Good morning. Thank you, Madam Chair and members of the committee, for this opportunity to present Cogeco's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cogeco is a communications company headquartered in Montreal that provides video, Internet and telephony services in Canada and the United States to residential and business customers. We are also a leader in the Quebec radio industry, with 22 stations across the province.
Cogeco was founded in Trois-Rivières by the Audet family more than 60 years ago. Through the years, we have maintained our entrepreneurial spirit, taken risks and have made significant ongoing investments in network infrastructure.
We are a regional player serving small and medium-sized communities, including rural areas. Our Canadian network reaches from Windsor, Ontario, to Gaspé, Quebec, and serves more than 427 communities. All of our customers are served by employees based in our footprint. We employ more than 3,150 people in Canada and maintain solid relationships with the communities we serve.
The pandemic has had a significant impact on our company. More than ever, access to our services is of paramount importance for the communities we serve. We have proactively managed the crisis to ensure that we continue our operations, protect our employees and serve our customers.
Let me give you specific examples of how we have managed through this pandemic.
We transitioned all of our contact centre employees and office employees to work from home very rapidly. We converted in-person customer visits by our technicians to self-installation and remote repairs. We transitioned all store operations to be handled either online, by phone or by email. We increased network capacity to handle higher traffic. We provided video content for free. We also provided customers with temporary relief by committing to keep customers with payment difficulties connected and by temporarily removing Internet data overage fees for customers not already subscribing to unlimited plans.
We also adapted our charity support activities as well as our community television programming. Cogeco donated to the COVID-19 emergency fund of the United Way of Greater Montreal, and we are also supporting several food banks in our local communities. Cogeco also participates in the connecting families initiative, offering discounted Internet services to lower-income families.
Our network continues to experience significant increased utilization during this time of confinement. Our technicians and engineers are working tirelessly to actively monitor traffic and to ensure the continued stability of our network.
Since the beginning of the crisis, Cogeco has seen 60% greater use of our Internet services during the day. We've also seen a 40% increase in traffic for our video-on-demand services and growth of between 20% to 40% for other video streaming services, including Netflix, as well as 45% additional usage of our telephony services.
We are able to meet this increase in demand thanks to the capacity, reliability and robustness of our network. This is only possible because of our ongoing investments in maintaining, upgrading and expanding our infrastructure.