Archive for CRTC

CRTC Calls Out Netflix [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 19, 2014 by itnerd

If you have nothing to do today, you might want to watch the live CRTC hearing that’s going on today. Netflix is in front of the broadcast regulator today and in an interesting twist, it’s become very heated, passive aggressive & telling. The big hint that this hearing is going sideways is that the CRTC is ordering Netflix to disclose Canadian content numbers and project spending by 5 PM Monday. The CRTC clearly doesn’t want them in Canada which doesn’t come as a shock given that the CRTC is made up of ex-Canadian telco execs. The funny thing is, that Netflix doesn’t have a broadcast license from the CRTC, so I am not sure what they will do if Netflix doesn’t comply. Perhaps someone can clarify that for me.

I’m not sure what Netflix did to deserve this, but If I were Netflix I’d be tempted to shut down the Canadian service today just out of spite. They’re clearly not welcome.

UPDATE: The live stream from the hearing is over. Michael Geist has documented what happened here. In short, the CRTC implicitly threatened to regulate the company by taking away Netflix’s ability to rely on the new media exception if it did not cooperate with its orders. This is a perfect example as to why the CRTC needs to disappear.

CRTC Bans Exclusivity Clauses in Roaming Agreements… Rogers Targeted

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on July 31, 2014 by itnerd

The CRTC actually did something that I will praise them for. They just announced that they are going to ban exclusivity agreements between wireless providers when it comes to wholesale domestic roaming rates. What’s more, Rogers for the most part seems to the recipient of the CRTC’s ire as the CRTC accuses them of doing the following:

  • Imposing exclusivity clauses in roaming agreements that prohibited smaller service providers from using networks from any other carrier.
  • Charging some new Canadian service providers significantly higher roaming rates compared to rates for other wireless service providers.

You have to thing that this isn’t going over well over at Rogers HQ right now.

What’s more, the CRTC will be holding a public hearing will be held on September 29, 2014 to investigate the competitive sate of the wireless market. That should be fun.

Here’s why all of this is important. Domestic roaming rates are going to be a key factor in a mythical fourth wireless carrier entering the market. We’ll have to see if this development actually paves the way for that to happen. I’m personally dubious, but I’m prepared to be proven wrong.

Big Three Under CRTC Investigation Over Roaming Charges

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on December 13, 2013 by itnerd

If you’re a customer of Mobilicity, Public Mobile, or Wind Mobile, you have to deal with roaming. In short, if you leave any of their networks, you have to use one of the networks of the big three carriers. And it costs you big. That got the attention of the CRTC and they’ve decided to investigate what the big three charge for roaming and if it provides an “unfair competitive disadvantage”:

Based on information obtained by the CRTC, some of the large providers are charging, or proposing to charge, their smaller Canadian competitors significantly higher wholesale roaming rates than those charged to U.S.-based wireless companies. Wholesale rates are different from, but can impact, the retail rates companies charge to their customers.

“We are concerned that some wireless companies may be making it unfairly difficult for Canadian providers that do not operate a national network to compete in the marketplace,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. “We have the authority to ensure that companies do not give themselves an unfair competitive advantage. This includes charging wholesale wireless roaming rates that are unjustly discriminatory or by insisting on unduly restrictive terms and conditions. If we find that this is happening in the market, we will act to rectify the situation.”

This is a good thing as I’ve always been concerned that new entrants were always were going to be, for lack of a better description, hosed by the big three as a means of keeping them from being real competition. We’ll see if anything comes of it, but I suspect something might as wireless pricing is a priority of the Canadian Government.

The Big Three Wireless Carriers Say No To CRTC’s Wireless Code Of Conduct

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on July 3, 2013 by itnerd

From the “why am I not surprised” file comes this story from the CBC where it’s being reported that Rogers, Bell, and Telus have decided to challenge the CRTC’s attempt to create a wireless code of conduct for them. This code was to start to take effect later this year, but this challenge delays that to who knows when. Now I’ve previously said this about what the CRTC was trying to do:

Don’t get me wrong. Creating rules, boundaries, and limitations around how cell phone carriers behave is a start. But I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again. What’s needed is competition and competition of the Orange, T-Mobile, or Vodafone sort. If one of those carriers comes into this market and sets up shop, Rogers, Bell and Telus will change how they do business so fast that you’d get whiplash.

