Videon Cablesystems

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Videon Cablesystems
Industry cable television, hi-speed Internet
Fate Merged
Successor SHAW Cable
Founded 1962
Defunct 2001
Headquarters Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Products Fibrelink
Parent Famous Players, Moffat Communications

Videon Cablesystems was a Cable television service in Manitoba, Alberta, and for a short period northwest Ontario, Canada. The origins of Videon date back to October 1959 when original General Manager Claude Boucher applied to the Lakehead Public Utilities Board in Port Arthur, Ontario (now Thunder Bay) to provide cable television service to the town through the new company Lakehead Videon.[1] The cable system was built and was sold to Maclean-Hunter in July 1970. This was done because the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had complained that Famous Players had 50% ownership of Lakehead Videon and Metro Videon, which in turn was primarily American owned. CRTC rules stated that Canadian cable companies must be at least 80% Canadian-owned.[2]

Videon Cablesystems, Inc. (also Videon Cable-TV, Winnipeg Videon Inc., Metro Videon Community Antenna Television Inc.) was a cable television company serving Winnipeg on the west side of the Red River from August 14, 1968 until 2002. The company was owned by the Moffat family through their company Moffat Communications Ltd. Randall L. Moffat was its president.

History[edit]

Metro Videon Community Antenna Television Inc. was formed "quietly" in 1962, after three additional television signals — CBWFT, KCND, and CJAY, started broadcasting in 1960.[3]

The initial partners were Randy Moffat, owner of CKY (radio); Ralph Misener, owner of CJAY Channel 7 television; Famous Players theatres, owner of several cable TV systems including the one at Thunder Bay, Ontario; and Claude Boucher, Videon's first general manager. They expanded service to Pinawa, Manitoba before approaching the federal Department of Transport for a license to operate in Winnipeg.

Metro Videon had waited to apply for a cable-TV license because the Department had "frozen" new applications for community antenna (CATV) companies to serve towns and cities so they could draw up regulations for this type of service. But yet at the same time, the company was so confident that everything would work out, that prior to the announcement of the service, they pre-purchased and installed large amounts of coaxial cable underground in parts of Tuxedo, Fort Garry, and Assiniboia. They paid a rental rate of 60 cents per 100 feet of coax. to Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS). This saved Videon money because MTS was placing their telephone cables underground at the same time.

Preliminary negotiations with MTS for use of telephone poles and underground right-of-way to string coaxial cable through the western half of metropolitan Winnipeg went from 1963 to 1967. Later in the year, Videon had started to construct the headend and cable TV infrastructure. Videon had hoped to include the suburbs east of the Red River, but this fell to another company, Greater Winnipeg Cablevision. The new cable company announced that they would charge $10 to connect to their service, and $5 per month to subscribe to the signals. This low fee remained much in effect until the advent of Canadian pay television in 1983.

Videon's first administrative offices were located at 2 Donald St. South, but moved to 651 Stafford St. around January 1976.

For a short while in 1976, Videon carried the audio of CJOB-FM on cable 6, CBW-FM on cable 7, CKY-FM on cable 9. The CRTC did not allow this and Videon had to discontinue the service in early April 1976.[4] A month later Videon had to pull a special closed-circuit program signal between Health Sciences Centre and the St. Boniface Hospital because the CRTC did not allow "point-to-point undertakings."[5]

In 1978 Videon applied to the CRTC for a 50 cent fee increase, the first since the cable company began operations in Winnipeg.[6]

After the major rebuild of 1987, Videon added the Assiniboia Downs Racing Network on January 23, 1988. This made possible for the first time so-called "off track" betting.[7] In the 1990s, Videon bought up several locally owned cable companies, creating Canada's fifth largest cable company. They had expanded their reach to include Headingley. They also purchased a cable company[who?] in Alberta.

In 2001 the Moffat family sold Videon Cable-TV Inc. to SHAW Cable of Calgary, Alberta.

Coverage area[edit]

Videon served Winnipeg proper, Assiniboia, St. James, Brooklands, West Kildonan, Old Kildonan, Fort Garry, Charleswood, and Tuxedo. Videon also served West and North Edmonton, Alberta.

The first area to receive cable-TV was St. Norbert in August 1968.

The headend and administrative offices were located in a former A&P supermarket building at 651 Stafford St. until 1995 when Videon moved to a suburban location at 22 Scurfield Blvd. in Fort Garry. The headend and administrative offices for Edmonton were located in the current West Edmonton Shaw Cable building at 10450-178 St.

Internet service[edit]

In the mid-1990s when Internet access from home became affordable, Videon had helped to create a high-speed cable modem service called Wave. Then in March 1999 Videon switched to the @Home Network.

For business users, Videon had FiberLink, a SONET-based voice, data communications line, which has the ability to interconnect LANs and PBXs.

See also[edit]

CRTC licence-related links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Port Arthur Will Study Pay TV". Winnipeg Free Press. October 15, 1959. p. 33.
  2. ^ Faster, F. K. (April 30, 1969). "CRTC Decision 69-145". Winnipeg Free Press. p. 22.
  3. ^ Tremayne, Terry (January 12, 1967). "City to get cable TV". Winnipeg Tribune. pp. 1–2.
  4. ^ "Videon FM no longer on TV cables". Winnipeg Free Press. April 3, 1976. p. 3.
  5. ^ Zanger, Pat (May 5, 1976). "Hospitals TV link called law-breaker". Winnipeg Free Press. p. 97.
  6. ^ "Moffat sets sights on East in search of new properties". Globe and Mail. January 11, 1978. pp. B8.
  7. ^ Gory, Brian (January 14, 1988). "A flip of a switch at a Brandon cable television company last night ushered in a new era in racetrack betting in Canada". Toronto Star. pp. B3.
  • "Cable TV will bring channels galore", Winnipeg Tribune, April 1, 1967,p. 23.

External links[edit]