Category bell

Image for What is the CRTC? And why should I care?

What is the CRTC? And why should I care?

Laying out what the CRTC is and how it affects the daily life of Canadians.
Image for It’s time for a public interest champion to take over at the CRTC

It’s time for a public interest champion to take over at the CRTC

We need a CRTC chair without ties to Big Telecom.
Image for Huge win for Canadians as CRTC rejects Bell’s website blocking proposal

Huge win for Canadians as CRTC rejects Bell’s website blocking proposal

Welcome ruling protects Canada from overreaching censorship agency, deferring jurisdiction to reviews of the Copyright, Telecommunications and Broadcasting Acts
Image for It’s time to bring Canada’s wireless market out of the Stone Age — here’s how

It’s time to bring Canada’s wireless market out of the Stone Age — here’s how

Why do people in Canada still pay some of the most expensive cell phone bills in the industrialized world? Here's how it all went down, where we are now, and where to next:
Image for Affordable data: 8,015 of your comments on the public record!

Affordable data: 8,015 of your comments on the public record!

Your response to the CRTC asking for what a fair price for data looks like
Image for Against website blocking: What OpenMedia submitted to the CRTC

Against website blocking: What OpenMedia submitted to the CRTC

We filed a substantive policy submission as well as more than 82K individual submissions from Canadians. Thank you for speaking up!
Image for Bell’s Website Blocking Plan Is Authoritarian Overkill

Bell’s Website Blocking Plan Is Authoritarian Overkill

"With legal options for content delivery on the upswing, effective tools for curbing piracy already in place, and illegal sharing on the downward slide, Bell's website blocking proposal is like using a machine gun to kill a mosquito."
Image for Thanks to you, our #DontCensor billboard is now up in Toronto!

Thanks to you, our #DontCensor billboard is now up in Toronto!

Just in time for the day of action to protest Bell coalition’s website blocking plan, our #DontCensor billboard is now up in Toronto. Once again, this would have not been possible without the support of our community — thank you!
Image for Feb. 28 is the Day of Action against a Bell-led censorship initiative — join us!

Feb. 28 is the Day of Action against a Bell-led censorship initiative — join us!

Mark the date on your calendars — on February 28 Canadians across the country are coming together to protest Bell coalition's website blocking plan. Here’s how you can participate.
Image for Opposition mounts to Bell coalition’s website blocking plan

Opposition mounts to Bell coalition’s website blocking plan

Thousands of Canadians are expressing their opposition to Bell coalition's overreaching website blocking plan.
Image for Will Canada Pass a SOPA-like Proposal? Canadian Media Companies Hope So

Will Canada Pass a SOPA-like Proposal? Canadian Media Companies Hope So

Our friends at Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)​ break down why Bell coalition's SOPA-like website blocking plan is deeply flawed:
Image for The CRTC must reject new overreaching Internet censorship proposal

The CRTC must reject new overreaching Internet censorship proposal

Bell-led coalition proposes government-backed website blocking system that advocates warn will harm consumers and free expression online
Image for Bell’s takeover of MTS will harm middle class consumers and businesses who rely on affordable telecom services

Bell’s takeover of MTS will harm middle class consumers and businesses who rely on affordable telecom services

Merger will result in higher telecom costs in one of the few provinces with affordable rates, reinforcing calls to encourage competition by structurally separating the networks.
Image for CRTC Must Ensure Fair Rates For All Internet Providers

CRTC Must Ensure Fair Rates For All Internet Providers

"As TekSavvy customers settle in to lowered bills and Bell customers prepare for their increase on February 1, a new battle for affordable Internet access is happening right under our noses: the price of next generation, ultra-high speed fibre Internet."
Image for Consumers face double-whammy of Bell telecom price-hikes and potential new Internet Tax

Consumers face double-whammy of Bell telecom price-hikes and potential new Internet Tax

Bell is raising Internet prices in Ontario and Quebec by $5, as their smaller competitor TekSavvy lowers its rates
Image for VMedia vs. Bell Media: What will it take to change the channel on Internet Law and Policy?

VMedia vs. Bell Media: What will it take to change the channel on Internet Law and Policy?

