The Canadian Debate Production Partnership (CDPP), the official producer of the federal leaders’ debates, has announced that the French and English leaders’ debates will take place the second week in October. CDPP partners include CBC News, Radio-Canada, Global News, CTV News, Toronto Star and Torstar chain, HuffPost Canada, La Presse, Le Devoir, and L’Actualité. OMNI Television is also part of the CDPP and will broadcast live, third-language coverage of the debates in Cantonese, Italian, Mandarin, and Punjabi.
The CRTC says the new 36-month device financing plans in the wireless service marketplace may not be compliant with the Wireless Code since customers may have to pay fees to switch service providers, even after 24 months. The commission has asked all wireless service providers to stop offering device financing plans on terms longer than 24 months until it completes a full review of the practice. The CRTC will publish a Notice of Consultation to examine the issue in greater detail and determine what regulatory action should be taken if the plans are found to be non-compliant.
The CRTC has ordered wireless providers to disclose confidential information so the Commission of Competition can undertake a market analysis as part of a review of mobile wireless services, but will exclude network sharing agreements. Bell Mobility, SSi Micro Ltd., and TELUS had objected to the disclosure of certain confidential responses arguing that information regarding unused spectrum, information or agreements related to network sharing, and capital expenditures were not relevant to the Commissioner’s studies. Bell Mobility, in particular, also argued that forecasted information was not relevant. Bell Mobility, Rogers, Telus, and Videotron voiced additional concerns over disclosure of their network sharing agreements.
The Competition Bureau’s study of competition and consumer habits in Canada’s high-speed Internet industry finds that a growing number of Canadian households are choosing an independent provider for their high-speed internet. The result of a year-long market study, undertaken to evaluate the state of competition in Canada’s broadband industry, 2,005 households were surveyed from May 2018 to June 2019. Among the Bureau’s key findings, 90% report being generally satisfied with their current home internet provider, while customers of independent providers are more likely to be very satisfied; one in three households that considered switching providers in the past two years actually made a switch; and 66% of households bundle their internet with at least one other service, but just 17% of those bundles include wireless phone services. The report also found that in areas of the country where wholesale-based competitors have focused their marketing efforts, they served approximately one in every six households at the end of 2018. That translates into more than 1,000,000 Canadian households that are now served by a wholesale competitor. Read more here.
The CRTC has unveiled its Internet Code for internet service providers, aimed at better safeguarding Canadians against the shady practices of big telecom. While introducing measures like more frequent usage warnings and an extended cancellation period, some public interest groups say the code doesn’t go far enough after a flawed process that saw most telecom researchers and consumer advocacy organizations boycott the proceeding.
On the latest episode of Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast – John Lawford, executive director and general counsel for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), who says in the current climate it’s increasingly difficult for groups like PIAC to represent the consumer.
BCE Inc. reported overall profit for Q2 2019 was up 8.2% to $817 million with net earnings attributable to shareholders up 8.1% to $761M or $0.85 per common share. The company credited in part, strong subscriber results at Bell flanker wireless brand Lucky Mobile, reporting 185,667 total wireless, retail internet and IPTV net customer additions. The Media division also posted record broadcast numbers for the Toronto Raptors’ NBA final run as well as the finales of Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory. Media revenue was up 6.4% and 23.9% higher adjusted EBITDA. Free cash flow grew 10.0% to $1.09M.
TVA Group is reporting operating revenues of $146.0 million for Q2 2019, a year-over-year increase of $5.8 million. The quarterly net loss attributable to shareholders was $6.2 million or $0.14 per share, compared with a net loss attributable to shareholders of $9.6 million or $0.22 per share in the same quarter of 2018. There was a significant decrease in the Broadcasting segment’s negative adjusted EBITDA with TVA saying that ongoing integration of the Évasion and Zeste channels into the segment having a positive effect on specialty channel business. TVA says even though the Montreal Canadiens failed to advance to the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, TVA Sports registered a slight increase in market share and higher ad revenues than in the same quarter of 2018. TVA Group’s television market share increased 0.3 points to 40.5%. The Film Production & Audiovisual Services segment’s quarterly numbers were down year over year by $675,000. TVA says its soundstage and equipment rental business is suffering from the fact that Quebec’s tax credits are less generous than those of other provinces.
Rogers’ flanker brand Fido has announced that it’s eliminating data overage fees. Data Overage Protection is included in new Fido Data, Talk and Text plans, as of Wednesday. Customers will receive an SMS notification when they reach 90% of their limit and another at 100% when their data is paused. If customers want more data, they can buy 1GB for $15 right from their smartphone. The new plans build on other features Fido has introduced like 5 Extra Hours of Data, giving customers access to one free hour of data, five times a month.
Connect to Innovate funding of $6.9 million has been announced for Valley Fiber Limited and $794,000 for High Speed Crow to bring new or improved high-speed internet access and capacity to 16 communities in rural Manitoba. In addition to the Government of Canada investment, Valley Fiber is contributing $2.3 million and High Speed Crow $264,640, bringing the total investment to just over $10 million. The funding covers the communities of Aubigny, Brunkild, Bristol, Friedensfeld, Greenland, Homewood, La Salle, Mctavish, New Bothwell, Otterburne, Sanford, Silver Plains, Saint Malo, Ste. Agathe, Sperling and Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.
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