Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Importance of Punctuation.

I've just added the Toronto Globe and Mail to my menu of cool news, and I've been waiting anxiously to get some news from the Great White North.

Well. Let me tell you, it wasn't long in coming, and this one's a stunner.

It seems that Rogers Communications inked a deal with Aliant to hang its cable on Aliant's poles for an annual fee of $9.60 per pole. Rogers thought it had a five year deal with a renewal option that could have taken them to 2012, but they got the word that the contract was going to be cancelled and the prices were going up.

It all came down to a single comma in a single sentence.

The agreement said it "shall continue in force for a period of five years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party."

What everyone missed was that the comma between "terms" and "unless" allowed Aliant to dump the contract any time after one year. At least that's what the regulators at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecumminactions Commission said when they were done parsing the terms of the contract.

Rogers estimates that this will cost them about C$2.13 million more than they expected to pay.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060806.wr-rogers07/BNStory/Business/?cid=al_gam_nletter_newsUp

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