Learn more about the ongoing legal battles between Big Media giant Bell and VMedia, offering an innovative new online TV service. It’s time for the law to catch up with the digital era.
Image for Consumer advocates highlight industry support for ending data caps and upholding Net Neutrality in CRTC consultation

Consumer advocates highlight industry support for ending data caps and upholding Net Neutrality in CRTC consultation

Rogers’ opposition to zero-rating and moves by U.S. firms Netflix and T-Mobile suggest Canadian telecoms should follow their lead and offer unlimited data plans 
Image for CRTC decision paves way for affordable fibre Internet choice, but could have gone further

CRTC decision paves way for affordable fibre Internet choice, but could have gone further

Customers can now look forward to accessing high-speed fibre Internet from affordable indie providers, but some surprising choices by CRTC will limit the range of competitive options available to Canadians
Image for Bell promises to run fibre to Churchill, Manitoba —  for the small price of acquiring MTS

Bell promises to run fibre to Churchill, Manitoba —  for the small price of acquiring MTS

You can almost smell the desperation as Bell promises to run fibre Internet to Churchill, Manitoba if the MTS takeover deal goes through
Image for After big win over Bell, what’s next for Canada’s telecom market?

After big win over Bell, what’s next for Canada’s telecom market?

We won a big battle that will determine the future of the Internet in Canada. But what does this really mean?
Image for Credit where credit is due: Minister Bains edition

Credit where credit is due: Minister Bains edition

The federal government took the advice of nearly 80,000 Canadians and rejected Bell Canada’s appeal.
Image for Cell phone bills already going up as Bell-MTS takeover awaits approval

Cell phone bills already going up as Bell-MTS takeover awaits approval

Two weeks after Bell announced their intentions to take over Manitoba’s fourth carrier, Rogers has raised rates.
Image for I’m an MTS customer and my bill is about to go up

I’m an MTS customer and my bill is about to go up

When I read the news of Bell buying MTS I felt my wallet shudder.
Image for Why are Telus and Bell fighting against ambitious speed targets?

Why are Telus and Bell fighting against ambitious speed targets?

At the CRTC’s broadband hearings, some ISPs are arguing internet speeds are fine. Those same companies deliver some of the slowest services to customers.
Image for Canada’s telecom market: Bell’s way or the highway

Canada’s telecom market: Bell’s way or the highway

Yikes! Bell is looking to take over Manitoba Telecom Services, bringing Manitobans higher prices and less choice. And nobody wants that.
Image for Only one in three Canadians are happy with cost of home Internet service

Only one in three Canadians are happy with cost of home Internet service

Data shows Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the industrialized world for middle of the road service.
Image for The CRTC now knows 45,000 Canadians stand with innovative new wireless providers

The CRTC now knows 45,000 Canadians stand with innovative new wireless providers

But, will they let Rogers kill a brand new cell phone provider?
Image for Why is Rogers trying to kill a brand new $19 per month cell provider?

Why is Rogers trying to kill a brand new $19 per month cell provider?

They’re at it again: telecom giants Rogers and Bell are trying to crush an innovative, affordable mobile provider. We’re taking this to the CRTC, and we need you to stand with us.
Image for Ottawa residents: Tell City Council to support a motion for affordable Internet ASAP

Ottawa residents: Tell City Council to support a motion for affordable Internet ASAP

If you’re a resident of Ottawa, tell your Councillor you want faster, more affordable Internet before the February 24 deadline!
Image for Bell’s CRTC Appeal Will Raise Internet Prices, Reduce Investment

Bell’s CRTC Appeal Will Raise Internet Prices, Reduce Investment

In December Toronto Mayor John Tory came out AGAINST greater choice for access to Internet service. This week – in contrast – Toronto City Council is considering a motion that would support open, affordable high-speed fibre Internet access across the city –and your OpenMedia team is supporting it.

Our own Laura Tribe discusses greater Internet choice in Toronto

Toronto City Council is about to hold a key vote on the issue of Internet affordability this February 4th.
Image for City of Toronto votes to support crucial CRTC rules on Internet choice and affordability

City of Toronto votes to support crucial CRTC rules on Internet choice and affordability

Council rejects Mayor Tory’s problematic call for federal Cabinet to overturn CRTC rules designed to ensure Canadians have affordable fibre Internet options.
Image for Toronto needs to support faster, cheaper Internet for its residents

Toronto needs to support faster, cheaper Internet for its residents

The City of Toronto is currently debating whether it will support competitive, affordable Internet, or let Bell price-gouge its residents.

