Bell-Astral deal deadline extended to 31 July

Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) has extended its revised takeover offer for Astral Media to 31 July 2013, from a previous target date which passed on Saturday, as it awaits regulatory approval for the CAD3.4 billion (USD3.29 billion) transaction, CTVnews reports. The original takeover bid announced in March 2012 was rejected by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) over concerns it gave Bell an unfair level of control of the television market; the CRTC held a week of hearings earlier this month into the revised proposal. The sale has already been approved by the Competition Bureau, Quebec Superior Court and Astral’s shareholders.

Thanks TeleGeography for the article

Cogeco Cable revenues rise 35% and revenue increase by 36%

Canada’s Cogeco Cable has reported its results for the second quarter and first six months of its fiscal year 2013, which include three months operating results of its recent acquisition, US cableco Atlantic Broadband, and one month of results for internet infrastructure provider Peer 1 Network Enterprises. Group revenue increased by 35.2% year-on-year to reach CAD429.7 million in the three months to the end of February 2013, and by 19.7% to reach CAD757.6 million in the six-month period. Operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) increased by 36.2% in fiscal Q2 to CAD195.8 million and by 24.4% to CAD342.9 million in the first half.

On 31 January 2013 Cogeco Cable completed the acquisition of 96.57% of the issued and outstanding shares of Peer 1 by way of a takeover bid valued at approximately CAD649 million. On 3 April 2013 Cogeco completed the acquisition of the remaining 3.43% of the issued and outstanding shares of Peer 1 for a cash consideration of CAD17 million pursuant to compulsory acquisition provisions.

Thanks to TeleGeography for this article

Rogers gives New Brunswick first taste of LTE

Canadian quadruple-play operator Rogers Communications has launched 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband services in Moncton, New Brunswick, making it the first cellco to expand its commercial LTE network to the province. Rogers announced it had spent CAD20 million (USD20.3 million) on its wireless network in New Brunswick over the past two years, and chose Moncton as the first launch site in the region due to the city’s status as a business hub. Rogers added that it is continuing to expand its LTE network in existing coverage zones in and around Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, Calgary and Vancouver, and is currently adding a number of new cities across Canada under a plan to cover approximately 60% of the population with 4G by the end of the year. Rogers plans to launch LTE in Trois Rivieres, Sherbrooke, Quebec City, Kingston, Ajax, Pickering, Oshawa, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, St. Catharines, Niagara, Windsor, Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, London, Barrie, Sudbury, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Kelowna, Whistler, Abbotsford and Victoria, with more cities to follow in 2013.

Thanks to TeleGeography for this Article

Shaw’s nine-month cable revenues climb 3%

Shaw Communications, Canada’s second-largest cable TV operator by subscribers, has announced its financial and operating results for the three and nine months ended 31 May 2012. Consolidated revenue, including triple-play video, voice and internet cable operations and its Shaw Direct satellite TV division, was flat year-on-year in the three-month period at CAD1.28 billion (USD1.26 billion), while nine-month sales rose 6% to CAD3.79 billion. Quarterly total operating income before amortisation of CAD567 million declined 3% over the year-ago period, while the year-to-date figure CAD1.63 billion improved by almost 4%. Cable division revenue increased by 1% and 3% respectively to CAD794 million and CAD2.39 billion in the three- and nine-month periods, while cable operating income before amortisation for the quarter and year-to-date periods of CAD377 million and CAD1.11 billion was down 4% and 1%, respectively.

At the end of May 2012 Shaw’s basic cable customers stood at 2.236 million, down by 54,000 in the first nine months of its financial year ending August. Cable broadband internet customers increased by 29,000 in the same period to 1.906 million, while cable telephony subscribers grew by 107,000 to 1.340 million. Satellite TV customers were virtually flat at 909,000.

Thanks to TeleGeography for this atticle


A Better Way to Test the Functionality of Your IVR Application

If you have deployed or are about to deploy a hosted or premise-based IVR application, you understand how much time and money go into the design of a really effective application.  It must offer easy to use self-service functionality to customers or users with a wide range of expectations, requirements and experiences with your company and its communications processes.  The design must balance the need to make opting out to an agent simple while still making it easy and desirable for customers to use self-service functionality.  It has to deliver callers to the right routines and agents based on complex business rules.  It must be user-friendly for new customers and power users alike and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So how can you be sure your complex application is actually developed and functioning according to the design?

