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Videotron President and CEO calls for deregulation of cable companies

Montréal, October 31, 2006 — Today, Videotron President and CEO, Robert Dépatie, made his position clear in favour of a reduction in regulatory barriers hindering the communications industry from showing its full capacity for the benefit of consumers. Speaking in Ottawa to the delegates of the 4th Annual Telecommunications Forum, Mr. Dépatie delivered a vibrant plea for free competition.

"In all of our markets, Videotron is the embodiment of competition," said Mr. Dépatie. "We are calling for it with all our might because competition generates ideas and innovation. It makes companies better and more creative by forcing them to innovate and offer superior products and services at more affordable costs."

In this respect, Videotron President and CEO notes that while deregulating the local residential telephone service, the CRTC continues to maintain a status quo in which cable companies are affected by a very constraining regulation, preventing them from achieving their full potential.

"Presently, there are more than 200 CRTC rules governing our actions, restricting our freedom of operation and as many that stop our capacity to innovate. If residential telephone service is to be deregulated, then in all basic equity, the CRTC must free cable companies from the regulatory burden preventing them from offering better choice and prices to consumers."

For example, under one of these rules, cable companies are presently requested to broadcast television channels in analog, digital and high-definition modes, when available. This results in a clearly disproportionate use of the bandwidth and a considerable reduction in the capacity to broadcast other channels that would meet more specific consumer needs.

Status quo in the wireless industry
As well, Mr. Dépatie points out the fact that too few players in the wireless telecommunications industry forces Canadians to pay higher prices when compared to other countries and results in a lower penetration rate of the wireless in Canada. From a global perspective, our country is some two and a half years behind the United States, and falls even more behind when compared to Europe. Furthermore, the slow growth is even greater in Quebec than in the rest of the country.

Many experts agree that lack of competition and poor eagerness of the majority of present licence holders to innovate and build networks would explain high prices and lower quality of services in the Canadian market.

"Canadians could really benefit from having new players on the market; they would take advantage of increased innovation and more affordable prices."

Videotron Ltd. (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, cable telephony and wireless. 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. As of June 30, 2006, Videotron was serving 1,521,000 cable television customers in Québec; including 545,000 illico subscribers. Videotron is also the Québec leader in high-speed Internet access, with 726,000 subscribers to its cable modem and dial-up services. In addition, Videotron provides residential and commercial telephone service to more than 283,000 customers in Québec. Since August 2006, Videotron also offers wireless phone service.


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