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

Chapter 62
2000 July 1-18

2000 July

Current Status of
Digital Television in Canada

Right now, there is just one station in Canada transmitting a digital television signal.  The Canadian Digital Television Inc. (CDTV) group, a consortium of broadcasters, manufacturers, and service providers that is overseeing the introduction of digital television in Canada, is sponsoring a test based in Manotick, south of Ottawa, Ontario, which has been broadcasting digitally on UHF (Ultra High Frequency) Channel 67 (788-794 MHz) since December 1999.  The signal can be picked up — if you have a digital receiver — in the Ottawa-Hull metro area and as far south as the St. Lawrence River valley.  The project, which rebroadcasts City-TV, is a collaboration of private and public interests, including CHUM television and Industry Canada, a federal government department.

True digital television (digital all the way from the camera to you, not the present transitional stuff that switches back and forth between analog and digital several times along the delivery path ending up as the familiar analog NTSC* signal based on the ancient 480-lines-of-resolution 30-frames-a-second standard set sixty years ago and first broadcast in New York in 1941) is an impressive beast: rich, saturated colours, razor-sharp images, and CD-quality sound.  The current consensus is that, by the end of the decade, while we will still have a few analog channels (the standard television signals we get now), most Canadians will have access to digital TV signals, including high-definition 3-D.

* The official interpretation of “NTSC” was “National Television System Committee”, but colloquially it was often mockingly interpreted as “Never The Same Colour” – referring to the notorious inability of NTSC to reproduce colours accurately.

Canada's conversion to digital television is inevitably tied to what happens in the United States.  Since Canada has adopted the same technical standards for DTV, Canadian regulators and broadcasters — not to mention consumers — can move no faster than those in the U.S., and likely will arrive here a year or two later.  The U.S. schedule, mandated by the FCC, calls for 50% of all analog programming to be simulcast (broadcast both in analog and digital) by April 2003; 100% by 2005.  In the U.S., of 31 January 2000, a total of 117 digital TV stations were on the air in 44 markets.  This figure is slightly short of the 120 target in the top 30 markets but may be explained by equipment shortages and lack of trained tower and installation crews.

The FCC's plan is that all U.S. analog TV will be shut down by 2006 (leaving the FCC to auction off huge amounts of released spectrum to the highest bidder), but many experts think this schedule is too ambitious and the deadlines will be moved somewhat later.  Nonetheless, the conversion is coming fast, and there is little doubt that, ten years from now, analog television broadcasting will occupy a place in the history of technology alongside steam locomotives, acetylene lighting, mechanical typewriters, mimeographs, rotary telephone dials, and slide rules.

[Excerpted and adapted from the National Post, 4 July 2000]

Canada's "Fast Follow" Policy

January 2000

Canada made a strategic decision to fast follow the U.S. digital TV roll out by 18 to 24 months.  CDTV has and continues to spend a great deal of time and effort monitoring the U.S. roll out.  However, there is a difference between a digital roll out and being digitally operational.  At the end of December, some 100 U.S. stations were on the air in the top 30 markets.  DTV "ready" television set sales have met the initial projections of 120 thousand in 1999.  This is projected to grow to ten million by 2006 and then continue at ten million a year thereafter.

Is the US digitally operational?  Arguably not; set penetration is years from critical mass, and HDTV presentations, while growing to almost 100 hours a week from all sources, is yet to become ubiquitous.  But the FCC mandated transition process is forcing the pace.  And over the next year one could predict that they would be operationally viable.  With the Canadian "fast follow" philosophy, we should be able to offer operational DTV services within a couple of years.

It is apparent that US transition to DTV has its share of controversy.  A debate has broken out over whether the chosen American transmission standard ATSC (A53) or, 8 VSB was the right choice.  The Europeans have selected DVB-T (COFDM) as their standard.  The proponents of each standard are slugging it out, and to be fair, there are merits to both viewpoints.  The ATSC standard was developed for stationary viewing and so was HDTV, while the DVB-T standard was developed for mobile services as well as stationary services.  While DVB-T can be tweaked to deliver HDTV it was not developed with that service in mind.

Note the FCC ruled on February 4th, 2000, against a petition by Sinclair Broadcasting to modify the U.S. ATSC standard.  Regardless, whatever the US decides to go with, so will we in Canada.  Given the television marketplace in North America we cannot afford to support a transmission standard different from the Americans.  One positive note should be made, Canada's follow-a-year-or-two later strategy has resulted in no transmission investments as of this date, and we can afford to wait and see if the issue is finally over with the FCC ruling...

CDTV'S Newsletter, January 2000 (contains lots of info — recommended)

CDTV'S Test Transmitter Project now in Operation

January 2000

Although only a handful of people have actually observed the results so far, DTV signals from Canada's first high-power over-the-air transmitter are now radiating far and wide within the National Capital Region. These transmissions, which began just before Christmas 1999, will play a key part in CDTV Inc's first major research effort — to verify the technical criteria used in the development of Canada's national DTV Channel Allotment Plan.

This milestone marks "not the beginning of the end, but perhaps the end of the beginning," as far as the overall testing project is concerned. Now that actual DTV signals are available for evaluation, the assessment phase of the project can begin. To this end, the Technical Working Group has approved in principle a test plan developed by the Communications Research Centre (CRC). The objectives of the test plan are to verify, through field tests, that DTV coverage can be at least equal to that of NTSC analog TV. During this process, assessments will be made in both urban and rural locations using a wide variety of reception facilities, including outdoor and simple indoor antennas. It is considered particularly necessary to verify and compare the coverage for analog and digital television at the fringes of the nominal service area, as well as in difficult receiving conditions (e.g. indoor, rough and hilly terrain, etc).

This high-power over-the-air transmitter will also be useful for assessing a number of related cable carriage issues. For example, local cable companies will be able to receive DTV transmissions directly at their local head ends and experiment with either direct carriage of 8-VSB HDTV signals or their transcoding to other modulation forms that may better suit distribution via cable.

The CDTV Inc transmitter installation, while not licensed as a conventional "broadcast transmitting undertaking" is nevertheless very similar to permanent DTV facilities that have been constructed in most major TV markets in the US. It is authorized to operate with a substantial average effective radiated power (ERP) of 32.7 kW and an antenna height (EHAAT) of 215m. It provides omnidirectional coverage on Channel 67 that is intended to duplicate the Grade B service area achieved by its host analog TV station, CITY-TV-3 Channel 65. The new facility will be receivable over a radius of about 70km, which includes the Ottawa-Hull metropolitan area and stretches south to the Seaway Valley, west to Perth and east to Alexandria.

The facilities have been constructed at an existing TV/FM transmitting site, owned by Rogers Broadcasting Limited, located south-east of Manotick, Ontario. In addition to the CITY-TV-3 and DTV facilities, the site is also used by CFMT-TV-3 Channel 60, CHRO-TV-43 Channel 43 and CHRI-FM.

