By Robert Frank
Satellite dishes could soon be sprouting from the rooftop of Securenet’s St. Laurent headquarters. By early next year, the phone and Internet provider could be delivering high-definition television service to a huge market—from Sault St. Marie all the way to Rivière du Loup—if the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) approves its bid to use new internet technology to deliver more than 150 television channels along the lines that it already uses.
“This is an extremely big project that we’ve been working on for the past three years,” said Securenet president Jean-Marc Vandette, whose proposal went before the CRTC, Nov. 5.
“We’re relatively confident that the CRTC will grant our license for the service, which will be called Netvu,” he told The Suburban in an interview. “We ought to know by late December or early January. In the meantime, we have spent a lot of money installing a new fibre-optic network operating centre to facilitate this, in partnership with a number of major banking institutions.”
“We could be hitting the streets as early as February with about 150 unique channels—some 350, if you include closed captioning channels and the like—most of which will be in 720p or 1080i high-definition, depending upon bandwidth.”
“We’ve been signing up broadcasters like Shaw, First Channel, Zero Channel, Moveola and Teletune. TVA was one of the first to come on board, and CBC, CTV and City-TV have all agreed in principle,” Vandette reported. “We’re also well advanced in negotiations with Astral and Corus. Ethnic channels are also among our business partners.”
To make the service possible, Securenet had to develop, together with a German firm, proprietary software that corrects errors in television signals broadcast via the Internet.
“We’ve tested it, and it has to reach 40 per cent loss before the picture starts degrading,” Vandette enthused. “The technology will be backward-compatible, so customers with analog television sets won’t have to go and buy a digital television to use the service.”
“Because it works through the Internet, users will have access to an electronic programming guide to a site that provides information about who is playing summaries of each episode,” he added. “We’re trying to make it a better television viewing experience, overall.”
“Several other Internet service providers are also looking to us to deliver the broadcasts which we would deliver to them via our network,” Vandette continued. “It has to be over private networks, the same way that Bell and Rogers are allowed deliver content on their users’ Smartphones, because it’s all delivered via private networks.”
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