Start up week – Oct 5 to 10

Today marks the start of Start-up week in Ireland. Ireland has done an impressive job of attracting established Silicon Valley companies to establish their European headquarters in the Emerald Isle. They have now set their sights on establishing themselves as an innovation hub by 2020.

I flew into Dublin on Saturday to join my partner, Ben Maguire for Start-Up week. The week-end was for adjusting for jet lag, getting caught up, watching some football and WorldCup rugby. Here is Ben in front of the local Dundalk Enterprise Ireland office where we have started talks

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Sunday was a bright, warm sunny day and we toured around Dundalk, home of the FAI champion Lilywhites (who will be playing in the FAI Cup final again this year against Cork City !) and we finished up at the Spirit Store for some Guiness and traditional Irish music.

spirit store

It was wonderful and reminded me of the céilidh parties in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland back in Canada. All ages we are at the pub, players joined in the fun, adding their guitars, flutes, fiddles and accordians to the mix. The jovial atmosphere had us making new friends and reconnecting with old, including the former trombone player of the Benny Maguire All-Stars orchestra !

Today we are off to Dublin as we are booked in the Silcon Stroll. Looking forward to meeting some Irish start-ups and seeing how the entrepreneurial culture here compares and contrasts with Waterloo and the Bay Area. Follow us along on twitter @TimoVainionpaa

The Pros and Cons of Doing Business in Ireland


This was published on the IrishCentral website on April 16, 2015

Stephen Mullan, vice president of emerging business at the IDA (Industrial Development Agency) Ireland, outlined some of the advantages that Ireland offers to businesses.

“Ireland is an ideal entry point for businesses seeking access to the European Union and its population of more than 300 million people. Businesses with operations in Ireland benefit from barrier-free access to the EU’s 28 member countries and its four freedoms – free movement of goods, capital, services, and people,” Mullan said.

More than 1,000 multinational companies have chosen Ireland as their strategic European base. The Emerald Isle has one of the world’s lowest nominal corporate tax rates, 12.5 percent for active businesses.

Other advantages are its predominately young workforce, with a median population age of 35 – the lowest in the EU – and a higher percentage of post-secondary graduates than the U.S. or the U.K.

However, Mullan cautioned that there must be “a legitimate business reason” for wanting to locate in Ireland.

“The country’s low corporate tax rate should be among the considerations–but cannot be the sole reason,” he said. 
Business seeking to be considered for financial incentives must satisfy the IDA that the assistance is necessary to ensure the establishment or development of the operation and that it is both commercially viable and will provide new employment.

Read the full article here at

Some Interesting telephone trivia

Did you know ?


– The origin of the phrase ‘to put someone on hold’ was Alexander Graham Bell handing over his telephone instrument to his partner Mr Watson and saying, “here, hold this”.

– The very first phone call was “Watson come here, I want you!”
It was made on March 10 1876 in Boston, Massachusetts, between Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant Thomas A. Watson.

– As a tribute to Alexander Graham Bell when he died in 1922, all the telephones stopped ringing for one full minute.
On the day of Bell’s funeral, the USA and Canada paid tribute to him by closing down their telephone systems for a minute’s silence, affecting over 14 million telephones.

– Telephone operators used to be young men. But they were prone to prank calling and chatting up female callers… “In the first exchanges, boys were generally engaged as operators, but due to their inquisitive spirits, mischievous behaviour etc they did not give their best attention and girls began to replace boys in this role..”

– The automatic switchboard was inspired by undertaker rivalry. Almon Strowger was an undertaker in Kansas City, USA, who suspected that he was losing business to a rival. The rival’s wife worked as a telephone switchboard and he thought she was diverting calls to her husband. One morning his suspicions were founded as he read in the newspaper that a close friend had passed away and been buried by this rival. This was Almon’s incentive to replace the human operators (who were not universally loved) with an automatic switchboard.

“I am often told that the telephone girls will be angry to me for robbing them of their occupations. In reply, I would say that all things will adjust themselves to the new order of change. … The telephone girls replaced the messenger boy as this machine now displaces the telephone girls. Improvement will continue to the end of time, strike where they may.”

The new system was described as “girl-less, cuss-less and wait-less”.

– One of the first answering machines was popular with Jews. Valdemar Poulsen, the Danish telephone engineer and inventor, patented what he called a ‘telegraphone’ in 1898. The telegraphone was the first practical apparatus for magnetic sound recording and reproduction, and enabled telephone conversations to be recorded. This was followed by Willy Müller who invented the automatic answering machine in 1935. It was a three-foot-tall machine popular with Orthodox Jews who were forbidden to answer the phone on the Sabbath.

Source – EPH

Pakistan shuts down illegal routes


Often here in Canada, when searching for options to call overseas we can be tempted by cheap calling rates that appear too good to be true. At Amitel, we use premium international termination services, high quality terminating with calling line ID at the far end.

The attached link, from the Express Tribune, is to a recent story on how the Pakistan authorities have shut down 26 illegal gateway exchanges that were bypassing the system. Some of our “cheap price” competitors will now find they cant reach Pakistan.

Further Expanded Portals

Amitel has again extended its geographic reach. We can be your primary long distance carrier across Canada regardless of who your local telephone service provider is. Just contact us and we can arrange to carry your long distance calls.