Big Telecom are raising wireless prices, again

What's wireless worth in Canada? Our own Josh Tabish was at CBC's The Exchange yesterday explaining why we can't compare the value of a mobile phone to that of a cup of coffee, like Rogers CEO suggests.
Image for Parliament resumes today: Here are the top 5 digital issues MPs are facing

Parliament resumes today: Here are the top 5 digital issues MPs are facing

Canada’s Parliament is back in session, and MPs have a number of crucial digital rights issues on their plate
Image for Ben Klass battles Bell in a case that will shape future of Net Neutrality

Ben Klass battles Bell in a case that will shape future of Net Neutrality

On Tuesday, the Federal Court of Appeal held a key hearing that will help determine the future of Net Neutrality in Canada.
Image for Experts, advocates, and 50,000+ Canadians build the definitive case for Cabinet to reject Bell Canada’s price-gouging scheme

Experts, advocates, and 50,000+ Canadians build the definitive case for Cabinet to reject Bell Canada’s price-gouging scheme

OpenMedia’s comments were submitted for a crucial December 21 filing deadline for comments to Cabinet, and outline in detail the concerns of over 50,000 Internet users who have spoken out against Bell’s appeal through OpenMedia’s Internet Emergency campaign.
Image for Minister Navdeep Bains: Listen to Internet users and reject Bell Canada’s appeal

Minister Navdeep Bains: Listen to Internet users and reject Bell Canada’s appeal

This morning, OpenMedia sent an open letter to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, urging him to listen to Canadians and reject Bell Canada’s recent appeal to Cabinet.
Image for OpenMedia is fighting Bell at the CRTC and Parliament on your behalf

OpenMedia is fighting Bell at the CRTC and Parliament on your behalf

This morning, OpenMedia filed detailed policy interventions with the CRTC to oppose Bell Canada’s appeal of the fair, pro-customer Internet rules we won together earlier this year. Find out more here.
Image for Barking Technology: Bell still claims to have a right to charge customers for a non-existent service

Barking Technology: Bell still claims to have a right to charge customers for a non-existent service

Bell is continuing to fight to charge customers for a 911 service that did not exist... Article by William Neilson for Barking Technology The Toronto Sun has a rather shocking story of Bell Canada’s continued fight to assert that they were legally allowed to charge customers a monthly fee for a 911 service that did not exist. Dating back to 2007, Bell Canada customers in several Canadian Territories were charged 75 cents a month for a 911 service that never existed. Those who called this 911 service were rerouted to a 10-digit number and a subsequent message stating: “There are no 911 services in this area. Please hang up and dial the emergency number for your area. Or hang up and dial zero to reach an operator.” When residents would therefore dial zero, they then received a recorded message stating “in case of emergency, hang up and dial *911”.
Image for WJS: Study Finds ‘Supercookies’ Used Outside U.S.

WJS: Study Finds ‘Supercookies’ Used Outside U.S.

Bell Canada is one of the few carriers still using the evil 'supercookies' to track their customers. Thanks, Bell... Article by Elizabeth Dwoskin for WSJ Most major US wireless carriers are no longer using controversial identifiers that some researchers call “supercookies,” but their use appears to be extensive overseas.
Image for Not so fast Bell, Canadians are not thieves

Not so fast Bell, Canadians are not thieves

New Bell Media chief Mary Ann Tucke started with the wrong foot with Netflix 'stealing' comment. Article by Michael Geist Bell Media president Mary Ann Turcke sparked an uproar last week when she told a telecom conference that Canadians who use virtual private networks (VPNs) to access the U.S. version of Netflix are stealing. Turcke is not the first Canadian broadcast executive to raise the issue – her predecessor Kevin Crull and Rogers executive David Purdy expressed similar frustration with VPN use earlier this year – but her characterization of paying customers as thieves was bound to garner attention.
Image for Cellphone Freedom Day! On June 3 you’ll be able to end your 3-year-contract for free

Cellphone Freedom Day! On June 3 you’ll be able to end your 3-year-contract for free

Starting June 3, three year contracts which have run or 24 months or more can be cancelled without any penalties. Together, we helped make this code of conduct happen by developing our crowdsourced action plan for the future of our wireless market.

