Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – Bell acquires Longueuil-based EBOX

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Bell has acquired EBOX, an internet, telephone and television service provider based in Longueuil, Qué. Bell will maintain the EBOX brand and operations. Under its umbrella, Bell says EBOX will benefit from the resources and scale necessary to support the growth of the business. After 25 years leading EBOX, M. Jean-Philippe Béïque and M. Dominic Letourneau are both stepping away from the business. EBOX will continue to operate on a standalone basis, based in Longueuil, with existing operations continuing under the leadership of Isis Thiago De Souza, VP and General Manager, EBOX.

TekSavvy Solutions has filed a disclosure with the federal Integrity Commissioner, seeking an investigation into CRTC Chair Ian Scott. The filing alleges Scott held numerous ex parte meetings with incumbent telecom lobbyists during regulatory proceedings concerning pricing of internet and mobile services, including a private meeting with Mirko Bibic, CEO of Bell, who were photographed at an Ottawa bar in December 2019. While Scott was questioned in February by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry and Technology (INDU), TekSavvy contends that Scott misled the committee, since he clearly broke key federal rules, including the CRTC’s internal ethics protocols, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, and the rule of law (a regulator in a quasi-judicial role cannot avoid the appearance of bias while having one-on-one social engagements with a friend with an active file before him). TekSavvy also suggests Scott tried to conceal his own misconduct after the fact. 

Quebecor has chalked up another win in its fight against piracy with a Federal Court decision sanctioning two Québec City companies. Technologies Konek and Coopérative de câblodistribution Hill Valley have been found to have infringed on TVA Group’s copyright by illegally redistributing the TVA and TVA Sports channels. According to Quebecor’s court filing, Konek was behind the design of the so-called “Konek box” which allowed hotel room TVs to retransmit television channels. Quebecor says it became aware of Konek’s activities in early 2020 when some of its Videotron hotel clients terminated their contracts to do business with the Québec City-based company, which was redistributing TVA Group channels, to which it held no rights. Read more here.

Quebecor reported its consolidated financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2021, including Quebecor Media. Revenue for the year was $4.55 billion in 2021, up $236.6 million (5.5%) from 2020, while revenues for Q4 were $1.18 billion, up $37.1 million (3.2%). The Telecommunications segment grew its revenues by $112.4 million (3.1%) and its adjusted EBITDA by $11.3 million (0.6%) in 2021, despite a $12.6 million unfavourable one-time variance in 2020. Videotron increased its revenues from mobile services and equipment ($73.2 million or 8.0%), Internet access ($70.0 million or 6.2%) and wireline equipment ($52.3 million or 34.5%) in 2021. Advertising revenues from the TVA Network and specialty channels were up for the fourth consecutive quarter, driving an increase of approximately $24.3 million (16.5%) in TVA Group’s revenues in Q4. The higher revenues partially offset an increase in content costs, including at TVA Sports because of the late start to the 2020-21 NHL season, and significant investments in Q4 2021 to face increased competition from proliferating consumer offerings.

The Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation has announced this year’s recipients of Canada’s highest honour in the performing arts. The laureates of the 2022 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards for Lifetime Artistic Achievement are Quebec film and television pioneer Fernand Dansereau; VisionTV founder Rita Shelton Deverell; composer/producer David Foster; author Tomson Highway; and choreographer Linda Rabin.

LISTEN: In Metro Vancouver, ongoing protests have been coming to the media outlets themselves with rotating “Media is the Virus” rallies held outside CTV, Global, CBC and Citytv. Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast talked to CTV Vancouver news director Ethan Faber about the realities of what it’s like to be a beat reporter right now, how we got here, and the struggle to return to civilized discourse. Listen on your favourite podcast app or here: