Videotron has announced an update on its anticipated Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) rollout and objectives for 2010. The company has reached a number of major milestones in the rollout of its 3.75G wireless infrastructure project over the course of 2009.
The build-out of Videotron’s AWS project – a greenfield investment – has gained significant momentum since the acquisition of spectrum in the third quarter of 2008. As of December 21, 2009, all services and switching platforms have been installed and are operational, and interconnections have been established with Videotron’s existing fiber network. Multi-phase reliability testing of these platforms is currently underway. Videotron has successfully entered into several site access agreements or had tower-sharing requests accepted in respect of nearly 60 percent of all antenna sites required for the AWS launch. Furthermore, the equipment for most of the contracted sites has been installed or is in the process of being installed.
“Despite the continuing lack of clear support from governmental authorities that would expedite increased competition in this field, Videotron is maintaining the pace of its network build-out,” said Robert Dépatie, president and CEO of Videotron, in a statement.
Videotron still anticipates launching its AWS offering in the summer of 2010, when its new High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) network is expected to be operational. The optimization of Videotron’s AWS build-out and launch project over the past year has evolved, resulting in a corresponding evolution of the project’s investment profile as compared to Videotron’s initial estimates. Nevertheless, Videotron believes that this will not have a material impact on Videotron’s results of operations or financial position, because Videotron anticipates that its optimized AWS project will further benefit its penetration, revenue generation and cash conversion objectives. As previously stated, Videotron still intends to finance future AWS project disbursements from cash on hand, funds generated by operations and, if necessary, available unused lines of credit.