Canadians challenge streaming service tied selling
February 9, 2015
By Colin Mann
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC, together PIAC-CAC) have filed two applications with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the CRTC), challenging the tied selling of two online streaming services linked to the consumption of other telecommunications or broadcasting services.
In one application, PIAC-CAC have challenged whether Rogers and Shaw, through their Shomi Partnership joint venture, can lawfully tie access to their Shomi streaming service to consumption of a Rogers or Shaw internet access or TV subscription.
In the other application, PIAC-CAC have challenged whether Bell can restrict access to its CraveTV streaming service to those Canadians who have a TV subscription.
“The tied selling of streaming services, designed to favour legacy business models and to discriminate against customers who wish to only view programming through an internet service provider of their choice, is something PIAC-CAC believe cannot be supported in the current rules, nor by Canada’s broadcasting policy objectives,” said Geoffrey White, counsel to PIAC-CAC.
“We are hoping to preserve an open Internet, and have the CRTC tell large telecom and broadcasting conglomerates that they should not be allowed to abuse regulatory distinctions at the expense of Canadians,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel for PIAC.