CRTC Kills Bell Astral Acquisition to Protect Consumers
Who are You and What Have You Done With the CRTC?
by Karl Bode 08:19AM Tuesday Oct 23 2012 Tipped by En Enfer
Several users in our Canadian forums have nudged us to note that Canadian regulators have stunned everyone by blocking Bell's attempted acquisition of Canadian media company Astral. According to the CRTC, the $3 billion takeover of the company (think Comcast's acquisition of NBC as a much larger but similar venture), would have resulted in much higher prices for Canadian consumers.
In a sharp turn from recent incumbent-friendly policies, new CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais insisted Bell failed to sell him on the deal, which would have given Bell 45% of English and 35% of all French viewership in Canada:
quote:"My intention is to put Canadians back at the centre of their communications system,” chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said following the ruling, adding the only way it could have protected consumers would have been to bring in “extensive and intrusive safeguards” that would have affected the entire industry. "BCE failed to persuade us that the deal would benefit Canadians."
Bell is already pushing back against the ruling, trying to get the government to step in and overrule the CRTC's decision -- though that effort appears to be going nowhere. The shift is an important one given that the CRTC had taken to following on the heels of regulators in the United States: namely very timid politicians beholden primarily to the interests of incumbents while paying empty lip service to consumers. This decision appears to have shocked everyone in Canada, most of whom were expecting more of the same.
Is this a one trick pony? Or will the CRTC make more decisions like this?
2012-Oct-23 10:10 am: ·
resa1983 Premium join:2008-03-10 North York, ON kudos:10
Before denying the Bell/Astral merger, they revoked a radio license for not conforming to its mandate (pre-recorded tourism info only as its near the border), and then when Rogers applied to pick up this license, denied it outright. -- Battle.net Tech Support MVP
2012-Oct-23 10:44 am: ·
Gone Premium join:2011-01-24 Fort Erie, ON kudos:4
They revoked another radio license for non-compliance earlier this week, too.
And they just released a decision that will force incumbent ISPs to release a ton more costing information when they submit cost studies for wholesale tariffs...
This is just... bizarro world. The CRTC is releasing decision after decision that is in the best interests of the Canadian public rather than the multi-billion dollar corporation, but at the same time I can't keep help but feeling that any second now the CRTC will rip off a mask revealing an evil monster and cackle menacingly... The about-face change from "regulatory capture" to "consumer advocate" is just so sudden and dramatic...
I'm eagerly awaiting when the CRTC will have a chance to rule on something that has immediate impact on consumers... Something like the wholesale tariffs for internet. The CRTC previously denied wholesale access to fiber-to-the-home service from incumbents. If the CRTC were to force this open to competition, and/or update UBB rates to be more reasonable, I think that would convince me they really have changed. -- Developer: Tomato/MLPPP, Linux/MLPPP, etc »fixppp.org
2012-Oct-26 2:08 pm: ·
HiVolt Premium join:2000-12-28 Toronto, ON kudos:20
I believe TLC is an "approved" American service rather than a licensed Canadian channel, therefore the CRTC has no real control. I believe there was even a landmark case 15-20 years ago or so when The Nashville Network turned into TNN turned into Spike and the Americans won.
2012-Oct-26 2:25 pm: ·
HiVolt Premium join:2000-12-28 Toronto, ON kudos:20
Heh, change the freakin channel name at least, my god...
And why do I say that? Look at the percentages in the story, 45% of the English speaking viewership and 35% of the French viewership and the control of numerous specialty channels to give them a hammerlock in negotiations with other BDU's (IE: Rogers, Shaw, Telus) for carriage fees for these channels that would have raised prices for all consumers with ero benefits to them.
2012-Oct-23 10:42 am: ·
El Quintron Resident Mouth Breather Premium join:2008-04-28 Etobicoke, ON kudos:4
Re: Obvious decision by CRTC
You nailed it, this had no benefits to the consumer whatsoever. -- Support Bacteria -- It's the Only Culture Some People Have
When you have people that are allowed to work in and become a part of the very industry they are to regulate, you will NEVER have good protections for the consumer as their future and the future of the companies they one day will be working for is more important.
2012-Oct-23 1:12 pm: ·
elwoodblues Elwood Blues Premium join:2006-08-30 Somewhere in kudos:1
You nailed it, this had no benefits to the consumer whatsoever.
But but but.. they were going to create a netlfix like app, and work Circus de Soliel and and consumers wanted it.... -- No, I didn't. Honest... I ran out of gas. I... I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake.......