The transmitter, along with the required output filter and 8-VSB modulator, has been provided at no cost by Larcan Inc. It is a solid-state, air-cooled UHF model, and provides 2.5 kW of average DTV power output on Channel 67.

The antenna, transmission lines and the antenna combining device consist of the existing Channel 65 facilities of CITY-TV-3 and are being donated for the duration of the project by CHUM Ltd. A cost-effective method of combining the analog Channel 65 and DTV Channel 67 signals was devised by Dielectric Communications, based upon the use of the constant-impedance output filter used by CITY-TV-3. This short-cut greatly reduced the capital cost of the project and may prove to be an effective means of putting DTV signals on the air in other cases where existing antennas are to be used to carry both analog and DTV services. In the process of making this scheme work, a considerable contribution was made by RFS Broadcast Ltd, the supplier of the CITY-TV-3 antenna, which sent two engineers to the site to help with the tuning of the system.

The DTV facilities were constructed in vacant space, within the CHRO-TV-43 transmitter building, that had been set aside for future DTV facilities for CJOH-TV. In addition to volunteering the use of its reserved building space, CTV will be picking up the tab for the electrical power used by the DTV transmitter.

Attention now turns to the testing process itself. The current study plan calls only for assessing performance using the ATSC 8-VSB DTV system, which has been adopted as the sole standard for over-the-air DTV in both Canada and the USA. However, there has been considerable controversy recently about the performance capabilities of the 8-VSB system. In view of this, the Technical Working Group has left the door open to using the Ottawa transmitter facility for assessment of other systems, should this be deemed appropriate by CDTV

CDTV'S Test Transmitter Project now in Operation

CDTV website at http://www.cdtv.ca/
CDTV FAQs at http://www.cdtv.ca/projects/FAQrev3.htm

2000 July 5

A New Look for the Guysborough Journal

Page size increases 17 percent

Name changed from The Journal to Guysborough Journal

With this day's isue, the Guysborough Journal, a weekly newspaper published every Wednesday (formerly Thursday) by Addington Publications Limited, Goshen, Nova Scotia, introduced "a new look and several new features.  In the coming weeks Guysborough County's community newspaper will also be introducing several new columnists."  Publisher Allan Murphy said the move is an important milestone in the ongoing development of the newspaper.  "We're still a very young paper, having reached our sixth anniversary last month, and we've done a lot of growing over those six years.  We felt that the time was right this year to introduce a new, fresh look for The Journal and expand our page size."  The page size has increased to 11 × 17 inches [28.0 × 43.2cm] from the former 11½ × 14 inches [29.2 × 35.4cm].  The new page area of 1210 cm² is an increase of 17 percent from the previous 1033 cm².  The issue of Thursday, June 29th — the last of the old format — had 32 pages, the same number as this issue; both issues had 28 monochromatic (black and white) pages and four pages printed in colour.  "Our readers and advertisers have supported us through our development from a monthly to a bi-weekly, and in 1998 to a weekly newspaper.  We appreciate that support; it's what keeps the paper going, and we're committed to working to always deliver a quality product that is worthy of that support."

The newspaper's running head — printed at the top of each page for identification — now reads Guysborough Journal and the date; before today the running head was The Journal and the date.

[Guysborough Journal, 5 July 2000]

2000 July 5

Trail Plan Under Way to Connect Counties

SPRINGFIELD, ANNAPOLIS COUNTY — A plan to develop the abandoned rail line from New Germany to Middleton and New Germany to Caledonia is beginning to take shape. A public meeting held at the Springfield and district fire hall June 27th saw the creation of an interim committee of eleven people, including representatives from the worlds of horse riding, snowmobiling, ATVs (All-Terrain Vehicles), outdoor enthusiasts and community members. Harry Delong of Springfield volunteered to be interim coordinator with the support of those present and three subcommittees were formed.

The subcommittees will work throughout the summer on developing a memorandum of association, including a name, goals and mission statement for the group, making a plan of action, and setting public meetings along the trail route. Members of the public were at the meeting to ask questions, with one of the biggest issues being the topic of multi-use. "There hasn't been any restrictions talked about," Carroll Randall, recreation co-ordinator for the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, said at the meeting. The community's concerns will be considered when the interim subcommittees meet.

Although the initial route would follow the old Nova Scotia Central Railway — later CN — line that starts in New Germany, with one branch going to Caledonia and the other to Middleton, there was discussion about potentially both expanding and shortening the trail on both ends.

The interim committee will exist for the summer season, with more public meetings and a permanent association planned for the fall. When an association is formed, they will begin to implement a ten-step program laid out by the Department of Natural Resources for groups developing trails on abandoned rail corridors. Those steps include securing public interest along the proposed route and then getting funding for the project.

[Bridgewater Bulletin, 5 July 2000]

2000 July 5

Coin Change Forces Modification of Parking Meters

Bridgewater town council wants compensation from the Royal Canadian Mint for the extra cost the town will have to pay to adjust its parking meters to handle new alloy-plated coins. Council will ask the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities seeking assistance similar to that provided in the 1980s when changes in the make-up of coins required meter alterations. Town engineer Harland Wyand estimates that, without the compensation, council will have to set aside about $5,000 in its capital projects budget for the conversion. The first of these coins, nickels and dimes, are to be issued in July. Quarters and 50-cent pieces will begin circulating in December. Because of the alloy-plated steel core, these coins will not work in the town's parking meters unless the electronic signature is changed to accommodate them, said Mr. Wyand.

[Bridgewater Bulletin, 5 July 2000]

Royal Canadian Mint website at http://www.rcmint.ca/

Royal Canadian Mint opens new plating facility

27 April 2000

On this day, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a formal ceremony marked the official opening of the Royal Canadian Mint's new plating facility in Winnipeg. Construction of the 5480 square metre plating facility began in April 1998. The Mint is adding 30 additional positions to its permanent workforce to operate the plating facility, which cost about $30,000,000.

Built adjacent to the Mint's Winnipeg manufacturing plant, the new facility is one of only a few in the world to offer this type of leading-edge technology. Production at the new facility began in early April 2000, changing the metal composition of the five, ten, twenty-five, and fifty-cent coins from a solid alloy or pure nickel product to a composite consisting of nickel-copper-nickel plating over a steel core.

Plated Metal Coinage Less Expensive to Produce

The new plating process, developed and patented by the Mint, will generate an estimated $10,000,000 annually in savings to the Government and an additional $3,000,000 annually in profit from foreign circulation contracts, as plated metal coinage is far less expensive to produce than the existing single metal alloy varieties. The Royal Canadian Mint — the Crown corporation responsible for the minting and distribution of Canada's circulation coins — will be aggressively marketing this new technology and securing additional contracts for plated coins of other countries.

The Mint's Ni-Cu-Ni multilayer process is acid based and electroplates thin coatings of nickel, then copper, then nickel again to the steel core of the coin, without the need for toxic cyanide required in other plating processes. The Mint's new plating facility has the capacity to produce one billion plated coin blanks per year in a wide range of configurations that provide durable and cost-effective coinage. Plated coinage has been used around the world for many years, in countries including the United States, the European community, Singapore and Israel.

