Videotron Catches Gigabit Fever
Joining the ever-growing Gigabit Movement, Videotron has become the latest major North American broadband provider set to step up to 1 Gig speeds in a prime market.
Videotron Ltd. , the third largest cable operator in Canada, announced Monday that it will roll out 1 Gig service throughout the greater Montreal area using DOCSIS 3.0 technology. The move comes after the MSO successfully tested the service in Montreal homes and businesses over the last several months.
"Reaching the gigabit-per-second threshold in this technological test makes the potential of our state-of-the-art network that much more palpable," said Videotron President and CEO Martin Broullette in a prepared statement. "In light of the pilot project's results, we plan to go ahead with commercial rollout of the new service."
Based in Montreal, Videotron provides cable service to most of Quebec, with more than 1.5 million broadband subscribers and nearly 1.8 million customers overall. It mainly competes with BCE Inc. (Bell Canada) (NYSE/Toronto: BCE), which just announced its own ambitious gigabit rollout plans late last month. (See Bell Canada Unveils Big Gig Plans .)
Videotron, which already offers data download speeds as high as 200 Mbit/s over its hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) plant, did not disclose whose equipment it plans to use for the 1 Gig rollout. Nor did the company reveal its pricing strategies for gigabit service.
But, in its announcement, Videotron did indicate that it intends to upgrade its network for the cable industry's next-gen broadband spec, DOCSIS 3.1, sometime next year. Although DOCSIS 3.0 technology can support downstream speeds as high as 1.2 Gbit/s on North American cable systems (and speeds as high as 1.6 Gbit/s on European systems) through channel-bonding, it tops out at that point. In contrast, DOCSIS 3.1 technology can enable downstream speeds as high as 10 Gbit/s and upstream speeds of 1 Gbit/s or more.
With its 1 Gig launch, Videotron joins such other major North American broadband providers as Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Cox Communications Inc. , CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL), Suddenlink Communications and, of course, Google Fiber Inc. A number of small and midsized providers have started offering 1 Gig service as well. (See Suddenlink Goes Full Blast.)
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading