Videotron launches Softphone : computer based fully featured VOIP but also video – competing with Vonage, Primus etc…

Now those of you who know me know that I am an early adopter of technologies I believe in. I was the first residential customer on the south shore of Montreal for Videotron’s cable internet service – that was in 1996-1997. Installation was $69 and three Videotron boom trucks spent close to 3.5-4 hours tweaking cable connections from my residence in Greenfield Park to the nearest HFC (hybrid fibre-copper) station nearby. The only other cable internet client was the Future Shop retail store on Taschereau boulevard … and that was to demo the Videotron product.

So here I am 10+ years later – and a fervent happy customer of Videotron Cable HFC Internet service – and their customer service over the years… and a digital Illico TV subscriber… and a cable telephony subscriber … my only service with Bell Canada now is my mobile phone (which is out of contract, so unless Bell Mobility has one HECK of a sweet retention offer to make me…)

So now I get this press release from Quebecor / VTL about their new Softphone offering… I have tested it in beta – it launches officially today (Halloween) and there are already TV spots running..

Basically – access ALL your videotron home phone line and features from your computer ANYWHERE in teh world for $19.99 per month ; A full review and screen shots to come shortly…. enjoy the official press release for now :

Montréal, Wednesday, October 24, 2007 – After launching its cable residential telephone service two years ago and its wireless telephone service in 2006, Videotron is introducing a softphone service to provide individuals with greater mobility. Available as of October 31, 2007, Videotron’s new computer-based service provides users with more flexibility when travelling, the ability to make local calls anywhere in the world, and new communications management capabilities.

 

“We are very pleased to offer Québec consumers this new option,” said Manon Brouillette, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Content and Product Development, Videotron. “With the easy-to-use softphone, Videotron customers will be able to stay in control of their communications while on the move. We are confident that this telephone service will prove popular because it is the only product that presents capabilities such as video, multiple call service/call management, quality of service and mobility all in one product. We believe consumers are ready for this product, which delivers many advantages in terms of user-friendliness and communications management, as well as financial savings.”

Advanced functionalities, local calls around the world, video

To help introduce its newest product and explain its benefits, Videotron has mustered a set of fictional characters who reflect the profile of softphone users. They will tell customers how they use the softphone: Paolo, a student whose only number is his cell phone, signed up for Videotron’s softphone service because it lets him receive calls on his computer, which makes sense since he spends several hours a day on his laptop. Kathy is a freelancer who often has to go to the customer’s premises. She decided to replace her second phone line with a softphone and now has full control over all her calls, thanks to call forwarding and other features, such as Do not disturb when she is in a meeting. John is a businessman who often travels by plane. His softphone works with all types of Internet access services. It lets him stay in touch without paying long-distance charges since he can use his local line everywhere on the planet, a considerable saving. William is a pensioner who flies south with his wife every year. He decided to install Videotron’s softphone on his computer so they could watch their six grandchildren grow up across the thousands of kilometres that separate them during the winter. Not only can they see the kids through the softphone’s built-in video feature, they also save money on all their long-distance calls to boot.

“The softphone will appeal to a wide audience, from the tech-savvy to those with little interest in new technology,” said Manon Brouillette. “Our goal is to offer a telephone product that suits consumers’ lifestyles. Videotron’s softphone has been designed for fast, economical and practical use at all times. The young and the not-so-young, self-employed workers and businesspeople, students and travellers will all see substantial benefits from using the service.”

Videotron’s cutting-edge softphone technology supports advanced calling features such as Do not disturb, video, call screening, multiple call forwarding and more, not to mention conventional calling features such as call display, voice messaging, voice mail to e-mail, call waiting display, distinctive ring, call forwarding, conference calls, busy-line redial and call return.

“We are pleased to deliver the softphone on a tested platform and using technology so reliable that customers will be able to use the softphone as their primary phone line and main contact number at home,” said Manon Brouillette. “This offering follows through on Videotron’s promise to offer advanced digital telephone services that make it easier for customers to manage their communications.”

Softphone will be “in business” soon

Videotron Business Solutions will launch a pilot project on November 14 to test its own version of the softphone. Fifty small and medium-sized businesses are being sought to help evaluate a series of functionalities that will be added to the product in order to meet the needs of Videotron’s business customers.

The pilot project will run until January 2008. Businesses that are interested in taking part are asked to contact Videotron Business Solutions at (514) 380-7000 or via the Web at videotron.com/affaires. Details of the Business Solutions softphone will be announced in early 2008.

The Videotron softphone is currently available online at videotron.com, from Customer Service at 1-88VIDEOTRON, at Videotron points of sale, and at many SuperClub Vidéotron locations. Full details are available at videotron.com.

Videotron Ltd. (www.videotron.com), a wholly owned subsidiary of Quebecor Media Inc., is an integrated communications company engaged in cable television, interactive multimedia development, Internet access services, cable telephony and wireless telephone service. Videotron is a leader in new technologies with its illico interactive television system and its broadband network, which supports high-speed cable Internet access, analog and digital cable television, and other services. As of September 24, 2007, Videotron was serving 1,614,000 cable television customers in Québec, including 717,000 illico subscribers. Videotron is the Québec leader in high-speed Internet access, with 896,000 subscribers to its cable modem and dial-up services. As of September 24, 2007, Videotron had activated 38,000 phones on its wireless telephone service and was providing cable telephone service to more than 570,000 Québec households and organizations.