Ben Klass on wireless carriers’ high prices

As cell phone customers reel from yet another Big Telecom price hike, it seems like our wireless market is moving backwards not forwards. Telecom expert and OpenMedia community member Ben Klass asks what will it take for Canadians to get the greater choice and lower prices we deserve. Article from Ben Klass' blog Last week, Mobile Syrup reported that the big 3′s flanker brands, Virgin, Fido, and Koodo (including zombified competitor Public Mobile) would be raising prices on their wireless plans at the same time.
Image for Should Rogers be allowed to block us from watching Hockey Night online?

Should Rogers be allowed to block us from watching Hockey Night online?

Big Telecom is running scared of cord-cutters - and is doing what it takes to block them from watching their favourite shows online. It looks like Rogers is even planning to block Canadians from watching Hockey Night online. They want to trap Canadians in expensive and outdated service plans - and they’re using their power and control to do so. It’s not too late to push back by telling decision-makers at the CRTC to put Canadians first when it comes to our digital future. Have you cut the cord from your television service recently - or are you considering it? If so, you’ve probably noticed it’s getting more difficult to watch the content you want online. The reason is clear - Big Telecom is terrified of cord-cutters and is determined to do what it takes to trap Canadians in their expensive TV service plans.

Financial Post: Industry Minister Moore blocks Bell and Rogers from obtaining Nextwave’s wireless spectrum

Ottawa has blocked telecom giants Bell and Rogers from gobbling up even more scarce and valuable wireless spectrum. Let's keep up the pressure on Industry Minister Moore to rein in Big Telecom at https://openmedia.ca/gatekeepers Article by Christine Dobby for Financial Post TORONTO – Ottawa has blocked a bid by two of Canada’s largest wireless carriers to scoop up more cellular airwaves, taking the opportunity again to drive home its policy on the industry.
Image for Ben Klass complaint against Bell prompts CRTC to review mobile Internet rules

Ben Klass complaint against Bell prompts CRTC to review mobile Internet rules

Several months ago, we let you know that Manitoba resident and OpenMedia community member Ben Klass had filed a complaint with Canada’s telecom policymaker, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Ben’s complaint claimed that telecom giant Bell was unfairly stifling certain types of mobile content over their wireless networks to give their own content a speed advantage over content not owned by Bell.

National Post: Christine Dobby looks back at Canada’s telecom war of 2013

The National Post's Christine Dobby looks back at Big Telecom's efforts last year to limit your telecom choice. We know Big Telecom are gearing up for a huge fight in 2014 as they try to keep your bills sky-high. Article by Christine Dobby for the National Post Last summer a simmering dispute over obscure regulations boiled over into all-out war as the country’s cellphone titans took on the federal government and its efforts to entice a U.S. giant north. The dialogue got heated as the three largest wireless carriers – ostensible rivals – joined forces to target Ottawa’s policy on the industry. They waged a co-ordinated public relations campaign with troops of executives touring newsrooms to get the message out. They flooded the airwaves with radio ads, launched a website and helped boost the newspaper industry with a barrage of full-page ads about the U.S. threat and Ottawa’s betrayal, each one more dire than the next.
Image for Bell raises prices, Telus furthers usage limits: Big Telecom is hurting the Internet

Bell raises prices, Telus furthers usage limits: Big Telecom is hurting the Internet

This week, Canadians learned that big telecom company Telus will be further limiting how much its customers can use the Internet. Soon after, we learned that big telecom company Bell will be jacking up their prices for Internet. After fighting for Internet openness and affordability for years, the pro-Internet community knows: this is price-gouging, pure and simple. It’s no secret that when it comes to the Internet, Canadians pay higher prices for worse services than people in most countries in the industrialized world. This is largely because a small handful of Big Telecom companies control upwards of 94% of the Internet service market in Canada, meaning that Canadians don’t have much real choice.

Bell makes second attempt at Astral Media takeover

Big telecom company Bell is once again trying to take over Astral Media and gain more control over Canada’s media system. This comes only one month after the CRTC listened to Canadians decrying the deal and shot down the merger, saying that this concentration of power in Bell’s hands would not benefit the public. Bell is attempting to make the argument that their takeover would benefit Canadians, despite the fact that Canadians have already been clear that this is not the case. Learn more about the Bell/Astral merger and take action at StopTheTakeover.ca. Read more on these developments in our press release.
Image for The Globe and Mail: Bell submits new takeover bid

