Videotron: We’re fibre too!

The latest indication that Videotron is feeling the heat from competition by Bell Canada is that it has rebranded its Internet packages to include the word “fibre”.

Now, rather than “High Speed” or “Ultimate Speed”, the packages are being referred to as “Fibre Hybrid”. This term reflects the fact that, while the telecom company has 30,000 kilometres of fibre-optic cable, the cable that actually gets into people’s homes is still the same coaxial copper cable that’s been used for cable TV for decades.

Such a setup, in which the backbone is fibre-optic but that last connection to individual homes is a conventional line, is called fibre-to-the-node or fibre-to-the-neighbourhood. It contrasts with fibre-to-the-home, in which fibre-optic cable actually goes all the way to a person’s home, giving them access to very high data transfer rates and room to grow.

Bell Fibe, which isn’t even five years old yet, has been spreading in Montreal, offering for many the first non-satellite alternative for cable TV and high-speed Internet. We don’t know exactly how many customers it’s stolen from Videotron, but we do know that the powers that be at the Quebecor-owned company are very nervous.

Because fibre-optics is so central to Bell that it’s even in the name of the fibre-optic package, Videotron apparently decided it wanted to make sure everyone knows that it too uses fibre. Ads in newspapers boast that Videotron had a fibre network before Bell set one up.

But Videotron’s network, and much of Bell’s, isn’t really fibre. It’s FTTN, not FTTH. And both of them will need to come up with something even more buzzword-worthy when they do bring fibre right into people’s TVs. (Bell has some FTTH customers, but many with “Bell Fibe” don’t have fibre entering their homes.)

As these two companies continue their pissing contest, La Presse’s Jean-François Codère did a comparison between Bell and Videotron in terms of Internet packages. Bell comes out slightly better in some areas while for others you’re better off with Videotron (assuming Internet speed and download caps are all you care about.

It would be nice to say healthy competition is forcing both Videotron and Bell to put consumers first, but Bell just told clients it’s dramatically increasing its prices And Videotron booting its prices is a yearly occurrence.

Maybe we can just amuse ourself in the assumption that if it weren’t for competition, those price increases would be higher. But don’t hold your breath hoping for more. Cogeco just announced it’s abandoning its plans for an IP-based data link to residential subscribers, saying it’s too complicated.

12 thoughts on “Videotron: We’re fibre too!

  1. Marc

    We don’t know exactly how many customers it’s stolen from Videotron

    My guess would be a lot. Especially since the whole PKP thing this past spring, entire neighborhoods have been ditching Videotron.

  2. Mortemer

    In a few US cities Google fiber has arrived offering 1 gigabit (1,000 Mbps) upload & download speeds, unlimited caps and 1TB cloud storage for $70 per month.
    For an extra $50 per month you can also get 150 TV channels in HD with a DVR having 8 tuners and 2TB of storage allowing 500 hrs of HD recording capacity.
    This is the true power of fiber optics. Bell and Videotron may get there by the end of this century.

  3. Noah Sidel

    I bet there are a lot of people like me who left Videotron for Bell because of PKP and were so miserable with Bell they switched back. It only took 3 months of Bell “service” for me to say principles be damned in this case, Videotron is just superior.

    1. Anonymous

      I’m about there, had it installed in April and they still haven’t got the bills sorted out properly. I hate PKP but Videotron has their act together. Will be cancelling Bell in the coming weeks.

      1. Vahan

        Bell has the lines in place but they are an awful company to deal with, Videotron has great customer service, but have awful packages and PKP doesn’t help. I got rid of Videotron a few years ago starting with mobile, then landline, cable and finally internet. Went with TekSavvy and have not looked back.

  4. Jay

    I have to say billing snafus aside i love Fibe, I am lucky bell cabled my entire town FTTH last year and talking to the tech that installed it he said that the entire south shore will be covered shortly. They are cableing valleyfield as we speak.

  5. Andree

    Clearly they don’t feel the heat enough to keep their own customers… their new packages are only offered to newcomers, making their existing ones (which I was until now) needing to move for better prices, silly. No amount of negotiating worked to get a deal, so I am moving to Bell now. I read all the horror stories of billing and customer service, crossing fingers now that all will be fine…

  6. Vern

    Just got FTTH fiber to the house installed in February . The Internet is rocket fast and the tv resolution is outstanding .
    As a Bell customer for many years and dealing with customer service sometimes being a nightmare . for me , Bell has done a complete 180 degree turn around for me to satisfy my needs . I do find the ftth more cost effective for me as I pay for the channels I watch .

    1. Robert

      “I do find the ftth more cost effective for me as I pay for the channels I watch”

      Bell pricing does not depend on whether they use FTTH or FTTN to deliver the service.

  7. Darry

    I was with fibe for about 1 1/2 year and I had no problem at all, and on the plus side the quality of the image is superior with bell!


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