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Canadian Telecom Summit: Videotron builds, develops and creates value

Montréal, June 1, 2011 – Robert Dépatie, Videotron’s President and CEO spoke today at the Canadian Telecom Summit held in Toronto while hundreds from the telecommunications industry gathered to listen. Here are the main lines of the speech he delivered.

“The last time we spoke, I said that Videotron would offer attractive mobile products and services and a lot of value. I am proud to report that we have done just that. We promised lower prices on the mobile bill.  We delivered. We promised better and more flexible offers to our customers. We delivered on that front, as well.”

“As for the contentious issue of usage-based billing, UBB is simple in concept:  an Internet provider will apply an extra fee to certain heavy users who go over a pre-approved bandwidth limit. For Videotron, the issue is less polemic. With our customers, there is no battle.” “We note that this issue affects only a small minority of Canadian Internet users.” “… the first (option) is to use the tools at our disposal to manage activity on the network. In this scenario, those who exceed their limits are asked to make a small additional contribution. Therefore, in a managed network, only the heaviest users pay overage fees. It is the option that Videotron implemented several years ago.  We manage our Internet network, and we limit how much consumption is free.”

“Canada faces some crucial choices.  The upcoming 700 megahertz auction and usage-based billing are two of them. How we deal with these issues will largely determine Canada’s ability to lead the world in innovation, enterprise and technology. The wrong policy decisions could be devastating. Sometime next year, the Government of Canada will hold the most important spectrum auction in the history of this industry. Everyone is anxiously waiting to see what rules Industry Canada will set for this auction.”

“In 2008, Industry Canada set aside a portion of the AWS spectrum for new entrants. It was a wise move that helped to foster a new era of competition in the Canadian marketplace. Four new wireless carriers entered the market – four companies offering fresh new ideas, innovative offerings and better customer care.  Videotron was one of them. The result?  Canadians – and not only Quebeckers – are able to enjoy more choice, more value, better prices, and better service. Now, with the upcoming 700 megahertz auction, the Government has the opportunity to cement true wireless competition.”

"We propose the use of an in-band spectrum cap for the upcoming 700 MHz auction. The cap would work as follows:  Any bidder who already owns low-frequency cellular spectrum in a given region would be allowed to bid on and if successful purchase, one new spectrum block at 700 MHz.  Any bidder who does not already own low- frequency cellular spectrum in that region would be allowed to buy up to two new spectrum blocks at 700 MHz.  That’s it.  That's all. The advantages of the Videotron proposal are several.  It would not exclude any company from bidding on spectrum, nor would it guarantee that they would succeed.  It would not be a set-aside.  Furthermore, it would avoid any definitional skirmish over who is – or who is not – a new entrant.  Oh, and as you can see from this slide, the incumbent cellular carriers would still come out on top."
“Canada’s place in the 21st century digital world will ultimately be the result of decisions that we make today.  When we look back on those decisions in five years or in twenty-five years, we won’t be focusing on the minutiae:  Did Industry Canada slice its spectrum blocks perfectly?  Did the CRTC give Internet resellers just the right margin?  Only one question will matter, really:  Did policy makers do everything they could to create the conditions to allow service providers to flourish/to allow competing network builders to create the platforms for newer, faster, better services to Canadians? All other questions will be secondary, if material at all. I leave you to ponder the implications.”

Check against delivery.

Videotron (www.videotron.com), a wholly owned subsidiary of Quebecor Media Inc., is an integrated communications company engaged in cable television, interactive multimedia development, and Internet access, cable telephone and mobile telephone services. Videotron is a leader in new technologies with its interactive Digital TV service and its broadband network, which supports high-speed cable Internet access, analog and digital cable television, and other services. As of March 31, 2011, Videotron was serving 1,808,600 cable television customers, including 1,243,700 subscribers to its digital service. Videotron is also the Québec leader in high-speed Internet access, with 1,267,100 subscribers to its cable and mobile services as of March 31, 2011. As of the same date, Videotron had 164,700 subscriber connections to its mobile telephone service and was providing cable telephone service to 1,129,800 Québec households and organizations. For the sixth consecutive year, Videotron was named Québec’s most respected telecommunications company by Les Affaires magazine, based on a Léger Marketing survey.
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