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Mar 01 2016

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Home of the BlackBerry

I had somehow forgotten that I was a few mere miles from the headquarters of my favorite device manufacturer, BlackBerry, until I was sitting in a session this morning at the Canadian Independent Telecom Association meeting. I was the only one in the room using the equipment—shocking! It was a great way to let NTCA’s Canadian members know that I support their economy. However, my love of my handheld device was a tad tempered last night when I landed after a really tortured trip to Toronto that took a total of six hours instead of the previously assumed two and included three attempts at landing in an ice storm and missing the CITA banquet. While I was proud of having remembered my passport, I was somewhat horrified that I forgot to get a 24-hour international calling and data plan. Thankfully, NTCA’s IT whiz folks Tim Emmell and PJ Johnson spared me from more mental anguish by double-teaming on Verizon Wireless to get me up and running. It may have only been a 24-hour trip, but my tether was calling!

That all being said, the visit with NTCA’s Canadian members (and those yet to be members) was really a worthwhile experience (as she types from the last plane that was NOT cancelled from Toronto in the midst of a snowstorm). I plopped myself down at breakfast with folks who I did not know only to hear one of the RLECs talking about putting fiber through Bell territory to connect a number of rural hospitals and clinics together. I knew I was in the right place (and likely worried the gentleman speaking with my enthusiasm for his project) since a number of folks were still trying to figure out if I was NTCA or if I was with the cable folks!

The topics of innovation, OTT video and cybersecurity could have taken place at RTIME last week, and likely did with some of our Canadian companies in attendance. However, the really interesting twist for me was the different regulatory paradigm in Canada and the opportunity to compare notes on the issues that are “hot” before their regulatory body. I’m hoping to entice some of the 40 independent telcos in Canada to join us at IP Vision in April or to do a quick border hop to Indy for our Fall Conference in September.

In the meantime, as the snow started to fall this morning, with talk of 25-30 centimeters (which sounds a lot more dramatic than a foot!), I was entertained to see that folks in Canada became as agitated about the weather and road conditions as residents of Washington, D.C., do. I did chide them about it as I moved my presentation up to an earlier slot in the day, and they noted that they have had a dry winter to date so were a tad out of practice. Meanwhile, I was happy to see that my flight to D.C. was the only one on my section of the travel board that did not have “canceled” in French next to it!

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