Free telephone calls offered

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VIDEOTRON, the largest cable television company in London, is to offer free off-peak telephone calls within its network from 1 February, writes Mary Fagan. The company, which has invested almost pounds 300m in UK cable networks, also plans to raise around pounds 200m in debt finance this year to fund developments up to the end of 1995.

A free off-peak service will also be offered within Videotron's network in the Southampton franchise area.

The company is owned by Videotron of Canada, Bell Canada and Cable & Wireless. It has franchises covering a million homes in London and has built a cable network accessible to 230,000 of those households. Since Videotron's telephone service began in 1991, the company has signed up 34,000 residential phone customers and hopes that the free calls will accelerate the expansion.

Louis Brunel, group managing director, said the company had also applied for a licence to offer telephone services in the Westminster area, where the cable television franchise is owned by BT.

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