Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – Competition Bureau wants help gathering facts on proposed Rogers/Shaw merger

The Competition Bureau has issued a request for information (RFI) to help gather facts about Rogers’ proposed acquisition of Shaw. It’s inviting those with relevant information to help assess potential impacts on competition in the areas of mobile wireless services to consumers, consumer and small business internet services, fibre transport services, the supply of programming to television providers (or Broadcasting Distribution Undertakings), and the provision of relay distribution services to BDUs. The bureau is encouraging the sharing of relevant information by Oct. 29. It says it’s using all of the tools at its disposal to advance its investigation, including obtaining court orders requiring Xplornet, Bell, TELUS and Vidéotron to produce information related to mobile wireless services.

Eastlink plans to invest close to $26M to take its mobile service further into New Brunswick over the next couple of years. The project will expand existing coverage from Shediac to the Miramichi in 2022, followed by Bathurst and the Acadian Peninsula. The expansion will also include an increased retail presence in more communities. 

Bell has announced further reductions in monthly pricing for mobile data plans from Virgin Plus as of Oct. 5. The reduced prices come into effect in advance of federal expectations announced in March 2020 that 2 gigabyte (GB), 4 GB and 6 GB data plans that include unlimited talk and text should be available at prices 25% lower by early 2022. According to Statistics Canada data supplied by Bell, pricing for wireless service has declined 31% since Jan. 2019.Since the start of 2021 and prior to these latest decreases taking effect, Bell says wireless prices have declined by 15%.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) is calling for police investigation into a recent wave of targeted threats made against Canadian journalists. Last week, Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada, publicly urged his followers on Twitter to ‘play dirty’ with journalists requesting comments around the party’s ties to the far right. Bernier proceeded to specifically target three journalists by publicly sharing their email addresses. In response, Twitter suspended Bernier’s account for 12 hours. Over the past week, dozens more reporters, many of whom are female and/or journalists of colour, have been inundated with intimidating emails and messages on social media with threats of violence, sexual assault, harassment, and death.

The Dalton Camp Award $10,000 essay competition is now open for submissions. The annual award is presented by FRIENDS (formerly known as Friends of Canadian Broadcasting) for the best original writing on the link between Canadian media and democracy. A prize of $2,500 will also be awarded to the best essay by a post-secondary student writer. The deadline to submit is Dec. 24. The Dalton Camp Award was created in 2002 in memory of the Canadian public affairs commentator. Previous winners include Radiyah Chowdhury in 2020 for her essay The Forever Battle of a Journalist of Colour and Christopher Cheung in 2021 for Blind Spots.