Canada Bell's Discounting of Mobile TV Against the Rules, Complaint Claims reports that exempting own content from data caps gives telcos advantage over Netflix, YouTube and other content providers.

Large telecommunications companies like Bell and Rogers that own much of the content we consume and almost all of the networks we use to consume it are shaping the way Canadians use the internet to give themselves an unfair advantage in the growing marketplace of video streaming, a complaint to the CRTC suggests.

The complaint, filed Nov. 22 with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission by University of Manitoba graduate student Benjamin Klass, centres on Bell Mobility’s Mobile TV service.

For $5 a month, smartphone or tablet users who purchase the Mobile TV app, can watch 10 hours of video (equivalent to about 5 GB, according to Bell’s estimates) from more than 40 Bell-owned or -licensed television channels without affecting the monthly data cap that usually applies when users access content online.

Twelve of the 43 channels available on Mobile TV — including CTV, TSN and The Movie Network — are owned by Bell Media, a subsidiary, like Bell Mobility, of the media behemoth BCE, which recently expanded its television holdings through its acquisition of Astral Media.​

Treating Bell content differently than content from other sources is just another form of traffic shaping, the complaint alleges, and violates CRTC regulations that require internet service providers to treat all internet traffic equally, including over mobile networks. It also violates the Telecommunications Act, which prohibits carriers from giving their own services “undue preference,” the complaint claims.


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