The Globe and Mail: Bell submits new takeover bid

Bell is attempting to repackage its $3.38-billion takeover of Astral Media to decision-makers at the CRTC. This Big Telecom power-grab would lead to higher vertical integration, less market choice and increased costs to Canadians. Let's ensure that our voices are heard once more. Speak out against Bell's tightening grip over Canadian communications by telling the CRTC to StopTheTakeover.ca. Article by Steve Ladurantaye and Jacquie McNish for The Globe and Mail Canada’s broadcast regulator has signalled it would clear the way for BCE Inc. to bulk up in Quebec as it resurrects its bid for Astral Media Inc, provided the media giant unloads television and radio stations in the rest of the country and does a better job of explaining how its $3-billion takeover would benefit Canadians. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission warned BCE and Astral Media when it rejected the first takeover bid that it was concerned that a combined company would control too much of the Canadian market, including Quebec.
Image for The Globe and Mail: With Astral on the ropes, Bell takes on Canadians

The Globe and Mail: With Astral on the ropes, Bell takes on Canadians

After speaking out against Bell's $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media, the CRTC made a decision to listen to Canadians and block the Big Telecom expansion of power. Naturally, Bell hasn't been so easy to give up on its power-grab – instead now taking on Canadians and the CRTC. We need to stand by the CRTC decision that was made in our favour, telling our MPs to do the same. Sign and share our StopTheTakeover.ca campaign to help stop Bell's takeover for good. Article by Simon Houpt for The Globe & Mail It sounded at once alluring and kind of unseemly. At a roundtable chat here on Tuesday afternoon hosted by Larry King, Kevin Crull, the president of Bell Media, listened in admiration as his fellow panelists sketched out their utopian visions for how technology is making the world an infinitely better place. One Kenyan entrepreneur talked about a game he had developed, in which players protect trees from illegal loggers, that helped change people’s views of the practice in the real world. Brian David Johnson, a futurist at Intel, marvelled: “The idea that people just carry the Internet in their pocket – they carry a gateway to global business, to global politics in their pocket – I think has just had a massive, massive effect on our society.”
Image for Knocking down the Bell tower: How Canadians helped in stopping Big Telecom’s takeover

Knocking down the Bell tower: How Canadians helped in stopping Big Telecom’s takeover

As part of a larger campaign to spread awareness about communications issues in Canada, we at OpenMedia.ca have been encouraging students at universities and colleges across Canada to run OpenMedia.ca clubs on their campuses. Previously, our campus club at OpenMedia McGill reported back on their trip to the Bell/Astral hearings in September. Now, they're sharing their insight into the CRTC decision that was made after Canadians spoke out to StopTheTakeover.ca. Read on for how Bell's takeover was stopped with your support, where the merger stands now and how you can help in speaking out further.
Image for CRTC’s Bell-Astral Decision Signals Welcome Shift Towards Transparency

CRTC’s Bell-Astral Decision Signals Welcome Shift Towards Transparency

Given that Canada’s media system is already one of the most highly concentrated in the industrialized world, the case has brought a lot of attention to the problems of vertical integration, and the negative impacts it can have on the availability of content, and the prices we pay. As the CRTC noted in its ruling, Bell is “the largest Internet service provider in Canada, the second largest wireless service provider and the third largest television distributor”. When one company owns the medium and the message, there is a strong profit incentive to push content that it owns, or restrict access to other content it doesn’t control.

Bell’s Takeover Goes to Ottawa?

After losing in its battle against Canadians before the CRTC, Bell announced it would try to get parliament to overturn the decision! The Big Telecom company just can't respect the will of citizens in a democracy. Despite Bell's sour grapes, the federal government has stated that it won't overturn yesterday's groundbreaking decision by the CRTC to stop Bell's takeover. Bell's dwindling options now reside with the Federal Court of Appeal. We must stay vigilant in case they go that route. Thank you for speaking out and ensuring that Bell's takeover was stopped. Let's continue forward with fixing Canada's broken telecom market. Read more about the government's decision in a news article at The Globe and Mail
Image for Techvibes: CRTC blocks Bell’s $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media

Techvibes: CRTC blocks Bell’s $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media

Because of your support of the http://StopTheTakeover.ca/ campaign, Bell's takeover of Astral Media has been stopped by the CRTC. Had the deal been approved, Bell would have been given an overwhelming market share of Canada's communications – effectively allowing them to price-gouge Canadians and restrict access to the open Internet. We're now taking steps to fix our broken telecom market. Simply put: THANK YOU. Article by Knowlton Thomas for Techvibes Earlier this year Bell acquired Astral Media for a whopping $3.4 billion. But the deal was too big to happen easily—the merger acquired a deep investigation from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Today, the CRTC finalized a decision. And it shocked many.

