Mountain Cablevision

Mountain Cable is one of three cable television service providers for the city of Hamilton, Ontario and its surrounding area. The other two providers are Cogeco and Source Cable (formerly known as Southmount Cable). Each company has a monopoly in a specific part of the city of Hamilton; Mountain Cable serves the Hamilton Mountain area and Haldimand County.


Mountain Cable was founded in 1959 as "General Co-axial Services, Limited"; it specialized in installing Master Antenna systems on Apartment buildings, hotels, and resorts.

That same year, The Ontario Housing Corporation (which designed the Buchanan Park subdivision on Hamilton Mountain) was surveying the possibility of building a whole housing project with no above-ground utilities (placing them all underground to improve safety and reliability during storms). The neighbourhood's homeowners approached the company to have General Co-axial Services install a CATV system with the intention of an alternative to bulky and somewhat unsightly roof-top antennas. The homeowners also asked the company to lay the first neighbourhood-wide underground utility lines. The neighbourhood would become the first housing development in all of Canada that would have all of its utilities placed underground, with no utility poles other than street lights.

Within two years, over three quarters of the homes in the subdivision were linked to the CATV system, and the roof-top antennas (which were considered eyesores) were rendered inferior and obsolete to the newly installed CATV system, which provided superior delivery of consistent and reliable television station signals.

Since these early days, the company has since changed its name to Mountain Cable, and has expanded greatly in size from offering just 12 channels to 400 customers, to offering more than 230 channels to over 40,000 customers in Hamilton, Mount Hope, Binbrook, Byng, Caledonia, Cayuga, Hagersville, Dunnville and Jarvis.


In addition to their cable television services, Mountain Cable also offers digital phone and high-speed internet services.


  • Basic Cable (Analog + Digital)
  • Cable Plus (Analog + Digital)
  • Choice TV (Analog + Digital)
  • 38 Digital Music Channels
  • Interactive program guide (I-Guide by Prevue)
  • 22 Free Timeshifting Channels (Included with Digital Choice TV)
  • 29 HDTV Channels
  • 15 PPV Channels
  • 7 Theme Packages

Mountain plans to offer Video on Demand services starting September 1st.

Digital Terminals: DCT 700, DCT 2000 Series, Pace Standard Definition PVR, Pace 775 HD, DCT 6200/6416

Mountain Cablevision requested to add NASA television to the list of stations that cable and satellite providers could redistribute in Canada. The request was made in August 2006 and was vigorously opposed by the Discovery Channel which argued that NASA TV overlapped with its service.

Mountain's request received support Campbell River TV, the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance Inc. (CCSA), Delta Cable Communications Ltd, Coast Cable Communications Ltd, Eastlink, Norcom Telecommunications Ltd, Quebecor Media Inc, Rogers Cable Communications Inc, and Shaw Communications Inc.

In April 2007, the CRTC announced in Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2007-43 that it had approved the request.



Mountain Cablevision's Express High Speed internet offering is rated at 5 Mbit/s Download and 384 kbit/s Upload.Mountain also offers a high speed lite service(Express Lite) as an alternative to dialup.

Included with service

  • 5 Email Addresses.
  • 5 MB of personal web space.
  • Free Virus Guard and Spam Guard.

Digital Telephone

Mountain Cablevision uses their Hybrid fibre coax network carry your voice digitally back to their Network Operations Center where your voice is then passed off to the public telephone network. Mountain has backed-up the power source so that phone service will work in a power outage. They offer local and long distance packages as well as Free voicemail, Call waiting & Call Display. More details are available at

Unsolicited Grant Service (UGS) Turns Mountain Cablevision into a Voice Lighthouse

"In the early days, we found that even though we used all the normal quality of service (QoS) settings, it really didn't work; particularly bit torrent just clobbered the telephone traffic," said Bruce Marshall, technical director of Hamilton, Ontario-based Mountain Cablevision. That was because Mountain, like most other cable operators, was trying to put the voice traffic into the same pipe as its high-speed data. The pipe was big enough, but the traffic turned out to be like a gnarly mix of oil and water rather than a smooth flowing stream of fresh packets.

A separate data flow

The answer, said Marshall, was "the conceptual idea of building up a separate data flow outside of the Internet bandwidth and prioritizing that 128 kb channel back to the CMTS; strip it out and send it off to the telephony equipment."

Called unsolicited grant service (UGS), the concept was developed by Rob McCann and Dale Turner of ClearCable Networks, a contractor that was incubated by Mountain to do voice services for small-medium companies.

The UGS groundwork had been laid in the DOCSIS specifications, said McCann, ClearCable's president. "It's not that we created it or invented it; at the time that we wanted to do this, none of the vendors had implemented anything in a fashion that was demonstrable."

"In the best-effort traffic flow, every time a device or a cable modem wants to send something on the Internet, it needs to first ask the CMTS for permission. (With) unsolicited grant service, the cable modem asks once and the CMTS just grants it in perpetuity, presenting the opportunity to transmit on the cable system until the cable modem says it doesn't need it anymore," McCann said.

A Canadian first

Finally, he said, they got it right, making Mountain the first operator in Canada to implement it and maybe the first in North America to get it up and working.

"It is a reliable approach to ensuring high priority for real-time voice traffic," McCann said. "At the end of the day, DOCSIS cable plant is only TDM anyway; every cable modem gets its opportunity to transmit over the cable plant with TDM."

UGS just takes it a step further and makes it a "much more reliable way to ensure that cable modems get their amount of time that they're supposed tto send real-time packets," he said. "The only real innovation on our side was the ability to actually field trial this stuff and work out all the problems with getting unsolicited grants to work appropriately."

See also

The local cable television station "Cable 14" is also carried on Mountain.

External links

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