Archive: August 2000 — Nortel staff head south

Around the same time that it was hitting stock market highs (and before it hit the lows), Nortel Networks made unexpected news when it announced three years ago it would transfer 2,000 employees to Computer Sciences

Corp. in the United States. Experts called it the largest outsourcing deal of its kind in Canadian history.

The move affected workers at 75 sites in 19 countries, including 700 workers in five cities across Canada. Most of the workers affected by the deal performed infrastructure-related duties, including legacy application development, desktop and help line support and data center support and management.

The move was in keeping with Nortel’s strategy at the time of focusing more of its efforts on what were booming e-commerce and other Internet-related projects.

You don’t have to be in charge of’s Archive section to remember what happened soon after.

Nortel, of course, wasn’t the only loser in the competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) market fallout. The same summer saw the birth of Cannect Communications Inc., an Oakville, Ont.-based firm that promised to offer one-stop-shopping for high-capacity Internet access, local long-distance and toll-free calling on a single network.

Cannect believed its ace in the hole was its Nortel connection. It used Nortel’s Succession product line to run the entire network across Canada.

At the time, customers sounded enthusastic. “”They had competitive long-distance and T1 pricing and they were keen for this business,”” Scott Allan, finance director to Premiere Technologies, told Communications & Networking. Premiere bought more than 125,000 minutes of long distance time from Cannect after switching from Bell Canada.

By now, Premiere may have switched back. Like many other firms in that sector, Cannect did not survive the meltdown and went into receivership only a few months later.

Canada’s privacy law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), was passed in 2000, but one of its authors wasn’t exactly taking the summer off to celebrate.

Stephanie Perrin, who later became chief privacy officer at Montreal’s Zero-Knowledge Systems, worried that public domain information — everything from telephone books to court records — could provide a source of contention as citizens realized how this data could be used.

“”You’re going to see sparks flying in the fall,”” Perrin told eBusiness Journal. “”This whole issue of publicly available information is a sleeper. Nobody knows the data government is selling. Sooner or later, the public is going to find out that the data is out there.””

When you’re right, you’re right: the following year, one of the first complaints filed under PIPEDA involved a Vancouver lawyer who objected to Telus’ use of his name and address in its phone book. The case is now before the courts.

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