Thanks to you – we won.

CRTC's decision.
Image for National Post: How Bell’s takeover would result in less competition, higher prices

National Post: How Bell’s takeover would result in less competition, higher prices

As broadcast regulators review Bell's takeover of Astral Media, we're keeping a close eye on Bell's increasing vertical integration that would put Canadian pricing and choice at risk. Speak out against Bell's tightening grip over Canadian communications by telling the CRTC to StopTheTakeover.ca. Article by Chris Peirce for Financial Post Innovation in this digital age is driving transformational change. If Canada acts to harness this transformation, Canadian consumers will be able to access and utilize the content they desire, and Canadian businesses will become more productive and competitive in both the Canadian and global economies. Canadian success at home and abroad for a generation and beyond is contingent upon the decisions we make today to foster a marketplace that drives and rewards this innovation.
Image for Bell’s Astral Media takeover threatens Quebec culture

Bell’s Astral Media takeover threatens Quebec culture

As broadcast regulators review Bell's $3.4B takeover of Astral Media, we've been reviewing how this acquisition would increase telecom prices, saturate Canada's media channels and severely limit consumer choice. Beyond affecting Canadians on a national level, Bell's takeover could take away from Francophone cultural identity, to which Astral Media has long been a prominent supporter. Speak out in telling the CRTC that Bell's increasing vertical integration is bad for all Canadians at StopTheTakeover.ca. Article by Allan Woods for The Toronto Star Quebec revels in few things more than when its artists rise to the top. Think Celine Dion. Think Cirque du Soleil. Think way back even to Mitsou. They are the cream-of-the-crop from a tiny French-speaking society that continues climbing within the seemingly bottomless pitcher that is the world. Think more recently of Academy Award-nominated films like Monsieur Lazhar, Incendies and Barney’s Version. Here, you will find the common link that has Quebec’s actors, writers, directors and technicians — not to mention the newly elected Parti Québécois government — terribly concerned.
Image for CRTC exec who spent evening in Bell box operated in ‘grey area’

CRTC exec who spent evening in Bell box operated in ‘grey area’

An ethics expert is questioning the motives of Canada's broadcast regulators, after it was revealed that the CRTC vice-chairman was a guest in Bell's corporate suite at a hockey game late last year. With the CRTC currently reviewing their decision of Bell's takeover of Astral Media, let's remind them that the best interests of Canadians come first. Sign and share our petition at StopTheTakeover.ca. Article by Danny Joncas for The Toronto Sun Nine months after his appointment as vice-chairman of broadcasting at the Canadian Radio-Television and telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Tom Pentefountas placed himself in an awkward situation by spending an evening in Bell's corporate box at the arena that bears its name. Bell confirmed that Pentefountas attended a Canadiens match at the Bell Centre in the telecom giant's loge on Dec. 8, 2011.

RMR: ‘Swab’ Bell’s takeover of Canadian media

Are you an independent entity or have you become a low-level subsidiary of Bell Media? Rick Mercer helps to show how you can swab the takeover to find out if Bell's expanding reach has taken its effect. Join our StopTheTakeover.ca campaign and let your voice be heard. Together, let's tell our broadcast regulators that the side-effects of Bell's takeover are bad for Canadian choice.
Image for The McGill OpenMedia.ca campus club goes to the Bell/Astral hearing

The McGill OpenMedia.ca campus club goes to the Bell/Astral hearing

As part of a larger campaign to spread awareness about communications issues in Canada, we at OpenMedia.ca have been encouraging students at universities and colleges across Canada to run OpenMedia.ca clubs on their campuses. These clubs work on a variety of outreach, organizing, and public education activities—including speaking events, film screenings, hosting educational workshops—but this fall, OpenMedia McGill club started their semester with a bang: they sat in on a part of the CRTC hearing on Bell’s takeover of Astral Media. Here’s what they reported back:
Image for CBC News: Yukon phone outage blamed on aging infrastructure