Current Methods For Testing Your IVR Application

Businesses understand the need to test IVR application functionality before putting a new application into production.  If selecting option 3 for Make a Payment really takes customers to an agent queue or the Place an Order routine, customers will be frustrated and your contact center will be forced to handle more calls than necessary or desired.

Before a business can select an appropriate IVR application test method, it must consider a variety of general and test method factors:

  • What is your risk tolerance?
    • What will the impact be if something doesn’t work as expected?
    • Do you need to test every application state and every possible input or situation at each state?
    • Are there key test cases or call flows through the application that will clearly indicate whether or not the application is production ready?
  • Is the IVR application revenue generating?
    • Is there revenue on the line if the application doesn’t work as expected?
    • Are there significant productivity gains on the line?
    • Could you frustrate and/or lose customers if the application isn’t developed as designed?
  • How often do you need to test?
    • Is periodic regression testing of the application required or appropriate?

Once a business has considered these basic questions, it should be clear how much of the new, upgraded or fixed application must be tested before it is put into production.  The way a business eventually chooses to test IVR application functionality is as varied as the applications and business requirements being tested.  The options range from not testing at all to hiring loads of temporary testers/callers to purchasing in-house testing products.   Of course there are pros and cons to each test method, which are explored in detail in the benefits matrix below.  But in general, businesses without sufficient time, budget and resources are left with inadequate options for testing their IVR application functionality.

A New Way to Test IVR Applications with Application Feature Testing

There is another way to test IVR functionality that is better and more appropriate for many businesses.  Our clients tell us their developers have never had so much helpful and robust data to help with issue identification and resolution as they have with the following methodology.

Application Feature Testing is a highly flexible managed service approach for testing IVR application functionality.  It is unique in that it can be configured to complement each business’ risk tolerance, resources and other requirements.  The process can:

  • Complement in-house resources or perform all testing
  • Test hosted or premise based applications
  • Perform comprehensive state-based testing as well as testing based on a pre-defined set of test cases/call flows
  • Build test cases from scratch or leverage existing test cases provided by a client
  • Precisely replicate a previous test call
  • Deliver online, real-time results
  • Provide robust test call information including recordings, discrepancy descriptions and evaluations/scores
  • Be available whenever you or your over-worked team need it
  • Change the way your developers think about QA and functionality testing!

Testing can no longer take a back seat.  Customers demand quality interactions from your business including interactions with your IVR application.  If they don’t get what they want, they will go to your competitor.  To learn more about this testing approach and other services for improving the quality of customer communications and interactions, visit here and check out the IVR Functionality Testing matrix below:

IQ-Services Application Feature Testing

Videotron delivers on 200Mbps promise

As promised in March, Videotron has launched its highest speed cable broadband package to date, offering 200Mbps/30Mbps download/upload connections under the ‘Ultimate Speed Internet 200’ banner in Quebec City. The DOCSIS 3.0-based package gives consumers monthly data transfer limits up to 200GB for downloads and up to 50GB for uploads, and costs CAD199.95 (USD197.20). A version of the package is also available for business users.

Supplied by TeleGeography


Rogers Continues to Rollout LTE Network

Rogers Communications has notified its customers that its Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless network is now available in additional cities surrounding Montreal, including: Laval, Terrebonne, Brossard, Longueuil and Vaudreuil, with plans to expand to more than 25 additional cities this year. The planned rollout will bring LTE to more than half the Canadian population by the end of 2012. Rogers was the first to launch an LTE network in Canada, starting in Ottawa last July, with expansion to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver following in September. John Boynton, Rogers’s chief marketing officer, announced that the LTE network currently reaches a population of over eleven million, and stated: ‘By the end of 2012 we will double this with 20 million Canadians able to use LTE devices to download apps, stream HD videos and music or play online games, with no delays or buffering.’ TeleGeography notes that the Rogers LTE network has reached approximately 32% of Canada’s population and the company’s rollout plan should see it get close to 60% LTE coverage before next year.

Article by TeleGeography