March 22, 2012
OpenMedia original article
Bell Set to Get Even Bigger: Weekly Update from OpenMedia.ca
This week, Bell announced its purchase of Astral Media Inc. (for $3.38 billion!), which gives the already huge media conglomerate control of more Canadian radio and TV. Concentration in Canada's communications industry is already dangerously high, and since Big Telecom is well-known for its anti-competitive practices, we are faced with a dire situation in which big, unaccountable companies have become the content owners and providers. Now, more than ever, it's so important that we grow the pro-Internet community and push for policies that put ordinary Canadians' rights first.
For the Internet,
- The OpenMedia.ca Team
This is a great video on how the Internet can be used to reimagine the role and process of government so that it's more open, transparent, engaging and responsive to our needs, rather than the demands of industry lobbyists. Thank you to Andrew William Sampson for posting this on our Facebook wall. Read more »
By Tavia Grant for the Globe and Mail
Canadian businesses and governments are lagging several western nations in the “Internet economy” and are being warned that they risk falling even further behind unless they take immediate and more aggressive action. The Internet contributed $49-billion to Canada’s gross domestic product last year, representing 3 per cent of the country’s economy, a report to be released Monday by the Boston Consulting Group estimates. It is projected to hit $76-billion by 2016, or 3.6 per cent of GDP. Read more »
We already know that the government's online spying plan (C-30) will cost well over $80,000,000. Now, according to Internet law expert Michael Geist, we know that the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police had suggested the government require you to pay for this through a new surveillance fee, which would be added to your Internet bill.
Do you want to pay a surveillance tax on every single Internet bill? Tell you MP to stand against this plan.
Article by Michael Geist:
One of the major unanswered questions about Bill C-30, the lawful access/online surveillance bill, is who will pay for the costs associated with responding to law enforcement demands for subscriber information ("look ups") and installation of surveillance equipment ("hook ups"). Read more »
I'm just a technical guy. I make my living as a systems administrator, software author and Internet consultant. After watching failures of the legislative process in the USA that lead to them passing laws that attacked the rights of technology owners and the interests of software authors, I decided I must get involved in Canada's political process. I participated in the consultation in the summer of 2001, and have been very active since. This includes sitting in on nearly all of the Bill C-32 and Bill C-11 committee meetings in-person, and being a witness in front of a Bill C-32 committee on March 8, 2011. I have been live tweeting and writing articles for each of these meetings. Now that committee work ended on March 13, the next steps will be a third reading in the House of Commons and then on to the Senate for whatever study they decide to do. Read more »
Cross-posted from Mediamorphis
Sometimes I just wish I could wake up in the morning and not be thrust into the hurly-burly of all the stuff roiling the telecom-media-Internet industries in Canada. But no! If it ain’t copyright maximalists trying to lock up content (Bill C-11) or spooks trying to stuff the telecom-Internet infrastructure with new surveillance gear (Bill C-30), it’s big TMI conglomerates like Bell swallowing up erstwhile competitors like Astral. Now, this is not just a little deal, but a massive deal between Bell/CTV, the largest TMI conglomerate in the country with revenues of just over $22 billion, and Astral, the eighth largest media outlet in Canada with revenues of $888.1 million in 2010. While Astral is the fifth largest television operator (after Bell/CTV, Shaw/Global, Quebecor/TVA, CBC, in that order) and second largest radio station owner (after the CBC) in Canada, it is but a pygmy alongside Bell. If this deal goes through, we will have lost yet another independent and our position as having one of the most concentrated set of TMI industries amongst the developed capitalist economies will be yet further cemented (see here). Read more »
Today Bell announced that it's getting bigger; it will soon be in control of Astral Media, and the cellphone, Internet, land-line services, radio stations, and television holdings that come with it. As they grow, companies like Bell and Rogers gain even more ability, not to mention incentive, to engage in anticompetitive behaviour. And with unchecked dominance over Canadians' communications comes higher prices, tighter contracts, more disrespectful customer service, and greater potential for surveillance.
The pro-Internet community has come a long way since its inception—from moving the decision on usage-based billing to pushing back the government's online spying agenda—and as Big Telecom beefs up, it's more important than ever that we sustain our momentum. Join our Digital Action Team today, and be a part of another one of the most active groups in our growing community.
Article from CBC News:
Bell Canada, the country's biggest telecommunications company, has agreed to buy Montreal-based Astral Media Inc. for $3.38 billion, giving the company more control over content for its cell-phone, internet and land-line services. Read more »
It looks like Canadians—especially those who added their names to the petition at http://StopTheSqueeze.ca/ or sent our report to their MP—have had an effect in forcing the Big Three to back off. Yesterday Industry Minister Paradis announced rules that were expected to determine whether indie cell phone companies will get the resources they need. While the decision that Paradis made is imperfect, it's clear that the government was disinclined to give in to the demands of the Big Three's lobbyists, who wanted to prevent shut their indie competitors out from being able to deliver service to us. And while we think this is a half measured approach, (and that the government will need to deal with angry Canadians if our prices don't drop), Big Telecom has again been prevented from implementing its plans.
Article by Jason Feteke for Postmedia News:
The federal government wants more competition in Canada's telecommunications sector, announcing Wednesday it will ease foreign ownership restrictions on telecom companies and place caps on upcoming multibillion-dollar wireless spectrum auctions to allow smaller wireless firms greater market access. Read more »