In July 2000, the Mint will begin releasing the new plated coinage to the market. The Government of Canada authorized the change to a new plating process in 1995. The one-cent coin was changed in July 1997 from bronze to copper-plated steel or copper-plated zinc, using the Mint's patented plating process. The general public will not notice the difference to circulation coins, nor will the coin's durability be affected. Since 1995, the Mint has worked closely with the vending industry to facilitate a smooth transition and a successful implementation to plated coinage. In consultation with the vending industry, the change of plating for the 5, 10, 25, and 50 cent coins was delayed for five years to enable the industry to adjust their equipment.

Excerpted and adapted from a Royal Canadian Mint press release, 27 April 2000

First-Ever Plated Test Coins from the Royal Canadian Mint

14 September 2000

The Royal Canadian Mint's patented multi-ply Plated Steel technology is featured in a unique set of the first coins used by the vending industry to test this innovative technology. Dated 1999, these multi-ply Plated Steel test coins have never been in circulation. The set features Canadian circulation coinage denominations up to 50 cents, and an exclusive medallion celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mint Winnipeg facility and the establishment of the new plating facility. Though slightly lighter, the coins look and feel like any other Canadian circulation coinage. Their distinguishing characteristic is a "P" mark on the obverse of each coin below the effigy of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. The mintage is limited to 20,000 sets.
Steel-Core Coin Specifications

Reverse Composition Weight Diameter Edge
50 cents Canada's
Coat of
Fe 93.2%
Ni 0.8%
Cu 4.8%
Ni 1.2%
6.90g 26.98mm serrated
25 cents Caribou Fe 94.0%
Ni 1.3%
Cu 3.9%
Ni 0.8%
4.40g 23.58mm serrated
10 cents Fishing schooner Fe 92.0%
Ni 1.4%
Cu 5.5%
Ni 1.1%
1.75g 17.88mm serrated
5 cents Beaver Fe 94.5%
Ni 1.2%
Cu 3.5%
Ni 0.8%
3.95g 21.10mm plain
1 cent Maple leaf Fe 93.0%
Ni 1.8%
Cu 5.2%
2.35g 19.08mm plain
Excerpted and adapted from a Royal Canadian Mint press release, 14 September 2000

New Low-Cost Coins Unacceptable to Existing Vending Machines

The new coins will be made of a steel core plated first with nickel, then with copper, then with nickel again. The reason for the change to this new composition is purely economic — it reduces the cost of making coins. The new quarters will cost the Mint only 1.7 cents each to make, dimes will cost 0.7 cent, and nickels 1.5 cents. Previously, quarters cost 9.0 cents each, dimes 3.8 cents and nickels 3.6 cents. Citizens won't notice the change, and it will save taxpayers nearly $10,000,000 a year. However, to the coin-acceptance mechanisms in vending machines the new coins will appear substantially different from the old ones. This means the the coin-acceptance mechanisms in all vending machines will have to be reprogrammed or replaced, so they will accept both the old coins and the new. According to the Canadian Automatic Merchandising Association (CAMA) their industry will have to spend $87,000,000 retooling the country's 300,000 vending machines. The CAMA has petitioned Public Works Minister Alfonso Gagliano for compensation.
[Saturday Night, 3 February 2001]

2000 July 5

Gates Grant Provides 114 Computers

Nova Scotia public libraries are celebrating the completion of a project to install 114 new computers in 56 locations across the province, thanks to a grant provided earlier this year by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, of Seattle. Officials marked the occasion in Truro last week by unveiling one of four regional computer training centres established through the grant. As part of the $855,000 grant provided in january, libraries have also received technical assistance and other support, as well as $327,000 worth of software donated by Microsoft Corporation, based in Seattle. The project is intended to give people in low-income areas better access to computers and the Internet. The grant enabled the provincial library system to establish regional computer training centres in Yarmouth, Halifax, Sydney, and Truro.
[Digby Courier, 5 July 2000]

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Nova Scotia Regional Libraries Receive $809,000 Grant
from Bill and Melinda Gates

4 November 1999

HALIFAX — Fifty-six of Nova Scotia's regional public libraries will soon be able to provide their patrons with more access to computers and the Internet, thanks to an $809,000 grant from Bill and Melinda Gates, Education Minister Jane Purves announced today. Separately, Microsoft Corporation will donate $327,000 worth of software to libraries receiving grants.

The grant, part of the Gates Library Initiative, a program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is intended to provide increased access to computers and the Internet for Nova Scotians in low-income areas who would otherwise not have ready access to these technological advances.

" On behalf of the people of Nova Scotia, I want to thank Bill and Melinda Gates for their generosity," said Minister Purves. " The Gates Library Initiative will give many people the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills through computers and the Internet."

The partnership between Nova Scotia and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation began in October 1998 with the launch of the Canadian grant program. The grant will provide funding for 114 Internet workstations in Nova Scotia public libraries and the establishment of regional training centres at libraries in Yarmouth, Halifax, Truro and Sydney starting in the Spring of 2000. Staff training and technical support are also included.

Public libraries in many Nova Scotia communities are eligible to receive cash grants to purchase computer hardware, Internet access and technology training for library staff. Grants from the Foundation are targeted toward libraries and library branches that serve communities where 17.6 percent or more of the population lives in poverty. Statistics were based on the Poverty Profile 1996 report issued by the National Council of Welfare in spring 1998.

According to a July 1999 Statistics Canada study, individuals in the highest-income households are nearly five times more likely to regularly access the Internet than those in the lowest-income households, creating what has been called the " digital divide" --the gap between those who have access to the power and knowledge of the Internet and those that don't. The goal of the Gates Library Initiative is to partner with provincial, territorial and state public libraries throughout the U.S. and Canada to provide access to technology for all people. As use of the Internet as a learning tool increases, it is becoming more important than ever to make technology available to everyone regardless of their age, gender or income.

" Our public libraries play an important role in educating people of all ages," said Minister Purves. " This gift, combined with other Departmental initiatives which included Internet connections to all 75 public libraries, will give more Nova Scotians the tools they need to gain knowledge and find jobs in the growing information economy."

Gates Foundation press release, 4 November 1999

Partnership with North American Libraries
Gives Millions Access to the Internet

An independent assessment of the effort shows
positive impact for libraries and patrons

SEATTLE — A collaborative effort between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and North American libraries is more than halfway toward a goal of providing free public access to the Internet by installing computers and links to the Internet in 11,000 public libraries in low-income U.S. and Canadian communities. An independent assessment of this effort to bring Internet-based information to every library shows that it is achieving its goal of providing access for many otherwise underserved citizens.

Over the past two and a half years 7,082 libraries in the U.S. and Canada have received grants to purchase computers and access to the Internet, representing a US$100,700,000 investment.

