maybee, in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 3 May 1995.]

ICS comment:
The system of electronic monitoring and computer recording of vehicle movements on the Cobequid Pass highway was installed with minimal public debate about, and no known government supervision of, design features affecting the potential problems inherent in such systems, which will have the effect of significantly increasing government intrusion into the private lives of citizens.  For more information, see Background Notes on Electronic Toll Collection Systems and the unintended and unexpected effects they have had on privacy of ordinary citizens.


1997 November 20

Global Given Approval for New Transmitters
in Eastern Nova Scotia

Could Adversely Affect CJFX and ATV/ASN

CRTC Decision 97-648 approved the application by Global Communications Limited (which recently acquired the Maritime Provinces television system established by MITV) to install and operate two new television transmitters in eastern Nova Scotia. One will be near Antigonish, broadcasting on channel 21B at 13,400 watts effective radiated power. The other will be near Mulgrave, broadcasting on channel 28A at 1,410 watts effective radiated power (ERP). Both will rebroadcast the signal from CIHF-TV Halifax.

The same decision also approved Global's plan to install and operate three new TV transmitters in New Brunswick, at Miramichi, channel 40B, ERP 24,600 watts; St. Stephen, channel 21B, ERP 12,700 watts; and Woodstock, channel 38B, ERP 24,600 watts; and one in Prince Edward Island, at Charlottetown, channel 42B, ERP 24,500 watts. With implementation of these additional transmitters, MITV's off-air coverage will expand to encompass more than 80% of the population of the Maritimes.

The Commission received interventions from several interested parties expressing support for Global's plans to deliver the programming of the Halifax and Saint John stations to these additional Maritime communities. Interventions were also submitted by Atlantic Broadcasters Limited (Atlantic), the licensee of CJFX Antigonish, and by Baton Broadcasting Incorporated (Baton), the owner of BBS Ontario Incorporated, whose applications to acquire the assets of Atlantic Satellite Network (ASN), and of CJCH-TV Halifax, CKLT-TV Saint John and two other Maritime television stations (collectively known as ATV), were recently approved in CRTC Decision 97-527.

Atlantic emphasized in its written intervention that it was not adverse to approval of Global's applications for new transmitters, provided it was not Global's intention to solicit advertising in the communities served by CJFX, particularly in the counties of Antigonish, Guysborough, Inverness and Richmond in eastern Nova Scotia.

Baton stated that it did not oppose the applications, but indicated that their approval could result in the siphoning of as much as $2 million in annual revenues away from ATV/ASN. According to Baton, the reduced air time revenues for ATV/ASN which will follow the addition of MITV re-broadcasters will necessitate a review of the commitments of ATV and ASN. Any negative impact on the business plans of ATV/ASN will also flow through to the Baton group of stations as a whole. What, if any, changes in these operations will be warranted will remain unclear until the magnitude of the impact of Global's proposals are known.

In the Commission's view, these plans represent significant progress by Global toward fulfilment of the Commission's long-standing expectation regarding extension of the MITV service throughout all three Maritime provinces. The Commission was also satisfied that the proposed transmitters will not create any undue economic hardship for other broadcasters. Nevertheless, with respect to the concerns expressed by Atlantic, the Commission noted the statement contained in Global's written reply to the intervener that it does not intend to solicit local advertising in the markets served by CJFX; rather, that its "revenues in these areas will be drawn from regional advertisers."

As for Baton's intervention, and in particular, its inference that approval of these applications will necessitate a review of the commitments of ATV and ASN, the Commission noted that its policy objective of making a third, over-the-air, local television service available to all of the Maritime provinces had been a matter of public record for more than a decade. In the circumstances, the Commission would expect Baton to have borne this in mind when formulating its business plans and proposing the benefits and other commitments offered in the context of its applications to acquire the assets of ATV and ASN.

The Commission's deliberations included consideration of the fact that the MITV group of stations incurred significant financial losses in each of the last two years.