CBC News: Yukon phone outage blamed on aging infrastructure

Bell has made it clear that should their takeover of Astral Media go through, they would use 'tangible benefits' (an owed tax on the $3.4B purchase) to fund the expansion of their subsidiary Northwestel. Having already received annual CRTC payments of $20M to invest in their aging infrastructure, Bell has been criticized for mismanaging funds that could have prevented last week's communications outage. Speak out at StopTheTakeover.ca and help tell the CRTC that Bell's ascending vertical integration is bad for Canadians. Article from CBC News Yukon’s massive communications shutdown Thursday has some thinking it's time to upgrade the territory's aging telecommunications infrastructure. Andrew Robulack, an IT analyst and blogger in Whitehorse, said the latest outage is disappointing but not surprising. "We have a really strong dependency on a really weak infrastructure — single provider in most cases, single network links in or out of our region — and as the CRTC pointed out recently, the equipment is aging,” he said.

VMedia: What Bell’s takeover means for Canadians

The hearings on Bell's $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media has ended, but we need to make sure we keep speaking out as the CRTC makes its decision as to whether or not the deal will be approved. Join our StopTheTakeover.ca campaign and let your voice be heard in telling our broadcast regulators that Bell's increasing vertical integration is bad for Canadians.
Image for The Globe & Mail: Competition Bureau could step in to stop Bell’s takeover

The Globe & Mail: Competition Bureau could step in to stop Bell’s takeover

Canada's Competition Bureau is keeping a close eye on Bell's $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media, saying that it could strike down the deal even if it passes review by broadcast regulators. Of primary concern is Bell's increasing vertical integration, meaning that it owns both producers of content (networks) and the broadcast infrastructure to deliver it. As the CRTC reviews its decision on Bell's takeover, the time to speak out is now. Sign our petition at StopTheTakeover.ca and let's continue to amplify our voices against this grab for power. Article by Steve Ladurantaye for The Globe & Mail The federal Competition Bureau is “increasingly concerned” that BCE Inc.’s $3.4-billion purchase of Astral Media Inc. would put too much power in the hands of one broadcaster, with the watchdog saying it could strike down the deal even if broadcast regulators allow it to proceed. Competition Commissioner Melanie Aitken said her office paid close attention to the testimony last week as a parade of executives and individuals appeared before the country’s broadcast regulator at a hearing examining whether the deal would ultimately benefit Canadians. She’s not convinced. While all of the bureau’s investigations are done behind closed doors, Ms. Aitken warned she has concerns that go beyond her standard duty to review every large transaction. “We are watching closely,” said Ms. Aitken. “There have been a lot of complaints during the course of our review and we are increasingly concerned about vertical integration and its effect on competition.”

Bell’s Astral Takeover: What’s at Stake?

Bell's escalating vertical integration is raising concern among Canadian citizens and scholars. Should their takeover of Astral Media receive approval by the CRTC, it will tighten Bell's grip on the communications market and limit Canadians with fewer media and telecom choices, higher prices and less opportunity for free speech. As the CRTC continues to review Bell's $3.4B purchase of Astral Media this week, we're continuing to amplify our voices against the deal at StopTheTakeover.ca.
Image for The CRTC made a priority list – We’re checking it twice

The CRTC made a priority list – We’re checking it twice

The CRTC is making attempts to emphasize affordability, access and a focus on citizen issues with a revised priorities document that was released late last week. By shifting towards an outlook that keeps the best interests of Canadians first and foremost, rather than heeding to corporate industry-defined mandates, the CRTC is recognizing that we should have a say in the future of our communications. This reaction by the CRTC is the result of numerous actions by Canadians nationwide in staying engaged, informed and vocal about these issues. We'll have to ensure that the CRTC isn't trying to simply adopt our language to placate us without following through on these promises – it's up to us to make sure they walk the talk. Let's start this push now with StopTheTakeover.ca and let's tell the CRTC to stop corporate interests from diluting Canadian communications. Article from MichaelGeist.ca The Canadian communications world is focused this week on the proposed merger between Bell and Astral Media as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission holds its much-anticipated hearing on the issue in Montreal. While the merger takes centre stage, the Commission may have upstaged the process last Thursday by releasing a detailed priorities document that covers the next three years. My weekly technology law column notes that with Jean-Pierre Blais installed as the new CRTC chair and the Conservatives emboldened by majority government, the Commission's priorities send a message of change in Canadian communications policy. The days of emphasizing Canadian content rules or legislative overhauls are over, replaced by a consumer-oriented focus on affordable access to both content and connectivity services.
Image for Financial Post: Bell’s vertical integration hearings begin

