Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – Federal Court rejects big telco appeal of CRTC wholesale rates decision

CRTCThe Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) has rejected appeals filed by Canada’s incumbent telecom companies seeking to overturn a key CRTC decision determining the wholesale rates that large carriers can charge independent internet service providers (ISPs). The FCA also lifted the Stay on the implementation of the CRTC’s Aug. 2019 rate decision. One of those ISPs, TekSavvy, says it’s owed tens of millions in remuneration and until that’s paid will be applying the amounts owed, with interest, as a monthly credit on the wholesale fees it’s charged by Bell and Rogers. 

The CRTC has approved a nine-month delay for Rogers Communications to implement the STIR/SHAKEN framework. STIR/SHAKEN stands for Secure Telephony Identity Revisited/Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs. The suite of protocols and procedures is intended to combat caller ID spoofing.The commission has approved Rogers’ request to extend the deadline to June 30, 2021, which will apply to all telecom service providers.

Cogeco Inc. and Cogeco Communications Inc. have released a letter sent to Rogers Communications Inc. and Altice USA Inc., in response to a communique received Sept. 15. In the letter, Cogeco says that from the outset of the parties’ unsolicited takeover proposal, they “have engaged in bad faith tactics, some of which created confusion in the market. Your proposal of September 1, 2020 offered to respond to any questions we may have and concluded by stating that you looked forward to our response. However, minutes before the open of markets the following morning, without any warning and thereby depriving us of an opportunity to respond, you publicly announced your proposal in which you said that the support of the Audet family was necessary to complete a transaction, yet you failed to disclose that they had rejected your proposal the prior evening. We can only surmise that this was done with a view to misleading investors and increasing the stock price in an attempt to put pressure on the family to sell.” Cogeco’s board of directors essentially extinguishes any discussion of a sale saying, “We will not engage in a futile exercise aimed at diverting the attention of management and key resources from our business operations while creating friction among our stakeholders.”

Cogeco Connexion, a subsidiary of Cogeco Communications Inc., is expanding its network in the municipalities of Val-des-Monts, Lac à la Truite, and Lac Rond, to offer its high-speed internet services to 5,000 homes and businesses. The investment of more than $4.5 million includes 173 kilometres of fibre network deployment. The investment is part of Cogeco Communications’ commitment to invest more than $1 billion, over a period of four years, in the operation and expansion of its Canadian hybrid fibre coaxial cable network to extend its regional high-speed internet coverage across Ontario and Québec.

TELUS is expanding its TELUS Internet for Good program in B.C. and Alberta, which provides high speed broadband for just $9.95 per month, beyond those receiving the maximum federal Child Care Benefit. TELUS and the School Boards have further simplified the process to ensure all K-12 students in need will have a reliable high speed internet connection at home. Families can express their need for connectivity to their school and receive a code to redeem to ensure students stay connected, whether they’re attending school in person, or participating virtually at home.

 

Radio-Canada’s Ombudsman Guy Gendron concludes his mandate in June 2021 after almost five years in the role, with the recruitment process to find his successor underway. The Office’s jurisdiction covers all content, produced for radio, television or the internet (including social media used by CBC and Radio-Canada) that falls within the scope of the public broadcaster’s Journalistic Standards and Practices. The process to select the new Ombudsman is entirely run by third party organization, Odgers Berndtson, a Montreal-based firm. Interested candidates should view the posting on the Odgers Berndtson site.

APTN is seeking applicants to serve on its board of directors. The volunteer board, representing all regions of Canada, is responsible for oversight of APTN, its policy and direction. The board is currently seeking members who can contribute to one or more of the following categories: Finance; Legal; Representation from Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Canada; First Nations, Inuit or Métis Perspective; Broadcast Industry; Television or Film Production Experience; Indigenous-Language Speaker; Regulatory Experience; and News/Journalism, among other areas. Learn more, here.

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