1997 November 21

Library Data Connections
to be Upgraded to 10 Megabits Per Second

The quarterly meeting of the Automation Working Group, consisting of technical and sytems persons in the NcompasS libraries, took place this day at the Provincial Library. A presentation was made by Andy Cornwall and Jim MacLean, both of the Information Technology Systems (ITS) Division of the Department of Education and Culture, which centred around recent and forthcoming upgrades to EDnet, the Department's province-wide WAN (wide area network). The upgrade to a 10 Mbps (megabits per second) connection between the Provincial Library and the WAN will result in a transfer speed which will be approximately twenty times faster than the current speed of 512 kbps (kilobits per second). Meanwhile ITS and MT&T staff will be testing lines and the Provincial Library LAN (local area network) to identify sources of any slow response times. All telnet traffic from the libraries will be given priority queuing.

The development of NcompasS over the next two to three years will include a gradual migration over to DRA's new software, TAOS. New hardware is being purchased, and the newly designed EDnet configuration is largely in place. DRAWeb2, the TAOS OPAC, has been released and is expected to arrive in the next few weeks. It will be installed on a Windows NT server on a new IBM RS6000/F50 server in December or January, bringing a very new look to NcompasS.

The Disseminator, Nova Scotia Provincial Library electronic newsletter
V4 N11, Nov-Dec 1997

1997 November 24

CRTC's Round-table Discussion
Fall 1997 Launch of
New Cable TV Specialty Services

[See http://www.crtc.gc.ca/ENG/NEWS/RELEASES/1998/I980330e.htm]
The CRTC has filed on the public record a summary of a round-table discussion held on 24 November 1997 with various members of the broadcasting industry to review the outcome of the launch of new specialty services earlier in 1997. While all parties recognized the success of the launch, the round-table process provided an opportunity to explore new ideas for future launches of new specialty services. Such a public approach is consistent with the Commission's intention to hold more open consultative processes, as announced in the Vision statement of September 1997.

The purpose of the round-table discussion was to bring together the Canadian Cable Television Association (CCTA), the Specialty and Premium Television Association (SPTV) and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) in order to discuss the recent launch of specialty services. The CRTC has placed a report on-line at http://www.crtc.gc.ca/ENG/general/post-m~1/summarye.htm

Vision.com met with the four analog services to agree on a wholesale fee and a $1 million marketing contribution. Vision.com agreed to match the services' total marketing contributions. In order to have a tier with sufficient breadth to appeal to consumers, the digital services were invited to submit their proposals with a marketing contribution of $2 millions to cover the expenses of the national advertising campaign. Individual cable licensees negotiated on their own terms with the U.S. services. These negotiations led to the creation of the new tier which is comprised of up to sixteen specialty services. It includes ten new Canadian services, Family Channel, three previously authorized U.S. services and two or three new U.S. services.

In its opening remarks, the CCTA also (i) reviewed the chronology of the negotiations and the creation of the tier; (ii) described the decision-making process with reference to the demographics of the services being sought for the package and with reference to the CCTA's consumer research; (iii) reviewed the detailed financial model which the CCTA prepared and shared with the services; (iv) discussed the issues surrounding the channel realignments; and (v) described the joint marketing campaign...

CRTC: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
Round-table Discussion
Fall 1997 Launch of New Specialty Services
24 November 1997


The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
24 November 1997 Round-table Discussion

Archived: 1999 September 08

Archived: 1999 November 06

Archived: 2000 March 01

Archived: 2000 October 09

Appendix 1

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
24 November 1997 Round-table Discussion
Appendix 1
Remarks by Charles Belanger, Vice-Chairman, Broadcasting, CRTC
Hull, Quebec, 24 November 1997

Archived: 1998 May 24

Archived: 1999 February 02

Archived: 2000 October 27

Archived: 2001 January 08

Appendix 2

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
24 November 1997 Round-table Discussion
Appendix 2
Slide Presentation made to the CRTC
by the Canadian Cable Television Association
24 November 1997

