|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)|
|Traded as||TSX: CGO TSX: CCA|
|Industry||Media and Communications|
|Founded||Trois-Rivières, Quebec (1957)|
|Key people||Louis Audet (President and CEO), Jan Peeters (Chairman of the Board)|
|Products||Cable TV, Internet, Telecommunications, Broadcasting|
Cogeco Inc. (TSX: CGO) is a diversified telecommunications and media company headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, which serves residential and commercial customers through various subsidiaries. The company provides cable television, telephone and Internet connectivity services to consumers in parts of Ontario, Quebec, and several regions of the United States. Its media subsidiary operates radio stations and a public transit advertising company in Quebec. In recent years, COGECO has expanded into business telecommunications and information technology services through its fibre-optic and data centre network. COGECO is an acronym for Compagnie Générale de Communication ("General Communications Company").
Cogeco first entered the television business in the mid-1950s with the launch of a Radio-Canada affiliate in Trois-Rivières, CKTM-TV. Later the company expanded with the creation of CKSH-TV in Sherbrooke, a radio network and diversification in the cable television industry. Until 2008, Cogeco co-owned the TQS network (now "V") with CTVglobemedia, as well as eight television stations affiliated with both TQS and Radio-Canada. TQS and its five owned-and-operated stations were sold to Remstar Corporation, and the Radio-Canada affiliates were sold directly to Radio-Canada, in 2008. Cogeco is the largest cable company in Canada that does not own any terrestrial TV outlets (Rogers Communications owns City and Omni, and also Quebecor-owned Vidéotron also owns the TVA network with several O&O stations.
Through its broadcast holdings, Cogeco Cable (TSX: CCA) is a major cable television distributor offering analogue and digital television, as well as high-speed Internet services and VoIP telephony. It is the second largest cable system operator in both Ontario and Quebec, (respectively behind Rogers & Vidéotron), and the fourth largest in Canada.
Starting in 2006, Cogeco Cable began the process of overhauling their Ontario & Quebec-based Hybrid fibre-coaxial physical plant networks to expand the total amount of bandwidth available. The ability to offer expanded 2-way bidirectional services such as High Definition digital cable, High-Speed Internet and VoIP Digital Telephony and to improve network reliability is the driving force behind this upgrade.
After upgrades are complete, the Ontario network will have 750 MHz of bandwidth and the Quebec network will have 550 MHz of bandwidth. With this capacity, a total of 110 or 83 analogue channels (depending on the network) can be transmitted. Given that each analogue channel occupies 6 MHz of bandwidth, Cogeco utilizes the latest compression, multiplexing and modulation technologies to be able to transmit up to thirteen Standard Definition TV signals or else up to three high-definition TV signals on each of these channels.
In December 2012, Cogeco acquired Peer 1 Hosting, a Canadian-based internet infrastructure provider, specializing in managed hosting, dedicated servers, cloud services and colocation.
Within their Canadian cable operations in Ontario and Quebec, 98% of all homes passed by Cogeco Cable-owned plant are able to access digital cable services, with 90% of homes passed also able to access digital video on demand services. Currently, 93% of homes passed also have access to Cogeco Cable's two-way bi-directional cable plant, giving customers the ability to enjoy high definition TV programming and high-speed Internet services.
Cogeco Cable utilizes Motorola and Pace set-top boxes for delivery of their digital cable services. The three following choices are currently available: a standard-definition television (SDTV) receiver, a high-definition television (HDTV) receiver and an HD PVR.
Cogeco Cable utilizes a DOCSIS 3.0 -compliant network to provide all of their Internet Protocol (IP)-based services, such as Internet access and VoIP. To position itself as a leader in delivering broadband solutions to its customers, Cogeco Cable became actively involved in the DOCSIS program and was one of the first major cable operators to deploy a DOCSIS-based network.
