|From J. Goss + Art|
Consumer groups opposed to the takeover are working hard. The stopthetakeover.ca campaign is gaining momentum. J. Goss + Associates is providing communications services to a number of opponents of BCE's $3.4 billion takeover of Astral Media.
Aitken's 'national champions' stand sparks retort from Manley
Barrie Mckenna, The Globe and Mail, Sept. 22
"Outgoing competition watchdog Melanie Aitken's warning against coddling national corporate champions is sparking a lively debate about the sometimes troublesome balance between competition and regulation in Canada. Former industry minister and deputy prime minister John Manley, who now speaks for many of Canada's largest firms, countered that the country desperately needs flagship companies such as BCE Inc. and Bombardier Inc," the Globe and Mail reported.
National Post, On the eve of Citytv’s 40th birthday
Forty years on from the advent of Citytv, a free-wheeling, cash-strapped television network launched by Moses Znaimer on Toronto’s east side, the Canadian telecom industry is at war. Bell Canada, Shaw Media and Rogers Telecommunications, one of the city’s largest employers, effectively program everything Torontonians see on TV. National Post, Ben Kaplan, Sep 22, 2012
Toronto Star, Proposed Bell takeover of Astral Media threatens the cultural survival of Francophone Quebecers
Quebec revels in few things more than when its artists rise to the top. Think Celine Dion. Think Cirque du Soleil. Think way back even to Mitsou. They are the cream-of-the-crop from a tiny French-speaking society that continues climbing within the seemingly bottomless pitcher that is the world. Toronto Star, Allan Woods, September 21, 2012
Critics blame Yukon phone outage on aging infrastructure
CBC News reported: Yukon’s massive communications shutdown Thursday has some thinking it's time to upgrade the territory's aging telecommunications infrastructure. Andrew Robulack, an IT analyst and blogger in Whitehorse, said the latest outage is disappointing but not surprising. (Robulack said) "We have a really strong dependency on a really weak infrastructure — single provider in most cases, single network links in or out of our region — and as the CRTC pointed out recently, the equipment is aging.” CBC News, Sep 21, 2012.
CBC request to accept its letter commenting on proposed changes to BCE’s tangible benefits package
This is to inform the CBC and parties to the proceeding that the Commission intends to reserve its decision on the CBC’s request until it issues its decision on the merits of BCE’s application with respect to Item 1. Nonetheless, CBC’s correspondence will be placed on the public record to allow parties to address the CBC’s comments regarding BCE’s proposed changes to its tangible benefits package in their final comments and final reply. Parties are also advised that their comments addressing the CBC’s letter will not be considered in the Commission’s decision should the Commission deny the CBC’s request.
Globe and Mail, Jeff Gray, The Competition Bureau’s big shoes to fill
For three years Bay Street has faced aggressive enforcement and consumer-pleasing crusades from Competition Commissioner Melanie Aitken as she took on the likes of the real estate and credit card industries. Now, senior competition lawyers are expecting a more “balanced approach” from Ms. Aitken’s yet-to-be-named successor. Ms. Aitken addresses the Canadian Bar Association’s annual competition law conference in Gatineau, Que., on Thursday for the last time as head of the Competition Bureau, the second last day of her tenure. She announced her surprise decision to step aside in June, two years before her term ends. Globe and Mail, Sep. 19 2012
Bell Canada, An alternative to the cable giants
"Astral joining with Bell enables us to do just that. We’ve announced multiple benefits that will flow from the transaction, including a new made-in-Canada service to compete with Netflix, Apple and Google; a four-year commitment to keeping all local conventional news stations open; $127-million in new French-language TV content and a new national French-language news channel; and more than $60-million in new funding for TV content creation and radio innovation, among other planned initiatives.
Mirko Bibic, Special to Financial Post, Sep 18, 2012 7:41 PM ET
MTS Allstream, Say 'yes' to competition
Competition in the marketplace is fundamental to this transformation. Competition delivers choice and innovation to Canadians and Canadian businesses, and is the driver of opportunity and productivity. Competition has also been the quid pro quo for the deregulation of the largest players in the digital economy.
Chris Peirce, Financial Post, Sept. 19, 2012
The Gazette, Nadir Mohamed wants every Canadian to have access to its content
Bell’s critics have warned that consumer and TV service providers could be bludgeoned into buying content they don’t want — a claim that Bell has denied. Mohamed said that Rogers’ own philosophy regarding its media properties is to leverage its content and give “every single Canadian access” to it. Anything that smacks of being “exclusive or restrictive” is out of step with today’s reality, he argued. “These are rules that belong to a world that doesn’t exist.” He’s hoping the regulator’s decision will be “consumer friendly” and that “open access” will be enshrined. The Gazette, Peter Hadekel, Sept. 17, 2012.
Agence QMI, Rogers est intéressé aux actifs d'Astral
Si le Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes (CRTC) demande à Bell de se départir de certaines chaînes d'Astral Media au moment de l’acquisition, Rogers Communications s'y intéressera de près. Le patron de Rogers, Nadir Mohamed, l'a indiqué lundi après-midi en marge d'une allocution prononcée devant le Cercle canadien de Montréal. Il a cependant refusé de spéculer sur les propriétés d'Astral Media qui pourraient intéresser Rogers. Agence QMI, Carl Renaud, le 17 septembre 2012
Roseman: Competition Bureau takes $31 million shot at mobile carriers
"John Lawford, executive director of PIAC, said the Competition Bureau had to take action against misrepresentation when the industry controls were clearly not working. The bureau sent a clear signal that premium text messaging is a major consumer problem that should be treated seriously by the wireless industry, he said. The CRTC, Canada’s telecom regulator, refused to engage with the issue and simply referred customers to a new telecom complaints agency it set up. This wasn’t enough to stop systemic abuses. “Telecom companies provide the infrastructure on which these things ride,” he said. “They can cut off your service if you don’t pay the charges.” Ellen Roseman wrote for the Toronto Star on Sept. 15.