Archived: 1999 September 08

Archived: 1999 November 05

Archived: 2000 February 29

Archived: 2000 October 09

Appendix 3

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
24 November 1997 Round-table Discussion
Appendix 3
Opening Statement by Canadian Association of Broadcasters
24 November 1997

Archived: 1999 September 08

Archived: 2000 February 29

Archived: 2000 October 09

Archived: 2001 January 04

Appendix 4

The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document:
24 November 1997 Round-table Discussion
Appendix 4
Specialty and Premium Television Association
Brief to the CRTC Post Mortem
24 November 1997

Archived: 1999 September 08

Archived: 2000 February 29

Archived: 2000 June 03

Archived: 2000 October 09

1997 November 25

The Advance
Gets Connected

The Liverpool Advance website became active on this day, at http://www.qcis.ns.ca/advance/. The Advance is published weekly, on Wednesdays, by Cameron Publications Liverpool, Nova Scotia. A page in The Advance has these specifications:

6 Column Broadsheet
Column Width — 2 1/16 inches
Page Depth — 296 Lines or 21¼ inches
Total Lines to a page — 1776

1997 November 26

Internet Mentioned in Hansard

Resolution No. 108
Building Electronic Space for
Community Health Information

Hon. Allister Surette: [Minister of Human Resources & MLA for Argyle] Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Digital Knowledge II Conference, Building Electronic Space for Community Health Information, was held in Toronto on October 20th and 21st of this year; and

Whereas the Western Counties Regional Library's Director, Trudy Amirault, and Western Regional Health Sciences Librarian, Jackie MacDonald, were invited to the conference to talk about their joint effort, the Internet-based Western Health Information Project, which was introduced in March; and

Whereas the project, a first for Nova Scotia, is being looked upon as a model for delivering health care information to rural Canadians;

Therefore be it resolved that this House extend congratulations and best wishes to Trudy and Jackie for having developed this project, which delivers authoritative and up-to-date information while at the same time offering a high degree of privacy.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

Mr. Speaker: There has been a request for waiver of notice.
Is it agreed?
It is agreed.
Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye.
Contrary minded, Nay.
The motion is carried.

—Source: Hansard, 26 November 1997, page 243

In January 2000, the Western Health Information Partnership website was at

Digital Knowledge II: Building Electronic Space for Community Health Information

Resolution No. 127
1997 Think Quest Internet Competition

Mr. Dennis Richards: [MLA for Cole Harbour - Eastern Passage] Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the 1997 Think Quest Internet Competition is sponsored by American software companies, including Microsoft, to design a unique educational web page; and

Whereas Krista Johanson and Brett Tabor were selected to travel to Washington this past week to participate as one of only three teams from Canada, with among 37 teams from across North America; and

Whereas their web page entitled, UNICA: A Journey Into Communications, features the history of communications, the many technical aspects, as well as ways to communicate better;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in applauding the outstanding talents of these students and extend congratulations to Krista and Brett for being among the finalists.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

Mr. Speaker: There has been a request for waiver of notice.
Is it agreed?
It is agreed.
Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye.
Contrary minded, Nay.
The motion is carried.

—Source: Hansard, 26 November 1997, page 256

[ICS comment: Resolution 127, remarkably, did not mention where Krista Johanson and Brett Tabor live.  Krista Johanson attends Astral Drive Junior High School in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  Brett Tabor attends Sussex High School, Sussex, New Brunswick.  Also, the resolution made no mention of the relevant URLs.  I herewith (below) remedy that oversight:]

Unica Island: Journey into Communication

ThinkQuest — an annual contest that challenges Students, ages 12 to 19, to use the Internet as a collaborative, interactive teaching and learning tool...

ThinkQuest '97 Winners
(Note: You can access this online record by using your browser's Copy and Paste
feature to paste this URL into your browser's URL window.)