We have expanded access with dialup ports in the following cities;

Windsor – (519) 997-2498
St. Catharines – (289) 786-0909

and we continue to provide service from the following cities;

Vancouver (604) 282-7987
Calgary (587) 880-2325
Edmonton (587) 881-4395
Winnipeg (204) 289-3052
Kitchener/Waterloo (519) 279-6805
London (519) 266-6898
Hamilton (905) 769-0588
Ottawa (613) 627-2673
Montreal (438) 288-0778

and our Greater Toronto area numbers remain;

Toronto (416) 643-0007
Toronto (647) 727-3000 (for calling cards)

for dialup/ANI service outside of the dialports, you can access our 800 number (for a small 3 cent per minute surcharge)

Amitel, Your Friend in Telecom !

Updated rates

Amitel is alive and well. It has been quiet on the blog front as we have been busy on many exciting initiatives. I am pleased to announce that we have revamped our rate structure with an overwhelming majority of the changes being decreases, effective on November 1, 2013. Here are the highlights;

* Canada (except for NorthwestTel area) and United States calls (including Alaska and Hawaii) falls to 2.9 cents per minute

* There are sixty destinations at 3.9 cents per minute including ;
Argentina (Buenos Aires), Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile (Santiago), Chine, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia , Cyprus ,Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Isreal, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Martinique, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal,, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, U.S. Virgin Islands, United Kingdom, Venezuela

* We have lowered rates to calling mobile phones across the board. For example, calling a cellphone in the United Kingdom is now 5.9 cents a minute, in Malta 9.9 cents a minute. Now you no longer have to pause on calling a mobile, it is just as affordable as calling a land-line.

* There are a handful of increases, due to rising wholesale costs of termination. Most notable is Tanzania as the termination cost has doubled over the last few months.

We are pleased to be able to offer your premium quality service at these competitive rates. Feel free to share your thoughts with us here on the blog or on our Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

Your Friend in Telecom, Amitel .

809 Area code scam

Time to remind Amitel customers about a classic scam to be aware of.
Beware of voicemail messages or texts from numbers that you do not know, especially from area codes like 809, 284, 649 or 876.

They get you to call by telling you that it is information about a family member who has been ill or to tell you someone has been arrested, died, or to let you know you have won a wonderful prize, etc.. You assume the number is in Canada or the U.S. because of the typical three digit area code; however you are actually connected to a phone number in the Caribbean (i.e. 809 is the Dominican Republic). When you return the call you’ll also get a long recorded message. The point is, they will try to keep you on the phone as long as possible to increase the charges.

Amitel recommends the following tips to help avoid the scam:

* Return calls to familiar numbers only

* Check unknown area codes or country codes. Amitel will be adding a searchable list of area codes and country codes to our website soon to assist you at

* Always carefully read your phone bill

For further information and for a history of this scam you can check out Snopes at

Common Carrier

Since graduating from Engineering at the U of Waterloo, I have been in telecom all of my adult life. I was taught that telecom companies are “common carriers” and are subject to certain rules and regulations that other industries are not.

Simply put, in common law countries like Canada, industries like railways, airlines, pipelines and telecom firms that offer their services to the general public under a licence or authority provided by a regulatory body are common carriers. One of the biggest obligations of a common carrier is non-discrimination. A common carrier cannot discriminate, i.e. refuse the service to some members of the public and not others, or give prejudicial treatment to a favoured few.

Yet, I notice that in this day and age , telecom companies are discriminating, openly and blatantly and violating the principles of common carriage.

One example would be when a telecom company throttles your Internet service, slowing down bit torrent packets or videogame packets. Or when the companies that own the telecom facilities also own the content that rides on them (so called vertical integration). If they hoard that content and do not allow other carriers access to it at reasonable rates then it violates the principles of common carriage.

I would happily pay content providers directly for some content that appeals to me; say HBO or NBA basketball with their League Pass. Unfortunately, that is not allowed; I cant watch the Toronto Raptors on my computer by paying the league directly because the rights holder in Canada insists it be blacked out. They try and force me to purchase their offerings which I have no interest in.

When did we allow this to happen and what should we do about it ?

Treasures Versus Trinkets

August has been very busy in my household. I have decided to finally clean and de-clutter the entire house; basement, garage, attics, closets .. the works.

There have been many loads brought to Goodwill and Worth a Second Look in Kitchener-Waterloo. I have brought an entire truckload of paint cans, batteries, oil and fluorescent tubes to the Regional dump for proper disposal. Countless items I left at the curb for my neighbours and other KW residents to enjoy. There was no need for a garage sale, some ads on Kijiji ensured that all went quickly.

The rest has then gone out in the weekly garbage.

It was the accumulation of almost 20 years worth of “stuff” from living in our home with my two daughters as they grew up into adulthood. It left me to wonder why I felt such a sense of relief to see it gone, to see our home now clean, spacious and orderly.

I was reminded of a quote by Jim Rohn, “We must teach our children not to spend their money a dollar at a time. If you spend your money a dollar at a time, you’ll wind up with trinkets instead of treasures. You can’t buy much of value a dollar at a time.”

Much of the accumulated stuff, was just that.. trinkets. The things that I treasure are far fewer.. my home itself, and especially the memories of my kids lives growing up here. The day to day experiences, the triumphs and the sorrows of lives shared with loved ones. Being present in those experiences is what I treasure.

Share with me in the comments below what you treasure, and are grateful for this lovely day.

I am Canadian – a response to Bell’s Open Letter

August finds me hard at work updating Amitel’s rates. We will be lowering many of our rates, especially to mobiles overseas.

I have not found the time to write my usual Tuesday blogpost, so in the interim, please enjoy this article from the Cantech newsletter. The advertising campaign on the radio, TV and in the newspapers from Big Telecom has been quite loud, but also full of much misleading information. This article challenges some of the info.