Since April 2009, Cogeco has implemented a cost penalty for surpassing the bandwidth limits for each tier, for standard this is $1.50 per 1GB to a maximum of $50 monthly. A three-month history is available online.
Since February 2013, Cogeco has offered 60Mbit/s download speeds in select areas which takes advantage of the new DOCSIS 3.0 platform upgrades. This platform takes advantage of four downstream data carriers and a special DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem to provide speeds of over 250Mbit/s.
Cogeco Cable launched their Digital Phone service in June 2005, a VoIP-based telephony service offering customers unlimited local & long distance calling within Canada and to the United States, voice mail, call display, call waiting, visual call waiting, call forwarding, 411-directory assistance, 911-emergency assistance, 611-technical support assistance, 711-message relay services & 0-operator services.
As of October 16, 2006, 70% of all homes passed by Cogeco Cable plant are able to access this service.
On April 1st, 2008, Cogeco acquired MaXess Networx, a division of EnWin Utilities.
On June 13, 2008, Cogeco acquired the Telecommunications division of Toronto Hydro, Toronto's municipal electric utility. As of August 1, 2008, Toronto Hydro Telecom is now known as Cogeco Data Services.
On August 2, 2011, Cogeco Cable acquired Quiettouch Inc. and was integrated under Cogeco Data Services to complement CDS' array of services.
On August 31, 2011, Cogeco Cable acquired MTO Telecom Inc. (the largest private telecom provider and fibre network operator in the Montreal greater area) and was integrated under Cogeco Data Services to expand CDS' presence in the Province of Quebec.
On April 30, 2010, it was announced that Cogeco will acquire all radio stations owned by Corus Entertainment in Quebec, including its Corus Québec group of stations and Montreal anglophone station CFQR-FM (since re-called CKBE-FM), pending CRTC approval. Cogeco will acquire these stations for $80 million, as these stations are less profitable to Corus than their stations in other parts of Canada. However, Cogeco must either apply with the CRTC for an exemption from the common ownership policy, or sell off some of these (or their own) stations as they will be over the maximum allowable number of stations in Montreal, Quebec City, and Sherbrooke.
The sale of the Corus Québec stations to Cogeco has been approved by the CRTC on December 17, 2010, on the condition that Cogeco-owned CJEC-FM and Corus-owned CFEL-FM and CKOY-FM (since re-called CJTS-FM) be sold to another party by December 2011. On November 9, 2011, it was announced that Cogeco would sell CFEL-FM and CJEC-FM to Leclerc Communication Inc., a company owned by Quebec City businessman Jacques Leclerc, owner of Laura Secord Chocolates and Biscuits Leclerc. The sale was approved by the CRTC on January 19 and completed on January 31, 2012. The stations were delisted from Cogeco Diffusion's website shortly thereafter. CJTS-FM would cease operations on December 6, 2011, when Cogeco was unable to find a buyer for the station by the deadline; its license has since been cancelled.
The sale also included the transmitter sites and equipment in Kahnawake, which were previously used for CINF and CINW, before the stations closed down in January 2010; the sale excluded the licenses, as they were submitted to the CRTC for cancellation.
The stations acquired were:
Cogeco's primary television venture is the TVCogeco system of local community channels in markets served by Cogeco Cable. As of the sale of TQS, Cogeco no longer owns any conventional television assets. In 2008. Cogeco also sold its 20% interest in Canal Indigo to Quebecor Media.
The five TQS O&Os which were owned by Cogeco were acquired by Remstar as part of the TQS transaction:
Concurrently, Cogeco also sold its three Télévision de Radio-Canada affiliates directly to the CBC:
On December 6, 2011, Cogeco acquired Métromédia CMR Plus Inc., a company that specialises in transit advertising in various Canadian cities. Métromédia CMR Plus was formerly related to the Métromédia CMR group of radio stations that was acquired by Corus in 2005 (and eventually resold to Cogeco), but was not part of the original sale to Corus.