I still stand by that. The fact that Verizon is looking at coming into Canada is the way that this problem is going to solved once and for all. The CRTC creating rules for the big three carriers to follow isn’t going to get the job done. Still, it wouldn’t hurt if Canadians who don’t like this sent a e-mail or two towards their local MP to express their displeasure with the way things are with the wireless industry in Canada.


Hey IT Nerd! What Do You Think Of The CRTC Bringing In New Rules For Wireless Companies?

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on June 4, 2013 by itnerd

This clearly is a hot topic as five people asked me this question yesterday. But let me recap. The CRTC yesterday announced new rules for wireless carriers. Now there are good things and bad things about this. Here’s the good:

  • You get to cancel your contract at no cost after a maximum of two years instead of three years.
  • You can get your phone unlocked after 90 days, or immediately if you paid in full for your phone
  • You get the right to receive a notification when you are roaming in a different country, telling you what the rates are for voice services, text messages, and data usage
  • Carriers have to limit your data overage charges to $50 a month and your data roaming charges to $100 a month
  • No extra charges for a service described as “unlimited”
  • Your contact must be easy to understand.

Here’s the bad news. If a carrier breaks those rules, they can expect to pay a fine of $5000 per occurrence. If you find that to be absurdly low amount, you’re right. After all, the three big carriers make hundreds of millions of dollars. A few thousand dollars means nothing. That’s the cost of business for Telus, Bell, and Rogers.

As for increasing competition, the jury is out on that. With the ability to switch carriers after 2 years and the ability to unlock phones, it may make things a bit better. My feeling is that true competition will only come when a deep pocketed foreign carrier sets up shop in Canada and rapidly builds a nationwide infrastructure. That will make wireless service affordable. Having said that, this is a start. But it’s only a start.

Hey IT Nerd! What Do You Think Of The CRTC Hearings Into Canadian Cellphone Carriers?

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on February 11, 2013 by itnerd

For those who are reading this blog from someplace other than Canada, the CRTC is having hearings this week in an attempt to come up with a code of conduct for cell phone carriers in Canada. They feel that this is needed because of the fact that Canadian consumers feel that wireless carriers are taking advantage of Canadians by having long contracts and phones that are locked to a single carrier among other things. The CBC has a good write up on this topic.

So what do I think of these hearings? Not much really. Don’t get me wrong. Creating rules, boundaries, and limitations around how cell phone carriers behave is a start. But I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again. What’s needed is competition and competition of the Orange, T-Mobile, or Vodafone sort. If one of those carriers comes into this market and sets up shop, Rogers, Bell and Telus will change how they do business so fast that you’d get whiplash. None of what the CRTC is holding hearings over would happen if there was real competition. Thus the way to solve the problem is to let some competition in.

Telemarketers To Foot The Bill For Do Not Call Registry

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on May 1, 2012 by itnerd

Frequent readers will recall that a Do Not Call Registry was set up in Canada back in 2008 and Canadians signed up in droves to ensure that their dinners are not interrupted by telemarketers. Yesterday it was announced that the Federal Government is going to make the telemarketers pay for the registry:

The government wants telemarketers, not the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, to shoulder the full cost of the Do Not Call List, explained Alberta MP Mike Lake, parliamentary secretary to Industry Minister Christian Paradis.

“The program is working,” Mr. Lake said in an interview. “We want to make sure that system is sustainable in the long term.”

Mr. Lake would not say what options are on the table for recouping the cost of enforcement and investigating violators, adding that the funding mechanism would be determined in consultation with the industry.

Mr. Lake is right. It is working as the government has slapped those who ignore the registry very hard. Plus I have had little if no contact from telemarketers since I signed up for the service. With this move, it makes sure that this registry has stable funding and maybe give them another incentive to act responsibly.

We’ll see how telemarketers push back on this as I would imagine that they’re not happy campers right now.


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