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When the rampaging elephant drops dead

When the rampaging elephant drops deadBy Francis Moran

When I started inmedia Public Relations in the late 1990s, Ottawa and much of the rest of North America was mid-way through one of the most inflated economic bubbles that had been experienced up to that point.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act in the U.S. had spawned scores of ILECs, CLECs and a host of other acronyms describing various flavours of telecommunications carriers, all of which were on hungry equipment-buying sprees. This coincided nicely with the rise of data versus voice traffic, and so the requirement to build out brand new kinds of packet- rather than circuit-switched networks. These twin market drivers were the impetus behind a raft of new optical, silicon and networking startups in Ottawa as well as the unprecedented climb of Nortel Networks, which at one point had a market capitalization worth more than one-third of the entire Toronto Stock Exchange.

Driving much of that data traffic — either actual or anticipated — was this thing called the Internet, which was in its first furious bloom. The notion had somehow taken hold of otherwise canny people that you could put up a web site to transact almost any sort of business and¬†that massive value would swiftly be created simply by attracting eyeballs to that site, even if precious few of the owners of those eyeballs ever actually¬†bought anything.

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