Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – WildBrain accuses Cogeco of violating Wholesale Code

Cogeco is accusing WildBrain of abusing the CRTC process in response to a Part 1 filed by the parent company of Family Channel in an attempt to invoke the commission’s standstill rule. WildBrain argues that Cogeco is violating the Wholesale Code when, despite the application of the standstill rule during carriage negotiations, it gave unilateral notice that it would drop all of WildBrain’s English services. WildBrain says its application demonstrates the vulnerability of independent discretionary services arising from an uneven marketplace caused by Canada’s “highly concentrated and vertically integrated ownership structure.”

CRTCThe CRTC has determined that device financing plans fall under the scope of the Wireless Code, given the “inextricable link” between device financing plans and wireless service plans. Further, the commission has determined that the required repayment of the balance of a device financing plan ultimately constitutes an early cancellation fee. It’s directed wireless service providers to update their contracts, sales and training materials, and other documentation to ensure device financing and wireless service plans comply with rules relating to early cancellation fees. The commission will also direct the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) to begin tracking complaints related to device financing plans and ensure they’re counted separately from other early cancellation-related complaints.

OpenMedia, Ryerson Leadership Lab, and TekSavvy are among those involved in an Affordable Internet Day of Action planned for March 16 calling on the federal government and regulators to expedite the process towards more affordable internet and wireless services for Canadians. Others participating include: ACORN Canada; Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship; activist and author Cory Doctorow; Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law Michael Geist; The Internet Society Canada Chapter; Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC); and the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. Organizations and individuals interested in participating in the event can email Laura Tribe at laura@openmedia.org. 

The Rise Mentoring Programme, a free, six-month resource supporting women working in or aspiring to work in the broadcast media technology sector, is expanding its program to North America. Running from May-November, mentees are supported with strategies to identify and achieve career goals, feedback and advice, through the help of a mentor. Applications are welcome from women who are working full-time, part time or freelance and of any age group above the age of 18. Past mentees have come from a variety of job roles, including engineering, technical operations, sales, marketing and business development. The program is open for applications until April 9.

The Pigeon, the online journalism startup for recent j-school grads, is launching The Pigeon Sessions, a series of events and workshops to help new journalists learn and grow within the industry. Their first event, After Graduation: Finding Your Way as a New Journalist, is set for March 24 and will feature a panel of young experts sharing what they’ve learned at the outset of their careers. Learn more here.