General + Regulatory + Telecom + Media NewsRegulatory, Telecom & Media News - Super Channel resubmits retailer suit in...

Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – Super Channel resubmits retailer suit in Alberta

Super Channel has withdrawn a lawsuit it initially filed in Federal Court and resubmitted the case in Alberta. The suit names Best Buy, Staples, London Drugs and Canada Computers, alleging the retailers were complicit in promoting content piracy by selling internet streaming devices. It also names groups of Canadians who bought Android TV devices among the defendants, demanding those retailers name the customers. Allarco Entertainment declined to comment on resubmission of the suit, saying it is before the courts.

Darren Entwistle

TELUS CEO Darren Entwistle has cautioned that the telecom company could cut $1 billion in spending and 5,000 jobs over the next five years if the CRTC requires incumbent wireless providers to open their infrastructure to mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). Entwistle made the comments at the commission’s MVNO hearing, the first step toward exploring a federal Competition Bureau recommendation to create a mandated MVNO policy to boost competition and lower consumer prices for wireless services. 

Quebecor has filed its intervention with the CRTC regarding the renewal of CBC/Radio-Canada’s licence renewal, which goes to a public hearing May 25. Quebecor’s submission states that it’s in agreement with the Yale report (Broadcast Telecommunications Legislative Review) that CBC/Radio-Canada should be “animated by a public purpose not a commercial one.” Quebecor questions whether the public broadcaster should be driven by a culture of performance and financial return rather than a culture of public service. It also asserts that carrying foreign content does not fulfill CBC’s mandate, taking aim at French-language SVOD platform Extra.

TekSavvy Solutions, which bills itself as the country’s largest independent internet service provider (ISP), has filed a formal complaint with the Competition Bureau alleging price-fixing on the part of Bell Canada and Rogers Communications for its internet services. The complaint seeks an investigation into what TekSavvy terms “a pattern of anti-competitive activities in wholesale and retail markets for internet services.” Specifically, TekSavvy argues that the telecom giants are abusing their dominant positions in Ontario and Quebec by driving up competitors’ costs, while targeting those same competitors in retail markets with competing brand offerings priced below those competitors’ wholesale costs. TekSavvy, which requires wholesale access to Bell and Rogers’ wireline facilities, cites CRTC data determining that both companies deviated from wholesale rate-setting rules 56 times between 2016 and 2019, resulting in a commission decision last year to set adjusted rates between three and 77% lower. Bell and Rogers, along with TELUS, Videotron, Shaw, Cogeco and Eastlink have since obtained a temporary stay of that decision.

TekSavvy Solutions is partnering with Ericsson to upgrade and expand its existing rural Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network using Ericsson Radio System and Cloud Core network technology. The partnership, the first between Ericsson and TekSavvy, will provide several rural communities within the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, as well as Elgin, Lambton and Middlesex counties with broadband solutions leveraging Ericsson’s products and services. The wireless investments promise to improve rural broadband to more than 30,000 addresses in Southwestern Ontario, with the modernization expected to be completed in the first half of 2020.

TELUS has invested more than $1 million to build a new cellular site along Highway 16 between Prince Rupert and Terrace, BC, bringing wireless connectivity to more than 20 kilometres of the highway. The new site is located approximately 60 kilometres west of Terrace, and brings coverage to an area that was previously one of the longest stretches of Highway 16 without any cell service. The investment is part of a TELUS commitment to invest $4.7 billion throughout British Columbia between 2017 and 2020

CBC/Radio-Canada and Germany’s ZDF announced a partnership at Berlinale 2020 that strengthens collaboration between the two public broadcasters. Catherine Tait, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada, and Thomas Bellut, Director General of ZDF, ratified a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the presence of Stéphane Dion, Canada’s Ambassador to Germany. Highlights of the agreement include co-developing content for linear, on-demand and digital platforms in the areas of scripted, factual entertainment, live events and documentary; and collaborating to improve tracking and verification of the accuracy of the news. CBC/Radio-Canada and ZDF/ARTE are currently co-producing four-part documentary Writing the Land, in which Canadian writers, poets and storytellers challenge the narrative of an inclusive Canada. Tait signed similar agreements with Australia’s ABC and BBC in the UK last summer.  

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) has bestowed its Code of Silence Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy on the Town of Erin, ON. The award is presented annually by the CAJ, Centre for Free Expression at Ryerson University (CFE), News Media Canada and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) to call public attention to government departments and agencies that put extra effort into denying public access to government information to which the public has a right under access to information legislation. Five other municipalities received honourable mentions in the category: Cranbrook, BC, Morinville, AB., North Bay, ON., Cornwall, ON., and Côte-Saint-Luc, Que. The Code of Silence Award recipients in the Federal, Provincial, and Law Enforcement categories will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Deborah Ensor, Melissa Stasiuk, Evelyn Kwong, Shari Grayon, and moderator Supriya Dwivedi

The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) is marking International Women’s Day with a Mar. 5 J-Talk in Toronto exploring strategies to boost gender representation in news stories. Globally, women as sources and subjects account for 24% of those quoted in news stories, according to the Global Media Monitoring Project, while in Canada, female representation is 29%, according to Informed Opinions. The Time is Now: Amplifying Women’s Voices in Media will explore the outcomes and ongoing challenges of the Reflect Reality initiative, a global project to increase the voices of women in news and offer resources for journalists and business professionals. Speakers will include Deborah Ensor, Canadian project lead and SVP at Internews, an international non-profit that supports quality journalism in under-served markets; Melissa Stasiuk, head of programming with The Globe and Mail, and a project participant; Evelyn Kwong, social media and audience lead with the Toronto Star, and member of a newsroom committee launched as a result of the project; and Shari Graydon, founder of Informed Opinions, a leader in helping bridge the gender gap in Canadian media.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) is inviting applications for its annual AMI Robert Pearson Memorial Scholarship. This year marks the ninth anniversary of the scholarship program providing financial assistance to students with a disability. Two $5,000 bursaries will be awarded to two deserving students with a permanent disability; one from the English community and one from the French. The deadline for applications is Friday, May 8. Find information and eligibility requirements here.

Eric Blais
Eric Blais

FEATURE: In Eric Blais’ latest Rethinking Media column, he explores fear, the politics of innovation, and transition. Read more here.


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