Financial Post: Bell’s vertical integration hearings begin

CRTC hearings began this morning on Bell's proposed $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media. If the deal is approved, it would greatly increase Bell's media ownership across Canada's broadcast spectrum – all at the expense of restricting fair market choice and competition for Canadians. The time to unite and speak out against Bell's maneuvering is now. Let the CRTC hear our disapproval by adding your voice to our ongoing campaign at StopTheTakeover.ca. Article by Jamie Sturgeon for Financial Post Odds are near certain you’ve never heard of ViaNetTV, a tiny Toronto-based television startup. And if BCE Inc. gets its way you never will, according to its founder, Alexei Tchernobrivets. For more than a year, ViaNetTV has attempted to negotiate with Bell Media, the sprawling telecom and media conglomerate’s entertainment unit, for the right to carry Bell-owned television channels like Discovery and MuchMusic through its new TV service.
Image for Huffington Post: How Bell’s takeover will worsen Canada’s media concentration

Huffington Post: How Bell’s takeover will worsen Canada’s media concentration

We've seen how the Bell/Astral deal is bad for consumer choice before, but a new report is shedding further light on this vertical integration of Canada's communications. Currently, 81.4% of the value of Canada's TV distribution market is controlled by companies that also create content, meaning that Big Telecom companies are not only transmitting our programming – they're producing it as well. With the CRTC's impending review of the Bell/Astral merger coming next month – the time to speak out is now. Join concerned Canadians in speaking out against Bell's monopolistic takeover at http://StopTheTakeover.ca/. Article by Daniel Tencer for Huffington Post Canada Canada has the most concentrated TV industry ownership of any G8 country, and the second most concentrated TV audience, says a new report that aims to measure the impact of the proposed Bell Canada-Astral Media merger. The report from Boston-based Analysis Group reports that 81.4 per cent of the value of Canada’s TV distribution (cable and satellite) market is controlled by companies that also create content, such as broadcasters and production companies.
Image for The Globe & Mail: Rogers and Bell to purchase majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment

The Globe & Mail: Rogers and Bell to purchase majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment

Two of Canada's biggest media conglomerates, Bell and Rogers, are partnering up. Their goal? To take control of the iconic Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment group. The CRTC approved the deal yesterday, which includes three TV channels, several sports teams, and even some real estate holdings. With the CRTC giving Big Telecom their blessing for the purchase by saying that 'consumer safeguards' are in place, attention now turns to the impending Bell takeover of Astral to be reviewed next month. Let the CRTC know that Big Telecom's power grab needs to be stopped. Share our Action Plan for a Connected Canada at http://openmedia.ca/plan/action-plan and stay tuned for future updates. Article by Rita Trichur for The Globe & Mail Canada’s broadcast regulator has given its blessing to a $1.3-billion agreement by BCE Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc. to purchase a majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. While that paves the way for the two rivals to take control of the iconic sports company, the real test of consumer safeguards will come next month, when the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission scrutinizes BCE’s $3.38-billion proposed takeover of Astral Media Inc.
Image for TorrentFreak.com: New data exposes Canadian ISPs throttling download speeds

TorrentFreak.com: New data exposes Canadian ISPs throttling download speeds

Canadian citizens are paying for Internet access, but Big Telecom isn't being completely open about the restrictions that they've been imposing. With new data just published by the Measurement Lab, Canadian service providers such as Bell and Rogers have been exposed as interfering with over 75% of torrent transfers and download speeds. The CRTC confronted Rogers about bandwidth throttling late last year, to which Rogers responded with a promise that they would end interference by the end of this year. Although Bell has made a similar promise to their consumers as well, it doesn't seem like we're seeing any changes just yet. If you've experienced any throttling issues with your provider, tell us about it in the comments below. To make the switch from Big Telecom to an independent ISP, visit our campaign page at http://openmedia.ca/switch. Article by Ernesto at TorrentFreak.com New data published by the Google-backed Measurement Lab gives a unique insight into the BitTorrent throttling practices of ISPs all over the world. In the U.S. and Australia most large ISPs limit less than 10 percent of BitTorrent transfers. In the UK and Canada on the other hand, some providers interfere with up to three-quarters of all BitTorrent traffic.

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