Libraries are a natural mechanism for closing the Digital Divide, a troubling gap between those who have access to technology and the Internet, and those who do not, because of their strong, democratic tradition of providing free access to information for all. The partnership between the Foundation and local libraries has helped reinvigorate these important community institutions and place them center stage in worldwide efforts to provide equal access to technology.

Approximately 28,978 computers have been granted in communities stretching from the Yukon Territory to Texas and from New York to California, providing free access to information to roughly 145.3 million people — almost half the population of North America.

" Librarians from Alabama to British Columbia are taking a leadership role in ensuring that all people, regardless of age, race, income or location, have access to digital information," said Richard Akeroyd, the Foundation's Executive Director of Libraries and Public Access to Information. " The Foundation is proud to support them in their efforts."

An independent assessment by the University of Washington of the effort's initial stages reveals positive effects for libraries and their patrons, many of whom had little or no prior computerized access to information. Students and low-income residents were the heaviest users of the new computers. For more than half of the unemployed users who used the library as a resource while looking for work, the library computers were their only source of access. The study also tracked a positive shift in staff morale in libraries that had received computers and training, as well as increased library traffic.

Professor Andrew Gordon from the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington leads the evaluation. Gordon and his team of researchers have conducted numerous studies on the impacts of poverty on quality of life. " Our assessment of the initial stages of the effort showed that it is meeting its goal — making technology more accessible to people living in low-income communities and to those otherwise without meaningful access to this new world of information," said Gordon. " It also has revealed the challenges in sustaining these positive changes."

Key features of the effort which address sustainability include in-depth training for librarians and staff, three years of ongoing technical support and an intern program, which works to foster relationships among library schools and public libraries by hiring library science students to help with computer installation and training.

With the implementation of the effort in California, Kevin Starr, the state librarian, has seen a difference in how libraries in his state are able to serve their patrons. " Our libraries have greatly expanded access to computers and the Internet in communities with significant poverty," he said, " and patrons are happy with the change. In Glendale, people wanting to use the computer used to have to wait in line; now, everyone has access."

There is strong evidence that this and other similar efforts are making a dent in the Digital Divide. The U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) recently released the results of its 2000 Internet Connectivity Study, which measured the level of connectivity, public access, training support and technology funding for staff and the public. The NCLIS found that in the last two years, Internet connectivity in public libraries has increased from 83 percent of libraries being connected to over 95 percent. And in the same time period, libraries have nearly doubled the number of public access workstations.

Libraries throughout North America have used resources provided by the Foundation to support a variety of efforts all aimed at increasing public access to information. Libraries in the Yukon Territory created a laptop computer lab that travels to remote areas not served by a local library. It is one of 14 laptop labs and 27 fixed training labs created throughout Canada. Penrose, an inner-city neighborhood in North St. Louis, put funds toward building a technology center, which students from the surrounding neighborhood use to do homework after school.

This collaborative effort between North American libraries and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the largest and most comprehensive initiatives to give people free and equal access to information. Once completed, close to 70 percent of all North American public libraries will be open gateways to digital information. Further, with thousands of librarians, more knowledgeable about technology and how to access information, they are becoming key players in a sustained effort to provide equal access to information.

" The scope of this program, added to the ground covered by others, means that libraries are becoming one of the leading forces in addressing the Digital Divide," said Akeroyd.

Gates Foundation press release, 12 July 2000

2000 July 8-16

Radio Station CIPR On-Air

Parrsboro's community radio station, CIPR-FM, went on the air at 90.1 MHz with a Special Events broadcasting license during the annual Old Fashioned Saturday Night and Old Home Week celebrations in Parrsboro in July. The project received strong support from the community and carried that on through a successful "Up On Air" fund-raising telethon on community cable television that netted about $7,000 for the Parrsboro Radio Society. Society chairman Guy Bergeron said the organization is "half-way there" to setting up a permanent radio station in Parrsboro.
[Parrsboro Citizen, 30 December 2000]

2000 July 10

Internet Exceeds 2 Billion Pages

Internet Growing by 7,000,000 Webpages a Day

Study Projects Internet Will Double in Size by Early 2001

Arlington, VA, July 10, 2000 — Cyveillance, a Washington, D.C.-area Internet company, today announced the release of its study, Sizing the Internet, which reveals that 2,100,000,000 unique, publicly-available webpages now exist on the Internet. The study also found that the Internet is growing at an explosive rate of more than 7,000,000 pages each day, indicating that it will double in size by early 2001. Cyveillance further projects that the Internet's highest rate of growth is still to come.

Cyveillance recently conducted a study using its proprietary technology and identified a number of significant findings.

First, there are now more than two billion unique, publicly accessible pages on the Internet.

Second,the Internet is continuing to grow at an accelerating rate,despite its already tremendous size and historically high growth rate.If the current growth trends for the Internet continue, the publicly accessible pages on the Internet will double in size to four billion pages by early 2001.

For this study, Cyveillance analyzed Internet pages and examined links, tracking the frequency of unique URLs. To illustrate the power and scope of the technology employed for this ongoing study, a subset of the data collected over a four-month period alone represented approximately 350 million links. Additional findings from the study include: Also of interest is the fact that of the more than 350 million links considered, about 10.43 percent generated broken-link error messages and less than one percent timed out. Each link was tried three times with three hours between each attempt and a wait time of ten minutes before timing out. Note: in order to avoid pages designed to continuously download, only pages fewer than 200 kilobytes were considered in the study.

Source: Cyveillance press release, 10 July 2000

Cyveillance website at http://www.cyveillance.com/

Cyveillance webpage counter
(entire publicly-accessible Internet)

16 September 2000   4:15am UTC

17 September 2000   5:15am UTC

14 October 2000   5:15am UTC

2000 July 11

Additional Television Transmitters in Cheticamp

Acadian Communications Limited
Cheticamp, Inverness County, Nova Scotia

CRTC Decision 2000-257
11 July 2000

1.   The Commission approves the application to amend the licence for the radiocommunication distribution undertaking serving Cheticamp, by authorizing the addition of transmitters to distribute, in encrypted (scrambled) mode, the signals of Country Music Television, The Discovery Channel and WGN-TV Chicago, Illinois.

2.   The licensee will distribute these services on channels 16, 50 and 55, each with a transmitter power of 20 watts.

Source: CRTC website

The above is an excerpt only. For the complete text,
see CRTC Decision 2000-257

2000 July 11

More Companies Join Seafood e-Alliance

SeafoodAlliance.com led by Henry Demone of Nova Scotia

Three more major seafood companies have joined the effort to build an online B2B (business-to-business) commerce website for the industry. Scandsea International AB of Sweden, Youngs Bluecrest Sea-food Limited of Britain, and Sanford Limited of New Zealand will work with the seven original partners of SeafoodAlliance.com. The effort to build the website through which seafood companies can conduct business globally is being led by chairman Henry Demone, who is also president of High Liner Foods Incorporated of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Clearwater Fine Foods Inc. of Halifax was another founding member of the alliance. Together, the ten companies represent about US$5,000,000,000 annually in seafood sales around the world.
[Halifax Daily News, 11 July 2000]

The Members of SeafoodAlliance.com

Source http://www.seafoodalliance.com/alliance.html

Three More Companies Join SeafoodAlliance.com

Seafood.com July 11 — Three additional major seafood companies have joined SeafoodAlliance.com, an industry led initiative to set up to explore an industry-owned seafood ecommerce initiative. The companies are Youngs Bluecrest, the largest seafood processor in the U.K., Sanford Ltd., of New Zealand, and Scandsea, a Swedish seafood trading and supply company that also operates its own trawlers.

