In Canada, as part of the Government of Québec's "Connected Regions" program to accelerate access to high-speed Internet in partially served areas of the country, cable operators Cogeco Communications and Videotron have announced several new projects.
Cogeco says it is pleased to have earned the Québec government's trust for 11 infrastructure projects, as part of the new program to accelerate access to high-speed internet in partially served regions. These projects will make it possible for the operator's subsidiary Cogeco Connexion to connect more than 15,500 homes located in 15 regional county municipalities across Québec.
Philippe Jetté, president and CEO of Cogeco Inc. and Cogeco Communications Inc., commented, "On the strength of the regional presence we have built over the past 60 years, we are pleased to be working in collaboration with the Government of Québec and many cities and regional county municipalities to expand our network to provide high-speed internet access to as many residents, families and businesses in these regions as possible. We applaud the Québec government's commitment and proactivity in fast-tracking the deployment of leading-edge connectivity infrastructure in unserved and underserved regions, in partnership with the network builders."
Cogeco notes that the current crisis the world is facing with the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the crucial importance of high-speed internet access for all Quebecers, across the province. "The robust network that Cogeco has built—and in which the company continues to invest hundreds of millions of dollars every year—is the quiet, invisible force that makes possible many of Quebecers' everyday economic and social activities," added Jetté. "Thanks to these ongoing investments in the operation, upgrading and expansion of its network, which serves more than 427 communities across Québec's various regions, Cogeco already offers Internet services at speeds in excess of 120 Mbps throughout the near totality of its network and 1 gigabit speeds across 65% of its footprint."
Cogeco says it also welcomes the government's establishment of the coordination table to accelerate the processing of requests for access to telecommunications support structures, which will benefit Cogeco in its projects.
For its part, following the announcement by the government's Minister of the Economy and Innovation in connection with the Québec broadband program, Connected Regions component, Videotron announced it will build new infrastructure to offer high-speed internet services to the citizens of Charlevoix, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Memphrémagog and Montérégie.
Jean-François Pruneau, president and CEO of Videotron, commented, "Videotron is pleased to connect these families and businesses that currently do not have access to high-speed internet. We intend to offer them the best on the market with the same technology, at the same price, as elsewhere in Quebec. We will go even further by offering them Helix, our brand new entertainment and connected life management platform. Helix, with its 240,000 subscribers to the Internet and television service, is a success across the board and offers, from a technological point of view, the most advanced solution on the market."
Videotron says it welcomes the government's desire to speed up the processing of requests for access to telecommunications support infrastructures and offers its collaboration to fuel discussions around this subject.
“Our goal has always been to connect as many Quebecers as possible and we have submitted a large number of projects in this direction," continued Pruneau. "We wanted to do much more and make a real difference for underserved regions. Count on us to continue proposing new connectivity projects," he added.
In the program, Videotron will connect thousands of homes and businesses in 4 regions of Quebec. The Basques, Charlevoix, Memphrémagog, Roussillon and Rouville regional county municipalities will be connected, via deployment of a new-generation network entirely based on fiber optics supporting speeds much higher than the speeds of 50/10, initially requested by the government, as noted by the provider. Additionally, citizens will also receive access, at the same price as elsewhere in Quebec, to Helix, the new entertainment and connected life management experience from Videotron.
Videotron also highlighted the collaboration of the newly served area's regional county municipalities (RCMs) in the completion of this important stage of the project. The Connected Regions program currently calls for infrastructure to be completed by summer 2022.
"High-speed Internet is essential to our economic recovery and to the creation of jobs in our regions," concluded Videotron's Pruneau. "As much for our families as companies of various sizes, the current pandemic is another example that it is essential to bring all Quebecers into the new digital era and Videotron will be there to put its shoulder to the wheel."