Carriers Bell and Telus are asking the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to dismiss a “frivolous” complaint about Bell’s CraveTV from customer advocacy groups.
The groups who made the complaint – the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Consumers’ Association of Canada – object to CraveTV only making subscriptions available to users of Bell, Telus, Aliant and Eastlink. A similar complaint was filed regarding Shomi, a video streaming service offered as a joint venture between Rogers Communications and Shaw. These services differ from Netflix, Canada’s most popular subscription-based streaming platform, which allows anyone to purchase its service.
The advocacy groups claim CraveTV does not follow rules laid out by the CRTC concerning competition and consumer choice, and that the video services offered by three of Canada’s biggest telecommunications companies “unduly prefer” their own customers . Bell Media and Telus Corp. filed procedural requests stating the CRTC would be reaching beyond its jurisdiction to rule on digital media.
Telus commented on the complaint, saying the advocacy groups “fail to address how CraveTV is any different from the many conventional, specialty and pay services which also make their content available on-demand and on multiple platforms to authenticated subscribers of their linear services.”
The telecommunication companies in question are required to file official responses to these complaints by March 12. Bell has asked the CRTC for an extension should the issue not be dismissed.