These companies join American Seafood, Highliner Foods, Fishery Products, The Barry Group, Clearwater Fine Foods, Coldwater Seafoods, SIF, Pacific Seafoods and Pacific Trawlers. Together these twelve companies represent about $5 billion in annual seafood sales.

Henry Demone, Chair of SeafoodAlliance.com and CEO of High Liner Foods, said "We now have global representation in SeafoodAlliance.com, and our work can cover the conduct of the seafood business in all corners of the world. We have significantly enhanced the possibility that SeafoodAlliance.com will develop an e-commerce business plan that makes the best sense for our industry."

Sanford managing Director Eric Barratt said "This is the first global alliance of its kind in the seafood industry, and it's significant that Sanford has become the Southern Hemisphere member. The member companies are working together to develop an Internet based business plan for the seafood industry. We're looking at the potential of a vertical portal to facilitate competition, reduce transaction costs, and provide greter benefits to customers and shareholders in the seafood industry."

Industry owned B2B exchanges are the new powers developing in electronic commerce. The venture capital magazine Red Herring calls this the "Revenge of the Bricks". In an editorial this month, they say that "no one wants to invest in B2B exchanges at the moment ... stock prices are down as much as 80%." They say the valuations of the publicly traded B2B exchanges resemble those of their "sorry B2C (business to consumer) cousins".

The editorial continues: "What happened? ... The value of exchanges in not in doubt. Forrester Research claims that exchanges will one day account for 53% of all B2B transactions. Investors don't like independent B2B marketplaces because they worry that startups can't compete with a new armada of B2B alliances being formed by traditional businesses."

About 60 coalitions of old-economy companies have said they will launch their own marketplaces. The editorial goes on to discuss the future of such exchanges. Either they can charge transaction fees, and generate large revenues, in which case these spinoffs can become public companies, or they may never become public companies, but only serve to reduce costs of their members. For large companies, the question becomes do they want to make a few million dollars from an investment, or do they want to save 1% or 2% on total costs. For most, the answer is obvious.

The NYSE, for example, traded $7.3 trillion worth of securities in 1998, but only generated $100 million in total revenue. That's a far cry from the $7.3 billion in revenue the NYSE would have gotten from a 1% transaction fee. In this case, the exchange is not so much a profit center itself, but is a means by which the members can conduct business and increase their own profits.

— John Sackton
[News and commentary written or edited by John Sackton at www.seafood.com, the web site for commercial seafood buyers, sellers and consumers.]

Source: http://www.seafood.com/sfdpriv/news1/20000711TMCS.html

SeafoodAlliance.com website at
Seafood.com — Independent Trading Exchange
Red Herring magazine

2000 July 11

Rough Weather Sidelines High-Speed Ferry
Between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia

She may be fast, but she bounces around when the seas are rough. The Max Mols, a new high-speed ferry that has impressed passengers with its lightning-quick trips between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, was forced to stay in port Monday night and Tuesday morning, July 10-11, because of rough seas and high winds.

"There has to be a trade-off for speed," said Bud Harbidge, Marine Atlantic's vice-president of operations. "It's better to leave it tied up than to have people in discomfort ... High-speed technology means light and quick, but it also means more motion."

The sleek, wave-piercing catamaran can complete the trip between North Sydney, Nova Scotia, and Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, in about two-and-a-half hours — less than half the time it takes the old M.V. Caribou.

But when the waves on the Gulf of St. Lawrence exceed three metres and the wind hits 40 knots, the ride just gets too bumpy. "Quite frankly, people get seasick," Harbidge said in an interview from North Sydney.

As for the Caribou, which is twice as long and five times heavier than the Max Mols, it was smooth sailing. In fact, the 27,000-tonne Caribou had enough room to carry most of those who couldn't get aboard the Max Mols. However, some big trucks had to be left behind.

"The Caribou can withstand the heavy weather ... (It) just plies back and forth," said Harbidge. "She comes in like the old girl she is and we were able to carry the traffic." Still, Harbidge stressed officials at Marine Atlantic — a federal Crown corporation — knew the 91-metre Max Mols would likely be tied up at least once or twice a month. The ship, built two years ago in Australia for Scandlines of Denmark, has made 32 round trips since it first started service on June 23rd. Only two round trips have been cancelled so far.

The high-tech vessel, which is being leased by Marine Atlantic for the summer, will be replaced next season by the much larger Stena Challenger. The federal government paid $58,000,000 for the Challenger, which weighs in at 18,000 tonnes. The Max Mols, which has an aluminum hull, weighs only 5,600 tonnes. Harbidge said the high-speed ferry bounced through a few rough trips last week, which has prompted Marine Atlantic to begin warning passengers to remain in their seats during the voyage.

Source: http://www.canoe.ca/AtlanticTicker/CANOE-wire.Bumpy-Ferry.html

2000 July 11

Dynamite Trail Group Updates Council

MAHONE BAY — There's a new trail group at work on the rail line between Mahone Bay and Martins River. Sandy Hamilton, chairman of the Dynamite Trail Association, appeared before Mahone Bay Town Council July 11th to tell them about the newly-formed society. As with similar projects in other areas of the county and province, the group hopes to develop and maintain a functional trail through the area.

"Part of our role also would be to establish the uses of the trail and to then educate people about the use of that trail," Mr. Hamilton said. "One of the problems that presently exists is that there's a lot of animosity amongst the motorized users of the trail and the landowners in the area. So one of our objectives is to determine the use of the trail and then secondly to educate people on how to properly use that trail so we can keep peace in the community."

The Dynamite Trail Association is one of three groups in the immediate area. Bay to Bay is looking into developing the abandoned rail line from Mahone Bay to Lunenburg. The Adventure Trail Association is working on the route from Mahone Bay to Bridgewater.

Mr. Hamilton said all three groups will share a common area somewhere near the Mahone Bay town boundary where the three trails meet. "We expect that at some point in time we'll establish a trail head there which will have interpretive centres and a parking lot and so on, so people can have access to the trail in three different directions," he said.

