Colba.Net applies to expand IPTV to major cities in Quebec and Ontario

Colba.Net's proposed IPTV service area in greater Montreal - the green zone has already been approved by the CRTC

Colba.Net, the Montreal-based independent telecom provider, has applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for permission to expand its new IPTV service to greater Montreal, including the south shore, St. Jean sur Richelieu, Châteauguay, Île Perrot, Vaudreuil, Valleyfield, Laval, the north shore and St. Jérôme.

It’s also looking to setup service in Granby, Sherbrooke/Magog, Sorel/Tracy, Joliette, Trois-Rivières, and the greater Quebec City/Lévis area. You can see maps of those proposed service areas on its website.

In a separate application, Colba.Net is also looking to introduce IPTV to the National Capital Region (Ottawa/Gatineau) and cities in Ontario, including:

  • Barrie
  • Orilla
  • Peterborough
  • Benneville Belleville
  • Kingston
  • The Greater Toronto Area from Oshawa to Newmarket to Hamilton
  • London
  • Stratford
  • Brantford
  • Kitchener
  • Niagara Falls

Again, Colba.Net helpfully provides maps on its website.

Colba.Net launched its IPTV service in Montreal in December, after having received CRTC approval for a network covering the island in October 2010. But it’s still in its infancy. It’s only available downtown, on the Plateau and in Westmount, and it offers only 28 channels, four of which are in HD. Even popular cable channels like CBC News Network, LCN, Discovery Channel and Space are listed as “available soon”.

But the proposed programming grid for Quebec lists just about every cable channel any Canadian could have access to. It’s essentially the same as Bell’s Fibe TV service, including Bell’s community channel, Bell video on demand and Bell pay-per-view. The grid for Ontario is similar. Both would notably take their U.S. network stations from Detroit (and Rochester, N.Y., for Fox) instead of Montreal’s usual Burlington/Plattsburgh.

The technology used is similar to Bell’s Fibe service, and will use ADSL2+ and VDSL2 to squeeze voice, Internet and television data through twisted-pair phone line.

According to the CRTC application, the IPTV service would cost $24.95 per month for base service (which would include mandatory channels, U.S. networks and a few non-mandatory channels like MuchMusic, CMT, YTV and CTV News Channel), plus a $75 installation fee. The service currently costs $34.95 a month, but when bundled with voice and Internet that comes down to $19.95 a month. Service also requires a special router at $109.95 and a set-top box for $149.95.

The application doesn’t specify how many channels would be available in high definition.

Plenty of Montrealers like to use third-party resellers for Internet and phone service, but the lack of alternatives to Bell, Videotron and Shaw when it comes to TV service is a major deterrent to switching. If Colba.Net can offer a competitive television service with as many channels available (including high-definition channels) for a reasonable price, that might be enough to get many people upset with the big players’ prices or poor customer service to switch over.

UPDATE (April 15): Colba.Net has applied yet again to expand its IPTV service, to major cities in every province but Prince Edward Island. Applications can be consulted here:

8 thoughts on “Colba.Net applies to expand IPTV to major cities in Quebec and Ontario

  1. Vahan

    I have moved away from the “big boys” for my landline and internet service and will soon be canceling my cable T.V. I am not a fan of bundles since they lure you in and lock you down with one provider. Anyway I hope this service squeezes the “big boys” nuts because I really hate the service (lack of) that they provide, the low ceilings of download limits, the throttling of service and the “we are the only game in town” attitude they have had for a long time. I am happy with my ISP for now, but if these guys turn out to be any good I will certainly look into them in the future.

  2. Jonsson

    The only thing the same as Fibe TV is that they both use the IP protocol to deliver TV. Colba Net’s service runs over the Internet and will suffer the same limitations therein with regard to quality of service and fluctuating bandwidth. Bell’s service runs over their private network and can manage the quality providing better picture and sound. It’s very expensive to deliver IPTV even over the Internet as the encoding equipment required, especially for HD is not cheap.

    1. Faiz Imam

      The service is technically not running over the “internet”, since its originating at Colba servers that are wired directly into the Bell infrastructure.

      While the signal will not be prioritized as much as Bell’s is, It should be quite a bit better than your usual internet stream.

      They started the service in December already, and thus all the necessary equipment is online and ready. This is just a greater level of distribution, which is more a regulations issue than a technical one. I don’t believe that they need to build up from scratch for every new area they expand to.

  3. Tim

    I know it’s spelled ‘Benneville’ on their website, but I think they meant to say ‘Belleville’. What’s it say about a company when they can’t get the name of a community they want to serve correct?

    1. Just Me

      Does it say Benneville instead of Belleville on Colba’s website map, or did Fagstein correct himself after he posted this? When I go to the link for the Colba map, I just get a big empty square box with an X in the top left corner.

      1. Fagstein Post author

        Does it say Benneville instead of Belleville on Colba’s website map

        The title for the map says “Benneville”, though the map itself has it correctly spelled.

  4. Circeus

    I wonder they excluded actual parts of Quebec City (Lac-Saint-Charles and, unless I am mistaken, the northern parts of Charlesbourg) from their Quebec City proposal…

  5. Serge

    If they can’t even provide channels they they are required to provide like CBC Newsworld, which means they are offside the regulations in the areas they do serve, it is hard to think that expanding to areas they don’t serve is going to be a giant success.


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