Telecom by yum9me (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/53jSy4

Telecom by yum9me (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/53jSy4

Telecom

No Longer a “Proposed” Telecom Policy Direction: Government Resets Canadian Telecom Policy With Emphasis on Broader Approach to Competition

No Longer a “Proposed” Telecom Policy Direction: Government Resets Canadian Telecom Policy With Emphasis on Broader Approach to Competition

Earlier this year, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains sent shockwaves through the Canadian telecom industry by unveiling a proposed new policy direction to the CRTC based on competition, affordability, consumer interests, and innovation (my original post on the proposed direction here, podcast with Teksavvy’s Andy-Kaplan Myrth here). The big three telecom providers unsurprisingly objected to the government’s shift away from facilities-based competition toward a broader approach that welcomed all forms of competition. That shift signalled support for entry of new competitors such as mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), a signal that the CRTC understood with its new-found support for them.

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June 18, 2019 1 comment News
Rogers on the corner of Robson and Seymour by Jeffery Simpson https://flic.kr/p/hZGAN (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Message Received: Why Unlimited Wireless Plans Show Government’s Emphasis on New Competition is Being Heard

Long available in other countries, “unlimited” wireless plans arrived among the big three carriers in Canada yesterday with Rogers launching new unlimited options that offer 10 GB of data at full speed and unlimited additional data at a far slower speeds of 256Kbps. While some criticize the throttled overage speeds or the inferiority of the Canadian plans when compared to what is available in the U.S., this is a good step for consumers that ration their data each month in fear of incurring significant overage charges. Indeed, the comparative data shows Canadian consumers use less data than consumers elsewhere, particularly subscribers with Rogers, Bell, and Telus. Moreover, with carriers generating more than $1 billion per year in overage fees, the change is not trivial with some analysts characterizing the move as a negative for Canada’s wireless industry.

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June 13, 2019 2 comments News
Corus Quay by JasonParis https://flic.kr/p/9QoQgb (CC BY 2.0)

Super-Secret Submissions: Corus and SaskTel Block Disclosure of Their BTLR Submissions Claiming Prejudice to Their Competitive Position

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been posting several of the more notable submissions to the Broadcast and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel submissions that were previously not released to the public. These included Bell, Shaw, Cogeco, Quebecor, CWTA, and a Rogers submission that was released months after the submission deadline. The Access to Information office at Minister Navdeep Bains’ ISED has now completed the request and says it cannot disclose submissions from Corus and SaskTel. Both companies are apparently taking the position that they can withhold disclosure of their submissions on competitive grounds, citing Section 20(1)(c) of the Act:

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June 12, 2019 5 comments News
CityTV Videographer by Kurt Bauschardt (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9Sy5Bd

Rogers Calls for Expansion of Media Bailout to Cover Broadcast Organizations…and Thinks Netflix Should Pay For It

My series on previously secret submissions to the Broadcast and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel (earlier posts on Bell, Shaw, and Cogeco) continues with the Rogers submission, [Update: Rogers notes that it posted the submission on its site roughly three months after the submission deadline, so it has not been secret since early April] also obtained under the Access to Information Act. There are several notable aspects to the submission, but perhaps none more than Rogers calling for an expansion of the new tax credit for media organizations by extending the approach to broadcasters and expecting Netflix to help pay for it. The media bailout has attracted considerable criticism, particularly given the government’s implementation that has raised serious independence concerns. Before the recent controversies, Rogers envisioned expanding it:

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June 6, 2019 6 comments News
Cogeco Warns Against Online Video Services Undermining Canadian Sovereignty in BTLR Submission

Cogeco Warns Against Online Video Services Undermining Canadian Sovereignty in BTLR Submission

Cogeco, the fourth largest cable operator in Canada (and number two in Ontario and Quebec), warns the broadcast and telecommunications legislative panel about the dangers of unregulated video services such as Netflix to national sovereignty in its previously secret submission. Obtained under the Access to Information Act (much like the previously discussed Bell and Shaw submissions), the Cogeco submission opposes new digital consumer protections and net neutrality rules but strongly supports increased regulation for online video services.

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May 31, 2019 3 comments News