[Lunenburg Progress-Enterprise, 19 July 2000]

Generic EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) for the Planning of Community-Based Rail-Trails in Nova Scotia

That's an interesting name, "Dynamite Trail Association." Most of the trail associations being formed nowadays in Nova Scotia have names derived from local geography, such as
    Argyle - Pubnico Trail Blazers Association
    Aspotogan Trails Association
    Atlantic View Trail Association
    Brooklyn Community Trail Association
    Cape Breton County Trails Association
    Guysborough County Trails Association
    Musquodoboit Trailways Association
    St. Margaret's Bay Rails-to-Trails Association
and so on.

"Dynamite Trail Association" stands out, as a name more often associated with chemistry than with geography. There is little doubt this name was chosen because of a singular feature — the Dynamite Siding — of the railway that used to operate along this right-of-way. It was generally known as the Dynamite Siding but the official name, in CN timetables and other documents, was
Mileage 63.9   Oakland Shipping Spur, (Apr. 1978), or
Mileage 63.9   Oakland Shipping Track, J-53 (Jan. 1980), or
Mileage 63.9   Himmelman Supply Track, BJ-53 (Nov. 1981).

The Mahone Bay Station was located at mileage 66.7, thus the Dynamite Siding was located 2.8 miles 4.5km east of the Mahone Bay Station, as measured along the centerline of the track.

Oakland Shipping Limited and/or Himmelman Supply Company Limited were consignees of frequent carload shipments of dynamite from CIL in central Canada, and perhaps from other suppliers. In the 1970s these shipments sometimes (often?) came in two or three carloads at one time. This siding was specially built in a fairly remote location for the purpose of unloading dynamite and related supplies, such as fuses, primacord, etc., from the railway's boxcars onto trucks. This unloading operation was considered to be undesirable for the regular freight sidings, which usually were located in populated areas.

"Mileage 63.9" indicates the location of this siding. The railway specified the locations of railway installations, such as stations, sidings, bridges, crossings, etc., by stating the "mileage", which had the important advantage of placing the installation accurately and unambiguously. Mileage was always measured along the centerline of the track, beginning from a clearly-defined starting point. For the Chester Subdivision, after 1919, the starting point for all mileage references was the Southwestern Junction Switch, which connected the Halifax-Yarmouth main line of the H&SWR to the Halifax-Montreal main line of the ICR (later the CNR).

In October 2000, the Southwestern Junction Switch still exists in the original location, performing the same function — connecting the remnant of the Halifax-Yarmouth main line of the H&SWR to CN's Halifax-Montreal main line. About ten trains a week use this switch to move onto the Chester Subdivision — all that remains of the Halifax-Yarmouth main line track. The switch is about 300m east of the railway crossing on Howe Avenue, Halifax.

The Chester Subdivision included the main line track between Southwestern Junction Switch, in Fairview, Halifax County, and the Liverpool Station in Queens County. The Chester Sub also included all sidings and spurs connected to this main line track, including the spur from Mahone Bay to Lunenburg.

Details of the H&SWR between Martins River and Mahone Bay:
Mileage 59.74   Martins Point Road crossing XF
Mileage 60.10   Highway 3 crossing XF
Mileage 60.7e   Martins River Bridge
Mileage 61.09   Highway 3 crossing XF
Mileage 61.4     Martins River Station (12-car siding)
Mileage 61.60   Station Road crossing XF
Mileage 62.49   Indian Point Road crossing XF
Mileage 63.9     Dynamite Siding
Mileage 64.30   Sleepy Hollow Road crossing XF
Mileage 65.5e   Highway 3 overpass at Oakland Lake
Mileage 65.9     Mushamush River Bridge
Mileage 66.33   Clearland Road crossing XB
Mileage 66.4     Mahone Bay Yard, East Limit
Mileage 66.41   Clearway Street crossing XB
Mileage 66.74   Mahone Bay Station order board
Mileage 67.11   Main Line Switch, Mile 0.0 of Lunenburg Spur
Mileage 67.37   Long Hill Road crossing XB
Mileage 67.4     Mahone Bay Yard, West Limit
"e" means estimated (by ICS)
XF indicates a crossing equipped with electric signals (flashing lights)
XB indicates a crossing protected by a crossbuck sign (no warning lights)
during the last few years before abandonment in 1992.

1978, Oakland Shipping Spur, aka the Dynamite Siding
The above was scanned from page 22 "Chester Subdivision Footnotes"
of the original CNR Atlantic Region Employees' Time Table 33
taking effect 12:01am AST April 30th, 1978.
The Oakland Shipping spur track has a capacity of 15 cars.

1980, Oakland Shipping Track J-53, aka the Dynamite Siding
The above was scanned directly from page 28 of the original CNR Atlantic Region
Employees' Time Table 36 taking effect 12:01am AST January 6th, 1980.
Oakland Shipping Limited was the consignee for frequent carload shipments of dynamite.
"MBS" means Manual Block System, meaning train movements were
controlled by train orders issued manually, not by an automatic signalling system.

Employees' time table cover
The cover of CNR Atlantic Region Employees' Time Table 82
taking effect 12:01am AST November 15th, 1981.
8.4 × 10.8 inches   21.3 × 27.4 cm

1981, Himmelman Supply Track BJ-53, aka the Dynamite Siding
The above was scanned directly from page 18 of the original CNR Atlantic Region
Employees' Time Table 82 taking effect 12:01am AST November 15th, 1981.
Himmelman Supply Limited was the consignee for frequent carload shipments of dynamite.

So — What is an “employees' timetable”?

Railway timetables come in two main types, “public” and “employee”.  The distinction is significant for historians.  The two types contain some duplicated information, but each has information not found in the other.

Public timetables are intended for use by the travelling public and include details about fares and when and where to catch trains, especially connecting services, which do not appear in employees timetables.  Public timetables are/were printed in relatively large numbers and therefore have a relatively high survival rate after the passage of many years.

Employee timetables record in detail when and where trains are to run as well as specific instructions about train operations that are not covered in general rule books, such as the pecularities of local infrastructure (siding capacities, location of wyes, industrial spurs with dangerously restricted clearances, special crossing signal systems, etc.).  These details can be of great interest to historians.  By their nature, then, employee timetables contain significant, detailed and highly reliable information about daily railway operations, the layout of the physical plant, and the general working environment at the date of publication.  Many include some variation of the instructions “For the use of employees only” and “Destroy all previous issues”.  Taken together, these two instructions have made employee timetables relatively rare.  The first made them few in number to begin with, and the second has tended to ensure a low survival rate of those few.  Fortunately, railway employees have not always obeyed all of the rules and instructions, and historians have benefitted thereby.

