Vidéotron Ltée
TSX : QBR.SV.B
TSX : QBR.MV.A

July 06, 2005 11:12 ET

Videotron Announces $29 Million Investment and Launches Residential Cable Telephone Service in Quebec City Area

QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - July 6, 2005) - Videotron will spend $29 million between now and the end of 2006 to upgrade its network in the Quebec City area to support new technologies in the years ahead. The Company is also pleased to announce that its residential cable telephone service will be available in the Quebec City area as of July 11, 2005, giving consumers an advantageous and innovative alternative to conventional telephone service for both local and long-distance calls.

State-of-the-art network

Videotron's $29 million upgrade project is in addition to its major investments in the Quebec City area since 1995, which have added fibre optic capacity to its coax cable system and created a two-way network. The network improvements have enabled Videotron to become the first carrier in Quebec to offer interactive services such as video on demand, pay per view, interactive games and an interactive television schedules. The current project will increase the bandwidth of Videotron's network and enable the Company to offer Quebec City area consumers cutting-edge progressive digital TV, high-definition TV, Internet and telephone services. For example, with the increased capacity, Videotron's network will be able to support 800 digital television channels or 126 high-definition channels.

Work on project design began in late 2004 and will continue until spring 2006. Roll-out began last week in the Cap-Rouge area and will be completed in late 2006. More than 4,700 linear kilometres of the network will be upgraded within the area bounded by Portneuf and Lotbiniere to the west, Beaupre and Berthier-sur-Mer to the east, Levis to the south and Quebec City to the north. During the project, one-day service cuts will have to be made to Videotron customers. Approximately 1,000 households will be affected at a time. Customers will be informed several days in advance.

Speaking at a press conference at the Centre des Congres de Quebec, a Videotron partner, Robert Depatie, President and Chief Executive Officer of Videotron, said: "Videotron's mission is to serve up the best possible user experience. This project is consistent with that vision. It will enable us to remain the first to offer distinctive, reliable services that meet consumers' real needs."

Cable telephone service in Quebec City starts on July 11

Consumer response to Videotron's cable telephone service has been enthusiastic. As of June 30, only five months after the service was launched in Quebec, nearly 42,000 consumers in Laval, Montreal South Shore and the West Island had subscribed.

Simple and economical

Residents of Quebec City and environs who subscribe to the new service will see substantial savings on their phone bill, especially if they are already Videotron customers. They will also be able to obtain residential telephone, cable television and Internet services from a single provider and enjoy the advantages of one-stop shopping at Videotron: one call to customer service, one technician, one bill for all their services. Advantageous discount packages will be available to customers who take service bundles.

Videotron's exceptional deal on telephone service starts at just $15.95 per month for basic service. Switching couldn't be easier: customers can keep their existing telephone number, equipment and access to the services and options to which they are accustomed.

Free long-distance calls between Videotron subscribers

Long-distance calls between subscribers to Videotron telephone service are free - an exclusive benefit supported by the infinite power of cable. A Quebec City customer can therefore call a Videotron telephone subscriber in another locality, such as Laval, toll free.

The technology used by Videotron will support distinctive progressive services such as video phone service and unified messaging. Unlike the vast majority of VoIP digital telephone services, Videotron's cable telephone service does not require an Internet connection. Videotron's telephone service uses the Internet Protocol, a data transfer protocol, to transmit voice over its private network, which is managed entirely by Videotron. Calls are not routed over the public information highway, as they are in the case of other Internet telephone providers.

Looking to the future

The announcement of the network upgrade and the launch of cable telephone service in Quebec City comes on the heels of an agreement between Videotron management and employees to extend for three years the collective agreements expiring in December 2006 and subsequent months. Meanwhile, the Company is continuing its recruitment drive to fill positions for customer service and technical support representatives at its Quebec City customer contact centre in order to deliver optimal service to its customers.

Videotron ltee (www.videotron.com), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Quebecor Media Inc., is an integrated communications company engaged in cable television, interactive multimedia development, Internet access services and residential telephone service. Videotron is a leader in new technologies with its illico interactive television system and its broadband network, which supports high-speed cable Internet access, analog and digital cable television, and other services. Videotron serves 1,455,000 cable television customers in Quebec; including over 355,000 illico subscribers. Videotron is also the Quebec leader in high-speed Internet access, with 552,000 subscribers to its cable modem and dial-up services. As of June 30, 2005, Videotron was also providing residential telephone service to more than 41,840 customers in Laval, South Shore Montreal and the West Island.

Contact Information

  • Videotron ltee
    Isabelle Dessureault
    General Manager, Communications
    (514) 380-7501
    Mobile: (514) 295-0304