1997 November 26

Toll-Free Telephone Service Interruption

OTTAWA, Nov. 26 — There has been an interruption in Canadian toll-free service which began at approximately 11am EST today.  As of 12:55pm EST today, service was restored to approximately 80 per cent of toll-free numbers across Canada.  Stentor continues working to get the remaining toll-free numbers back on line, and anticipates that the problem will be resolved very shortly.  Stentor has traced the interruption to software problems in redundant switches in Calgary and Toronto.  Stentor's primary focus right now is on complete service restoration.  Once service has been restored, an investigation will begin and measures will be taken to ensure that the problem is not repeated.
[Excerpted from a Press Release]

About 225,000 toll-free numbers in Canada

OTTAWA, Nov. 26 — Service to Canadian toll-free numbers was restored at approximately 3:00pm EST after an interruption that began at 11:00am this morning.  Stentor continues to monitor the situation to ensure that the system remains stable.  Michael Dunlop, Vice President of Long Distance, says, "In nearly 30 years of toll-free service, we have never had a complete interruption before.  We know that this is a rare event but will be diligent in determining the cause in order to prevent any future problems."  Stentor has traced the interruption to software problems on redundant switches in Calgary and Toronto.  An initial assessment of the cause is underway to make sure that further interruptions can be avoided.  After this initial risk assessment, a more detailed analysis will take place over the next week to determine how to prevent similar problems in the future.  There are approximately 225,000 toll-free numbers in Canada and slightly over one million calls each hour on a normal weekday.  The interruption affected the toll-free customers of the Stentor Alliance and also all other long distance carriers in Canada.  The Stentor alliance was formed in 1992 by Canada's leading providers of telecommunications services.  The alliance works with customers across Canada to economically deliver leading-edge local, national and international telecommunications services.  These companies maintain the world's longest, fully digital fibre-optic network.  The members of the alliance are: BC TEL, Bell Canada, Island Tel, Manitoba Telecom Services, Maritime Tel & Tel, NBTel, NewTel Communications, NorthwesTel, QuebecTel, SaskTel and TELUS.
[Excerpted from a Press Release]

1997 November 27

Government Ignoring
Y2K Recommendations

"Havoc Will Result"

Government Stonewalls Request for Information
about the Year 2000 Computer Problem

From Hansard's report of proceedings
in the Nova Scotia Legislature
on 27 November 1997:

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member from Queens.

Resolution No. 161
Y2K Problem

MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas leading industry experts are saying that if existing computer software isn't made "2000 compliant" probable havoc will result at the turn of the century; and

Whereas havoc will result in government systems being in chaos and companies not being able to count on reliable sales stock inventories, accounts receivable and payable, interest charges, loans or even birth dates; and

Whereas this Liberal Government spent $70,000 late last year on a "2000 compliant study" but to date have ignored a number of major recommendations put forth in the report and in the process have allowed data problems to begin surfacing in government computer records;

Therefore be it resolved that the minister responsible for Nova Scotia's Technology and Science Secretariat immediately come forward with an action plan that clearly shows the Nova Scotia Government will not allow these computer data problems to continue escalating.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

Source: Hansard, 26 November 1997, page 257
   http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/proceedings/hansard/C69/56_6_h97nov27/i97nov27.htm#[Page 345]

ICS Comment:
During the rest of this session — the twelve sitting days until 12 December 1997 — there is no record in Hansard of the government making a response of any kind to this "notice," which amounts to a request for information about what the Nova Scotia government's plans are for coping with the computer problems commonly known as the Millennium Bug, or Y2K. The government's only response was complete silence (popularly known as "stonewalling") on anything related to Y2K.

It should be noted that no other MLA, of any party, saw fit to support Mr. Leefe in his effort to obtain information about the government's Y2K plans.

A computer search of the Hansard record shows that the next mention in the legislature of the Year 2000 computer problem was on 25 May 1998.

