Post Tagged with: "netflix"

Verizon Entry to Canada Could Spark Shift Toward Single North American Communications Market

Reports that U.S. telecom giant Verizon may be preparing to enter the Canadian market has sparked considerable speculation on the likely impact of a company with a market cap greater than Bell, Rogers, and Telus combined. While much of the discussion has centered on wireless pricing, my weekly technology column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) argues that the more significant development may be the shift toward a single North American communications market.

Canada and the U.S. share much of the same communications infrastructure – the same North American numbering plan (calling codes), closely aligned spectrum policies, and easy access to broadcast signals along the border – yet for decades the two systems have been separated through regulation. Foreign ownership restrictions, Canadian content requirements, and simultaneous substitution policies (which lead to the annual complaints about missing U.S. commercials during the Super Bowl) have all ensured that the two markets remain distinct.

In recent years, new technologies have slowly chipped away at the communications divide.

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July 10, 2013 8 comments Columns

Verizon Entry to Canada Could Spark Shift Toward Single North American Communications Market

Appeared in the Toronto Star on July 7, 2013 as Verizon in Canada Could Spark Shift To Single North American Communications Market Reports that U.S. telecom giant Verizon may be preparing to enter the Canadian market has sparked considerable speculation on the likely impact of a company with a market […]

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July 10, 2013 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Why Creators and Consumers Should Welcome the “Netflix Threat”

The examination of the proposed Bell acquisition of Astral Communications took place last week in Montreal with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission hearing from a wide range of supporters and opponents of a deal that only last year was rejected as contrary to the public interest.  

As Bell and Astral sought to defend their plan, a familiar enemy emerged – Netflix. What does a U.S.-based Internet video service with roughly two million Canadian subscribers have to do with a mega-merger of Bell and Astral?  

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that for the past few years, it has become standard operating procedure at CRTC hearings to ominously point to the Netflix threat. When Internet providers tried to defend usage based billing practices that led to expensive bills and some of the world’s most restrictive data caps, they pointed to the bandwidth threat posed by Netflix. When cultural groups sought to overturn years of CRTC policy that takes a hands-off approach to Internet regulation, they argued that Netflix was a threat that needed to be addressed. So when Bell and Astral seek to merge, they naturally raise the need to respond to Netflix.

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May 16, 2013 8 comments Columns

Why Creators and Consumers Should Welcome the “Netflix Threat”

Appeared in the Toronto Star on May 11, 2013 as Bell and Astral Merger: Netflix Isn’t the Enemy The examination of the proposed Bell acquisition of Astral Communications took place last week in Montreal with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission hearing from a wide range of supporters and opponents […]

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May 15, 2013 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Shaw Places Spotlight on Net Neutrality Rules With Online Video Service Plans

Two of the leading issues before the CRTC – over-the-top video and usage based billing – have come together as Shaw has announced plans to launch a new online movie service designed to compete with Netflix. Subscribers to the service, which will cost $12 per month, will be able to watch on their TV and computer. Most notably, Shaw says that the service will not count against subscriber data caps. Given the problems users of over-the-top video services have encountered with the caps, the Shaw approach places the spotlight on the CRTC net neutrality guidelines and undue preference rules. [Update: Shaw now says that watching movies via the Internet will count against user caps]

Last week I examined the failure to effectively enforce the guidelines, however, this case raises the question of whether Shaw is violating the rules by offering an over-the-top video service that does not count against a user cap while traffic from competitors such as Netflix does. The obvious complaint will be that Shaw is giving itself an undue preference in violation of Section 27(2) of the Telecommunications Act:

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July 15, 2011 18 comments News