News tagged: TekSavvy Cable
Canada last week launched hearings on the possibility
of imposing new rules on the TV sector that could force TV operators to offer a la carte television options. While these rule-making efforts began as a way to do something about soaring TV rates and the lack of flexible purchase options for consumers, they've since morphed into an effort by incumbent Canadian cable operators to impose new regulations on to companies like Google and Netflix (something Canadian law Professor Michael Geist doesn't think will happen
As for forcing cable companies and broadcasters to unbundle and offer a la carte, the hearings were packed with the same sort of excuses we're quite used to
here in the States. Rogers went so far as to state that US channels would leave Canada if such rules were implemented
Rogers executives said they were afraid that if the CRTC required cable companies to allow customers to choose and pay for only the channels they want, American networks like AMC and A&E would pull out of Canadian cable completely. Rogers pointed out they now have the option to sell their programs to an online video provider like Netflix Inc. or create their own online services instead.
Except the hope is that rules that would require more flexbile cable bundles would help cable operators better compete with Netflix. As an aside note, Canadian independent ISP TekSavvy stated they hope to get into the new TV market
in a freshly-announced partnership with Hastings CableVision.
You might recall that Voltage Pictures has been one of the bigger copyright trolls in the United States, sending out mass "settlement-o-matic" letters to people who download their films (including The Hurt Locker
and Dallas Buyers Club
) via BitTorrent, threatening them with legal action unless they settle up. Last in 2012 Voltage took their show on the road to Canada, taking aim at independent ISP TekSavvy
in the hopes of forcing the ISP to turn over the identities of 2,000 BitTorrent users.
Over the weekend Canadian Judge Kevin Aalto ruled that TekSavvy had to turn over those names, but Aalto added some caveats to his ruling that won't make things easy on the copyright troll
Aalto ordered that before Voltage can send a letter to the alleged downloaders, it must return to court to get the wording of its communications cleared by a case management judge..."Any correspondence sent by Voltage to any subscriber shall clearly state in bold type that no court has yet made a determination that such subscriber has infringed or is liable in any way for payment of damages."
Aalto also declared that Voltage has to pay TekSavvy's legal bills entirely before any data will change hands, and the data can only be used specifically for the letters. Meanwhile, Canadian law professor Michael Geist explains in a blog post
how pursuing their copyright troll ambitions in Canada may not be worth the cost of the effort for Voltage.
Documents provided by Edward Snowden last week revealed that the Canadian government (CSEC, their NSA equivalent) has been quite illegally spying on and tracking Canadian citizens
using public Wi-Fi available at Canadian airports to track movement both before and after citizens visited the airport. The specifics of how the government obtained the location data isn't made clear, but Canada's two largest airports, Toronto and Vancouver, deny providing CSEC with the data.
Last month independent Canadian ISP TekSavvy all-but accused Rogers Communications of intentionally bumbling customer install and repair orders
, creating a massive backlog of issues in order to help drive their competitors out of business. When I spoke to Rogers the company denied blame
, instead blaming TekSavvy for missing necessary support forecasts and somehow "overwhelming" Rogers third party support resources.
As I noted last week
, indie Canadian ISP TekSavvy has been struggling with prolonged disconnections for many of their users, something the company says is because of changes at Canadian incumbent Rogers. To hear TekSavvy tell it, the company suddenly and inexplicably found their install and repair trouble tickets being ignored by Rogers; months of this contributing to a backlog of support issues that have caused massive headaches for the company and customers alike.
Indie Canadian ISP TekSavvy
isn't having a very good summer, and it appears Canadian incumbent Rogers is to thank for much of it. You'll probably recall that over the last few years independent Canadian ISP has built quite a name for itself for being a more consumer-friendly sort of ISP.
If you've watched any of them do business for more than a few minutes, it has been amusing to watch Canadian incumbents Bell, Telus and Rogers kick, scream and cry about Verizon's possible entry into the Canadian market
. Their Fair for Canada
TV and radio campaign has employees reading scripted statements proclaiming that Verizon will steal Canadian jobs and generally make Canadian wireless service (already some of the most expensive anywhere) worse.
Canadian incumbents Telus, Bell and Rogers have recently fired up attack campaigns
attempting to keep Verizon Wireless from entering their market. The campaign
uses incumbent employees reading from scripts to insist that Canadian telcos simply want a "level playing field" and that Verizon will kill jobs.