Pages 16-17, Branchline, October 2000 [a monthly newsletter published by the Bytown Railway Society, Ottawa, Ontario]

Between Mahone Bay and Martins River

Between Mahone Bay and Lunenburg

Between Mahone Bay and Bridgewater

Himmelman Supply Company Limited

Oakland Shipping Limited

2000 July 11

Bridge Collapses in Queens County

Collapsed Charleston bridge
Collapsed Charleston bridge
The Liverpool Advance, 19 July 2000

People in the quiet community of Charleston, Queens County, were surprised on Tuesday, July 11th, by the sight of their bridge collapsed into the Medway River. The bridge failed about 7pm, when a truck loaded with logs struck its top beams, sending the bridge and the truck crashing into the river below. RCMP, ambulance teams, and local fire departments were on the scene a short time later. The driver of the truck, a local man, was taken to the hospital complaining of a back injury.
Bridge beam snagged by truck
Bridge beam snagged by truck

Department of Transport crews have been at the site since the accident, working to remove the bridge and truck from the river. On Friday, the logs were removed and the truck was drained of oil and hydraulic fluids. The truck was then slowly winched out, along the sloping roadway of the fallen bridge. Aubrey Martell, a department supervisor, said the bridge will be cut into pieces for removal, a process that could take about a week. "The key was to get the truck and its load out of the river," Martell said. The official investigation into why the bridge collapsed is continuing. Martell said the century-old span had been refurbished several years ago and was in good condition. It will be replaced by a panel bridge, similar to a Bailey bridge in design. It may be a couple of months before the replacement is in place and open for traffic. Motorists travelling in the area will be using the Mill Village Bridge until then as a detour.
[Liverpool Advance, 19 July 2000]

New Bridge Opens for Traffic

8 January 2001

A new $370,000 bridge opened to regular traffic on Monday, January 8th, in the Queens County community of Charleston, almost six months after its predecessor collapsed. The old truss bridge landed in the Medway River last July after a truck loaded with pulpwood struck an overhead beam. Its replacement is a panel bridge, similar to a Bailey bridge.
[Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 9 January 2001]

Province Sues Driver for Bridge Collapse

12 July 2002

The Nova Scotia government is taking the truck driver and his bosses to court, saying they caused the Charleston, Queens County, bridge to collapse on 11 July 2000. A statement of claim filed Tuesday, 9 July 2002 at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court names the driver and his employer, saying the load of logs was too high and too heavy for the bridge.

While trying to cross, the truck's mechanical boom and/or load of logs struck a number of support trusses, the province's statement of claim alleges. "The operation of the truck by the defendant Vaughan resulted in the truck striking the bridge," the document reads, "resulting in extensive damage and collapse of the bridge trusses and deck."

The government wants nearly $380,000 between Vaughan and his employer, for assessing and removing the old bridge and building a new one. The province is also seeking general damages.

[Excerpted from the Halifax Daily News, 12 July 2002]

2000 July 12

Making Movies at Lunenburg CAP Site

LUNENBURG — The Community Access Site (CAP) at Lunenburg High School is pumping up its technology in time for the summer season. A new iMac is being added to the site's collection of computers that are open to the public. The new computer hosts 'i-movie', a program that allows people to create their own 10- to 15-minute long films, says Lindsay Welsford, a technology facilitator at the site.

The movies are becoming popular as "a keepsake," she says. The public can bring in snapshots that can be scanned into the computer, along with any digital photos or videos, says Mathew Daniels, also a technology facilitator. Those images then are used to create a personalized video.

Along with the new computer, the site now has a digital video camera. One of the facilitators can take the camera to an event, film it, and compose a video. Also, titles and transitions, like fading in and out, can be added to the video for effects. Music can also be chosen and used.

And while the program may sound difficult, the facilitators emphasize that it is anything but. "It's all point, click and drag," says Lindsay. "We want people to learn."

People are also free to bring in VHS tapes with home videos to be made into their own movie that is burned on a CD. Lindsay uses the example of a video they recently did to be shown at a wedding. The video included snapshots of the bride set to music, and video clips of mom and dad wishing the couple well. The movie was transferred to a VHS tape for the showing.

Videos have already been made for the South Shore Alternate School and the Baystock2000 youth festival held last month in Mahone Bay.

The facilitators are at the site throughout the summer to show people how to use the new program, along with all the other services offered to the public at the site. Offering free access to the internet and e-mail, the site is very popular with tourists and students on summer holiday, says Mathew. They will also be offering several day-long workshops for adults and children and three-day-long camps for children. While the site is free and open to the public, the site welcomes donations for the use of the i-movie program and its technology. It is open at the Lunenburg high school Monday-Friday throughout the summer, and on every other Saturday.

[Lunenburg Progress-Enterprise, 12 July 2000]

VHS — Video Home System, a popular pre-digital (analog) home video format
CAP — Community Access Project (partially funded by the federal government)
iMac — Personal computer made by Apple Computer Inc.
CD — Compact Disc. Blank write-once 12cm CDs with a capacity of 650 megabytes
cost about $2 each in summer 2000 (about $3 per gigabyte).
Note:  Blank write-once 12cm DVDs with a capacity of
4700 megabytes cost about 40¢ each in 2011
(about 9¢ per gigabyte).

The Apple iMac computer http://www.apple.com/imac/
"When we released iMovie last year, the idea of Desktop Movies that even a beginner could make inspired thousands of Mac users. Because iMovie makes editing digital video as easy as using your iMac. Not surprisingly, iMovie was a hit. So this year, we're releasing a sequel. We're calling it iMovie 2. It comes pre-installed on every DV iMac, and it has all the makings of a blockbuster."

Lunenburg Community Access Program
Internet Community Access Locations, Lunenburg and Queens Counties, Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia Provincial Server, funded by Industry Canada for Nova Scotian CAP sites

2000 July 15

Private TV Broadcasters Angry
at CBC Imposing Restrictions on Tall Ships Coverage

CBC limits ATV and others to only three minutes a day

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is being accused of indulging in "cheque-book journalism" in a formal complaint that rival broadcasters filed yesterday with federal regulators. The Radio-Television News Directors Association of Canada, which represents many of the country's broadcast news organizations including CBC, CTV and Global, complained to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) about what it says is CBC's growing practice of blocking rival coverage of public news events, including the coming Tall Ships 2000 event in Halifax. "These activities by the CBC are nothing more than cheque-book journalism that censors the free flow of information in a democratic society," said Gerry Phelan, the association's president and news director of radio station VOCM in St. John's, Newfoundland.

"No broadcast news organization in Canada should have the ability to act as the 'gate-keeper' to public events."

At issue is CBC's move to acquire exclusive broadcast rights to the Halifax tall ships activities, including the arrival of the armada and the Parade of Sail, beginning July 20th.

But an unapologetic CBC official said other broadcasters have unrestricted access to the maritime event, although they will be limited to filing a maximum of three minutes of taped on-air material per day. Fred Mattocks, executive director of English TV production and resources, conceded he didn't know how such a limit would be policed, but added the CBC was interested in protecting its live broadcast investment. "The tall ships is a cultural event, not a news event," Mattocks insisted. But when asked why CBC's chief news anchor, Peter Mansbridge, will be at the helm for hours of live coverage on both CBC and Newsworld, Mattocks replied, "We are using one of our top on-air personalities in the best way we can."

