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Oh, What a Tangled Network

[Burnaby, BRITISH COLUMBIA] It might not be as big a purchase as the last several, but it is a buy that Telus executives hope will strengthen the company's position in the marketplace nonetheless.

The telecommunications giant has announced its acquisition of the data network and facilities management business of Calgary's NWD (Northwest Digital) Systems Inc. NWD offers Local Area Network (LAN) monitoring, virtual private networking, Web hosting and client server consulting. The firm services Alberta-based clients in the oil and gas, education, manufacturing and healthcare industries, and boasts annual revenues of CDN $6 million.

"Telus' acquisition of NWD's data network and facilities management business moves us another step in our strategy to offer complete, 'end-to-end' data and Internet Protocol services," said Darren Entwistle, president and CEO at Telus. "Besides a high quality customer base, Northwest Digital Systems provides expertise and resources that help Telus meet customer needs in e-business - whether it is bandwidth, connectivity or value-added services like network design and support."

E-business has become a focal point for Telus as of late. In December, the company entered into an alliance agreement with the Kanata, Ontario-based e-business solutions provider DCIenable (a division of Dynasty Components Inc.). Under the agreement, DCIenable and Telus will collaborate on the development, marketing and delivery of e-business solutions to customers in the Ottawa region. DCIenable's array of product and service offerings includes Web/portal development and marketing, integration services, e-payment solutions, hosting and ASP services, logistics management and e-learning.

"Adding the full suite of DCIenable e-business solutions to Telus services strengthens our competitive advantage as we continue our business focus on Internet and data growth, and as we expand in Eastern Canada, and specifically the Ottawa region," said Mike Martin, Telus' regional vice president for Ottawa, when the alliance was announced.

Last year, Telus made two major acquisitions: the purchase of The QuibecTel Group Inc. (headquartered in Rimouski, Que.) and Scarborough, Ontario's Clearnet Communications Inc. While the QuibecTel buy strengthened Telus' exposure in Eastern Canada, the acquisition of Clearnet has transformed the company into an enormous wireless communications force.

In related telecom news, optical equipment manufacturer JDS Uniphase announced its minor equity investment in Avantas Networks Corporation, a Montreal-based, privately held telecommunications network testing equipment company.

But in small town Canada, a number of telecommunications companies are still focused on providing the most basic services to their customers, as opposed to making grandiose technological inroads. Yesterday, MTT Mobility (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aliant Inc.) announced the completion of a cellular site in Truro, NS.

A seemingly minor announcement, but without solid cellular coverage, customers won't buy into mo