As we've noted repeatedly, ISPs are so hungry to cash in on caps and overages, they're rushing toward implementing meters without making sure they work. Canadian cable operator Cogeco has been the absolute worst on this front, implementing metered usage charges back in 2009 -- and four years later still often struggling to measure usage correctly. story continues..
Back in May our users uncovered a Canadian scam being run by several individuals who were pretending to be entirely fake ISPs
in order to collect customer cash and private user information. Using ISP names like "Cable Gator" and "Go Cable Solutions," the scammers promise users broadband service they can't get, demand $100 down payments and personal data including SIN and driver's license numbers, then skirt off with the cash.
It has been incredibly amusing to watch Canadian incumbents Bell, Telus and Rogers, no strangers to abusive and predatory anti-competitive behavior at every opportunity, kick, scream and cry about Verizon's possible entry into the Canadian market
. Now that the predators are having to fight a real predator and the possibility of real competition, they're doing what any good, anti-competitive incumbent would do: engage in propaganda, disinformation and astroturfing to confuse the public.
As we noted yesterday
, Verizon Wireless is putting out feelers and exploring the option of an expansion into Canada, specifically in the form of buying up one of the nation's struggling smaller carriers. Not too surprisingly, incumbent operators there don't want this to happen.
Fear that Canadian regulators were going to do their job has resulted in a welcome -- though likely brief -- return to unlimited broadband in Canada. Our friends to the north are well-known for some of the most predatory and punitive broadband caps and overages anywhere, courtesy of uncompetitive broadband markets and regulatory capture. story continues..
As we recently noted
, Voltage Pictures is trying to get TekSavvy to hand over the identities of thousands of BitTorrent users in order to send them "copyright-violation-o-matic" letters scaring those users into settling for copyright infringement. These mass-lawsuit efforts have stood on legally unsound ground here in the States, relying on often unreliable IP address evidence.
Copyright troll Voltage Picture's attempt to extort money out of Canadian Teksavvy customers will have to wait a little longer. As we recently noted
, Voltage Pictures is trying to get TekSavvy to hand over the identities of thousands of BitTorrent users in order to send them "copyright-violation-o-matic" letters scaring those users into settling for copyright infringement of Voltage films.
Last week we noted
how the copyright troll efforts of Voltage Pictures have made their way north of the border, the studio's legal team demanding the names and addresses of more than 2,000 TekSavvy users as part of a mass shakedown effort. As in the States, Voltage is one of several copyright trolls tracking BitTorrent activity then sending legal threats to users and ISPs.
The law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver (aka the U.S. Copyright Group) has perfected the "copyright-o-matic
" approach to P2P lawsuits, sending out letters en masse to users they've identified as having traded copyrighted files, threatening to sue those users unless they settle for the rock-bottom initial price tag of $1,500.
Last month we noted how French ISP Iliad was shaking up the French wireless market
with some creative pricing, which included an introductory basic free tier of service (an idea that's taking root in the States now
). With the offering clearly popular among users tired of paying an arm and a leg to France's uncompetitive incumbents, France Telecom is now claiming the new service is straining their network
, so they'll of course have to renegotiate the deal they made with Free (read: raise rates so Free's business model becomes untenable):
France Telecom said its network was being stressed by a rapid growth in traffic brought on by its hosting of new mobile entrant Iliad and vowed to protect its clients from service interruptions, its CEO told magazine Le Point...Iliad's Free Mobile service upended the French telecom market in January when it launched its main offer at 19.99 euros per month for unlimited calls to France and most of Europe and the United States, unlimited texts, and 3 gigabytes of mobile data.
This is the same France Telecom that absolutely refused to compete on price
when Free entered the market, claiming their competitive pricing would be "bad for network quality and innovation." According to the incumbent CEO, they didn't need to compete on price because "we offer security, reliability and innovation." Just not on pricing. France Telecom negotiated a contract and did their homework, but with Free succeeding more than they expected -- it's time to change the terms and raise rates.
Whether it's AT&T claiming congestion to justify DSL caps and $10 wireless overages
, or Canadian ISPs claiming congestion to justify predatory usage-based pricing
, you do start to notice a trend wherein congestion is used by incumbents as a bogeyman to justify everything from massive overages to anti-competitive behavior. The best part about the congestion bogeyman
is that telcos never have to provide actual data evidence of congestion -- and the press never bothers to ask for any.
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