The International Telegraph and Telephone Consultation Committee studies technical, operating and tariff issues relating to telegraphy, telephony, data and telematic services. At the CCITT's Eighth Plenary Assembly, held in Spain in the autumn of 1984, the committee officially approved the North American Presentation Level Protocol Syntax Standard (NAPLPS) as one of three international standard protocols. This is a victory for Canada, because the new standard's protocol contains Telidon (the interactive videotex system developed by the department) as the fundamental component. The approval gives a major advantage to Canadian companies marketing Telidon equipment, software and services abroad.
Information Technology and Systems
Telidon, an interactive videotex system now becoming widely used in Canada, was conceived and developed in the laboratories of the Communications Research Centre during the 1970s. Since then, CRC researchers have been concentrating on applications that extend Telidon into new areas, and that will ensure Telidon remains competitive with the interactive videotex systems being developed and marketed by other countries.
Telidon Content Development Program
The department also completed its Telidon Content Development Program, and has funded 30 organizations across Canada to develop a wide range of applications. The results include Infomart's launching of Grassroots America, which has 700 clients; Dominion Directory's sale of Telidon content to EXPO 86, and Pixel Productions' development of the broadcast graphics used in CTV's coverage of the 1984 federal election.
Videotex Canada meeting
In March 1985, the department organized and hosted the Videotex Canada meeting in Toronto. Over 450 participants discussed the end of federal involvement in Telidon and the birth of a self-sufficient industry. Industry participants also met to formulate a new videotex industry association.
Telidon product development
Researchers in the CRC's Information Technology and Systems group developed a number of Telidon-based products during the year. Among the highlights:
- a digital high-speed image decoder which has potential applications that include photo imagery (photo-Telidon), facsimile and digital television, received a United States patent early in 1985;
- microcircuit chips for decoding and displaying videotex and teletext information. Norpak Corporation of Kanata, Ontario has been licensed to produce the chips;
- a teletext delivery system for teletext transmission, in virtually any cable or broadcast configuration, to facilitate the preparation, handling, insertion and management of information. Now being manufactured and successfully exported by Norpak Corporation of Kanata, Ontario, the system is based on the North American Broadcast Teletext Standard (NABTS).
Elie and St. Eustache fibre optics trials
During the last four years, the department has been involved in an extensive pilot project to test a fibre optics communications network servicing the rural Manitoba communities of Elie and St. Eustache. In 1984, the department transferred responsibility for the service to the Manitoba Telephone System, which now provides 150 families with Telidon, cable television, stereo-FM and private-line telephone services. Indirectly, the early positive results of this trial encouraged SaskTel, (the Saskatchewan telephone service) to begin constructing one of the world's longest and largest fibre optics networks. The network uses Northern Telecom equipment to cover some 3,200 kilometers.
Reprinted courtesy of the Department of Communications Annual Report 1984-85