CRTC, Telecom & Media News – CRTC delays mobile wireless review hearing

The CRTC has delayed its mobile wireless review public hearing until Feb. 18. The Commissioner of Competition has requested more time to complete an economic study on the industry and follow up with certain carriers. Most of the carriers also requested an additional reply phase to respond to the Commissioner’s findings. Replies in that phase must now be filed prior to Jan. 13.

The CRTC has determined that businesses like coffee shops and other organizations offering free wifi on their premises will not have to register with the commission. The decision stems from the regulator’s consultation around resellers, determining that services offered without explicit charge or on a temporary basis to those only on the reseller’s premises are exempt.

The Federal Court of Appeal has declined to hear Vidéotron’s appeal that if successful would have exempt the cable provider from certain licence conditions requiring it to participate in the incoming national set-top box-based audience measurement system. Videotron argued that the CRTC was overstepping its authority by requiring it to provide audience data to a third party. That data will now have to be submitted by Jan. 15, 2020.

Shaw Q4 2019 earnings for the quarter ended Aug. 31, show consolidated revenue increases of 1.9% to $1.35 billion, while operating income before restructuring costs and amortization was down 3.4% year-over-year to $537 million. Fiscal 2019 consolidated revenue increased by 3.0% to $5.35 billion and operating income before restructuring costs and amortization by 5.1% year-over-year to $2.16 billion. Shaw says adjusting for $15 million to address certain intellectual property (IP) licensing matters in the third quarter and a $10 million charge related to CRTC regulatory matters in the fourth quarter, consolidated operating income before restructuring costs and amortization decreased 1.6% in the quarter and increased 6.3% for the full year. In Q4, Freedom Mobile added a record 90,700 new customers with subscriber momentum attributed to the brand’s Big Gig data plans and newly-launched Big Gig Unlimited and Absolute Zero campaigns. In the Wireline segment, approximately 35,000 internet customers were added in Fiscal 2019, including 11,400 net additions in the fourth quarter.

Start.ca is the latest small internet provider to announce that the CRTC’s move to lower wholesale rates will result in lower prices and increased speeds for its customers. The London, ON-based ISP and home phone provider says the changes will affect over 14,000 existing customers, who will now see either a bill reduction or a free speed increase next month. The changes will happen automatically with no action required from customers.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) is looking to recruit younger adjudicators. Sylvie Courtemanche, chair of the CBSC, says particularly when it comes to adjudicating listener complaints around hip hop and urban music, a younger perspective is needed. Courtemanche says half of the complaints the CBSC now receives are around news, balance and fairness. Specifically, the council is asking radio and TV stations in small and medium markets to propose people with news experience who can adjudicate without the perception of bias. Read more here.

The Ontario Association of Broadcasters (OAB) has announced that Anita Boyle-Evans, General Manager of Numeris, will share its plans for a new Audio diary service, along with an update on Audio PPM. Jeff Vidler of Audience Insights Inc. will moderate a Q&A to follow. CONNECTION 2019 will be held on Thursday, Nov. 7 at the Marriott Toronto Airport Hotel. To register click here.


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