764 days remaining before 1 January 2000.

1997 November 28

Halifax Harbour Bridges
Scene of Numerous Collisions

Black ice forming on the bridge decks led to vehicle wrecks and traffic jams on both of the Halifax Harbour suspension bridges on this day. A six-car pile-up near noon on the A. Murray MacKay Bridge had traffic backed up for more than an hour. A woman was taken to hospital with neck injuries after her car slid on the MacKay Bridge about 3pm. On the Angus L. MacDonald Bridge there was a two-car pile-up at 2pm, another at 2:30, and a three-car collision at 2:45pm. Another accident occurred on the MacKay Bridge in the early evening.
[The Halifax Daily News, 29 November 1997]

1997 November 28

Storm Disrupts MT&T Service


HALIFAX, November 28 — As a result of the failure of the commercial power source in New Glasgow, MT&T's telephone and cellular services in the Port Hawkesbury, New Glasgow, Antigonish areas — as well as some Eastern Shore communities including Sherbrooke and Country Harbour — were affected from 4:00am until 9:30am this morning. High wind velocities affected commercial power sources which in turn impacted MT&T's switching facilities serving these areas. As of 9:30am, telephone and cellular service has been fully restored in the affected areas. By noon, several pockets of customers in rural communities also became isolated as a result of power failures. These include Parrsboro, Upper South River, Doctors Brook, Tony's River, River John, Port Morien, Donkin and Frenchvale. MT&T has dispatched back-up generators to deliver power to these areas. We will have a report by approximately 3:00pm from the field regarding a time for service restoration.
[Excerpted from a Maritime Tel & Tel Press Release]


HALIFAX, November 28 — MT&T wishes to advise that service has been restored to most rural communities affected earlier in the day by storm-related disruptions.  As of 5:00pm, service in Donkin, Port Morien, Tony's River, Parrsboro, Upper South River, Doctor's Brook and River John was restored.  Service has been partially restorted to Frenchvale.  Telephone service is beginning to return to normal as commercial power is restored throughout the province.  These disruptions were a result of power failures due to high winds and inclement weather.
[Excerpted from a Press Release]
Historical Notes about Maritime Telegraph & Telephone Company

1997 November 29

Cost of Hard Drive Data Storage
Falls Below 10¢ per Megabyte

C.I.N. Tech Limited (Computer InterNet technologies), 1142 Bedford Highway, in an advertisement on page 12 of the Halifax Daily News on this day, offers for sale Western Digital 6.4-gigabyte hard drives, for use in personal computers, at $445.00 each. After 15% retail sales tax is added, this price is 8.0¢ per megabyte.
Historical notes about Cost of Hard Drives

1997 December 04

Internet Mentioned in Legislature

On 4 December 1997, the Nova Scotia Legislature unanimously adopted


Mr. Donald McInnes: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Nova Scotia Christmas trees are famous around the world; and

Whereas the Christmas tree industry is a multimillion dollar economic generator for Nova Scotia; and

Whereas one Nova Scotia Christmas tree was recently sold, via the Internet, to a lady in California who was so intent on getting a Nova Scotia tree that she would not take no for an answer despite the added cost of shipping just one tree across the continent;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly acknowledge the value and importance of Nova Scotia's Christmas tree industry and wish them every success with their 1997 harvesting and marketing operations.

Complete Hansard report

Go To:   History of Telegraph and Telephone Companies in Nova Scotia

Go To:   History of Railway Companies in Nova Scotia

Go To:   History of Electric Power Companies in Nova Scotia

Go To:   History of Automobiles in Nova Scotia

Go To:   Nova Scotia History, Chapter One

Go To:   Nova Scotia in the War of 1812

Go To:   Nova Scotia Historical Biographies

Go To:   Proclamations: Land Grants in Nova Scotia 1757, '58, '59

Go To:   Statutes of Nova Scotia, 1805, edited by Richard John Uniacke

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