The news directors association says it's not the first time in recent months the CBC has purchased exclusive rights to an event of significant news value to Canadians. It notes that last May both the CBC and the National Post made an arrangement with the Canadian Alliance party for exclusive rights to two of the party leaders' debates. "I keep hearing the CBC complaining about being broke," said Phelan. "Then why are they spending our tax dollars to buy such events?" The association argues that such actions violate the Broadcasting Act and wants the CRTC to examine the CBC contracts for the tall ships event and the Alliance debates and to make public the amount of public money spent on each.

The Tall Ships event is being organized by Tall Ships Nova Scotia, a non-profit organization, and is sponsored by various federal and provincial government agencies, including the Waterfront Development Corporation, a Crown corporation that oversees some public areas of Halifax Harbour.

Mattocks said broadcasters were invited to bid for the rights last April and none complained when the notice went out. He added CBC would have considered pooling coverage resources but wasn't asked. "Will we make big money on this? I'm not thinking of it that way," he said. "It's part of our duty to the citizens of the country."

In its five-page submission to the CRTC, the news directors association says the CBC's restrictions amount to a "slippery slope" contrary to the goals of free speech and cultural sovreignty. Private broadcasters say the CBC has behaved in a similar fashion to earlier news events, including Nelson Mandela's victoru tour event at Toronto's SkyDome two years ago and last summer's opening of the Pier 21 heritage site in Halifax.

[Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 15 July 2000]
[Halifax Daily News, 15 July 2000]
[New Glasgow Evening News, 15 July 2000]

2000 July 16

ICANN Approves Addition of New Domain Names

Dot-com era will soon end
as dot-whatever takes over

YOKOHAMA — The dominance of the dot-coms will soon be over. By the end of this year, addresses on the World Wide Web will use new suffixes such as ".shop" ".tel", and ".news".

The private corporation overseeing changes on the Internet approved the creation Sunday, July 16th, of the first new top-level domain names on the computer network since the 1980s.

The decision, made at a conference in Japan by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, will bring additions to existing Web site suffixes such as ".com" and ".org." But how many more suffixes or how they will be used remains to be worked out.

The resolution, passed unanimously by ICANN's 19-member board, was praised by some as a boon to companies that register and sell the Internet labels. "It's beautiful. It's a major step," said Steinar Grotterod, of Active ISP, an Internet service provider in Oslo, Norway.

But the move was criticized by some — including members of the ICANN board itself -- for failing to set clear guidelines for the number of new names to be introduced or how they will be phased into use.

"It leaves too much to be decided later," said Esther Dyson, who chairs ICANN's board.

The addition of new names is aimed at boosting competition among companies that sell and register domains for Web site owners, and giving customers more names and vendors to choose from.

It would also make it easier for Internet users to search the Web for specific topics. Travel agencies, for example, could use a ".travel" address.

The Internet now has a limited number of suffixes. There are the five familiar three-letter combinations: ".com", ".net", ".gov", ".org", and ".mil", in addition to special two-letter codes assigned to countries, such as ".uk" for Great Britian, ".de" for Germany, ".fi" for Finland, and ".hk" for Hong Kong.

Most of the country codes were established in the mid-1990s, but no new domain suffixes have been approved since the late 1980s. ICANN was chosen by the U.S. government in 1998 to take over Internet naming duties.

The resolution passed by ICANN Sunday calls for the introduction of new names in "a measured and responsible manner." The group set a schedule for the phasing in of the names, with a target date of December 31st 2000 for wrapping up new agreements.

The resolution, however, was notable for what it did not spell out: How many new suffixes would be approved, whether they would be specific — such as being only for travel agencies — or would be available to anyone, and how trademark infringement would be avoided.

Some board members said the process would work because companies applying for new sites would propose measures to handle problems and guarantee stability on the Internet. Members also agreed that they would probably only be able to approve about six new names.

The vagueness, however, left many uneasy.

Worries about the introduction of new suffixes have bogged down Internet talks for five years and were a main theme running through the four-day conference in Yokohama.

ICANN members, while acknowledging a lot of the finer points have to be worked out, say there are legal and other precedents to prevent widespread confusion.

Trademark infringement has been a major fear. Conferees discussed, for example, how to handle a request for "amazon.shop" and whether that would infringe on the rights of the well-known "amazon.com."

"There has been a history of protecting trademarks for over a century," said Jonathan Cohen, a member of the board and a specialist in intellectual property law.

The resolution, however, only called on companies making applications for new names to show how they would avoid legal troubles.

Eileen Kent, an intellectual property rights consultant, criticized ICANN for not taking a more regulated approach, such as approving only one or two names and then taking stock of the effects before continuing with more.

"There has to be more control, rules and regulations to make sure this goes smoothly," she said. "The result ... is going to be an avalanche of infringement lawsuits."

It's unclear how the system will work. At a morning orientation Thursday, July 13th, ICANN officials were peppered with questions by the audience — and responded with few specifics.

"The process is the big topic of this meeting — it's not been determined yet," said Josh Elliot, a member of ICANN's special working group on the introduction of new domain suffixes.

One fear is that companies or individuals will register hundreds or thousands of choice names — such as "beautiful.shop" — at bargain rates and then sell them for a hefty profit.

"It's going to be a bloody mess," said Martin Burack, trustee of the Internet Society, a Virginia-based group. "It'll be like scalping tickets for a hot show — and this is the hottest show in town."

ICANN officials say, however, that they are aware of the dangers and that existing safeguards will ensure the process doesn't spin out of control.

The ICANN board on Sunday also approved a proposal to allow registered Internet users to elect five of the board's nineteen members. Elections will be held in October.

The National Post,17 July 2000
The Globe and Mail, 17 July 2000

ICANN's website
Report of ICANN's July 16th decision on top level domains, from ICANN itself

"The Domain Name Game" Electronic Commerce Guide, July 24, 2000 — Some mystery has always shrouded the domain name database. Background about ICANN — Who is ICANN, and how did it end up in control of the domain name system? You, as an ordinary person, can have a say in who is on ICANN's board of directors, the small group of people who make the important decisions...

Registration for the October 2000 election of five At Large Directors will end at 2400 GMT on Monday, July 31, 2000. Updated information on the At Large Election process and on nomination of candidates for the At Large ballot will be posted on August 1, 2000.

"Overview: Cyber-Brawl Brewing Over ICANN and New TLDs" atNewYork.com, July 21, 2000 — The fight has been brewing for close to a decade, and it could well turn out to be the Internet's version of a barroom brawl...Watch out for flying bottles...

To Each His Own Domain ClickZ Today, 28 July 2000 — A humourous look at the current domain names situation, with proposals for off-beat domains such as
  .scam   for those crazy get-rich-overnight schemes that infest the Net,
  .sucks   for casting aspersions on corporations,
  .whine   for complainers,
  .ick   for grossout stuff...

Independent ICANN observer
The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School — "a research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development..."
ICANN Public Meetings, Remote Participation and Archives, July 14-17, 2000, Yokohama
Mulitmedia Archive of the ICANN Meetings, July 14-17, 2000, Yokohama

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