Archive for crtc

The end of TV as a vehicle for entertainment

Posted in Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

You may recall last week’s post about the CRTC’s decision to deny Shaw the right to air National Geographic Wild in Canada. The CRTC argued that there are already two other Canadian wild-life channels available which might lose viewership to the American National Geographic channel.

Okay, that’s lame, but whatever – that’s how the CRTC rolls.

Fast-foward to this week and we see that The Canadian Press is announcing that Swiss Chalet will be launching a 24-hour roasted chicken channel on Monday.  The channel will be nothing more than 2 rows of chickens roasting on an open flame – much like those fireplace recordings that play at Christmas – and it will run for 13 weeks.

Really.

Now lets consider this for a second…  a third wild-life channel is disallowed because it lacks enough Canadian content.  But a channel with nothing but roasting chickens is completely fine? 

I guess the chickens are were all Canadians?

But hypocracy aside, what really scares me is that a new channel is being created for the purpose of airing nothing more than a single commercial.  Really, that’s all this is.  Swiss Chalet is literally buying 13 weeks of 24 hour airtime on a dedicated channel, just to air a single, chicken-based commercial. With no actual entertainment value at all.

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CRTC has a poor memory, send your complaints again

Posted in Aggravations, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on February 23, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

A few weeks back I sent the CRTC a message telling them what I think of their ruling to allow Bell Canada to force Usage-based Billing on the customers of its competition. Not long after that Tony Clement came out and told the CRTC just what he thought about it too – and they “agreed” to a review.

Well, that review is now.  Just yesterday I recieved this email:

Hello

Thank you for taking the time to contact the CRTC to express your concerns regarding the billing practices of wholesale Internet services. In light of the concerns expressed by Canadians regarding this issue, the Commission has decided to review its own decision.

We therefore invite you to participate in the review by submitting your comments at https://services.crtc.gc.ca/pub/Intervention/Submission-Soumission.aspx?lang=e&EventNo=2011-77&EventType=Notice#Step0. Comments must be received prior to April 29, 2011. Note that all information you provide as part of this public process, including any personal information, becomes part of a publicly accessible file and will be posted on the Commission’s website. We also include links to the CRTC news release http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/com100/2011/r110208.htm as well as Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-77 http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-77.htm for your information.

Yours truly,

Suzanne Papineau
CRTC Client Services

1-877-249-2782 /télécopieur/facsimile 819-994-0218
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes / Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission / Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2
Gouvernement du Canada / Government of Canada

On the surface this seems good – the CRTC appears to be willing to hear what regular Canadians think about the issue. 

But wait a minute… didn’t I already tell them what I think? That is, after all, the whole reason they sent me the email in the first place.

I guess all the complaints that were sent in weeks ago don’t count now, because they were sent before the review processes was started.

So… send in your complaints again!  Don’t let the CRTC ignore your voice just because you were willing to speak up early.  And if you didn’t complain before, make sure you do now!  Before 29 April!

CRTC openly limits competition – that’s what it is for

Posted in Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

There has been a lot of talk lately about the CRTC and it’s decisions – most notably ones concerning the operation of Wind Mobile in Canada and the allowance of Usage-based Bill by Internet Service Providers.

Most of the discussion has focused on the idea that more competition in Canadian industries is better than less competition.  And of course, every high school economic text-book says exactly that. More competition means that companies will have to provide as much value to the consumer as possible, otherwise consumers will just look somewhere else.

Fine. But here is the problem.  The CRTC was not created to foster competition. Really.

Want proof?  Okay!  On Tuesday (16 Feb) the CRTC denied a request by Shaw Communications to add National Geographic Wild to its list of offerings for satellite services in Canada. Unfortunately, that particular channel is considered foreign content. According to Public Notice 2000-173, the CRTC will not allow any non-Canadian content to be distributed if it will compete with pre-existing Canadian content.

That’s right – the CRTC openly denies competition if it appears to come from outside the country.

So what does that mean for Canadians?  It means that we have to watch Animal Planet or Oasis HD, because they are not associated with National Geographic.  Nevermind the fact that National Geographic has become the defacto standard for reporting on wildlife and the greater world around us – reporting that focuses 90% of its effort on content from outside North America.

In the beginning, the reasoning for creating a body to protect Canadian content seemed like a good idea.  People were afraid that we would become too engrossed in American newspaper, magazine, television and radio industries.  Unfortunately, a major consequence was overlooked: stifling competition from the strongest competitor means that our own industry can relax.  And that is not good for Canadians.

So what is the answer?  We definitely don’t want our own industries to fail.  Afterall, they keep a lot of us working.  But clearly denying Canadians from viewing American content is becoming more and more difficult.  I personally gave up television proper many years ago and have since found all of my content online, where it is CRTC free.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t get Canadian content – not at all – it just means that I only get the Canadian content that is up to the standards that I expect.

And this is where the world is going.  I think that – regardless of content rule – the television industry is going to have some hard times ahead as online content becomes easier to find. We need to stop concerning ourselves with where content comes from, and focus on attracting consumers to cable and satellite providers generally.  They’ve already lost me and most of my friends. If the trend continues, we’ll soon have an awful lot of people looking to switch industries.

Public Mobile, I hate you

Posted in Aggravations with tags , , , , , on February 4, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

In 2009, the CRTC ruled that Globalive could not operate in the Canadian wireless industry because it has an Egyptian company as a majority stakeholder. The government, in a rare moment of sanity, overturned the ruling – effectively allowing Globalive to start up a new Wireless company: Wind Mobile.  Since then, roughly 250,000 people have become Wind Mobile customers – myself included.

But today a federal court ruled that the government was wrong to overturn the CRTC decision.  This means that, unless Globalive wins an appeal, 250,000 people will have to look for another wireless provider.

I am not a lawyer, and I am not qualified to speak to the legal issues regarding the court’s ruling.  But I do know one thing: the court doesn’t just make rulings on it’s own – someone has to bring it a complain.  In this case, the issue was brought to the federal court by Public Mobile, a rival in the Wireless market.

Let me be the first to give a nice big sarcastic thank you to Public Mobile!  And let me just say: I promise, no matter how desperate I am for cell phone service, Public Mobile, I will NEVER be one of your customers.

CRTC slapped down again

Posted in Finds, Movies, Music, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

Usage-based billing in the internet industry is bad.  But the fact that an organization created to protect consumers actually tried to require such billing is nothing short of a travesty.  Thankfully, just about every politician in this country – regardless of ideology – seems to be able to see the problem with the CRTC‘s recent ruling.

And late last night Canadian consumers were finally vindicated. In an ironic show of support for the internet, Industry Minister Tony Clement Tweeted about his stance on the issue:

Borrowed from the Vancouver Sun online. Thanks!

Even better, the Vancouver Sun online has quoted a senior government insider who said:

“The CRTC should be under no illusion. The prime minister and the minister of industry will reverse this decision unless the CRTC does it itself.”

Booyah! That’s how representative democracy is supposed to work!

Now if only we can get some changes made in the CRTC itself.  Two major decisions being over-ruled in as many years definitely indicates that the current decision-makers are out of touch with reality Canadians.

Usage-Based Billing is bad for everyone… except Bell, Rogers

Posted in Aggravations, Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2011 by Mitch Leuraner

A recent decision by the CRTC has mandated that ISPs institute usage based billing by 1 March 2011. 

This is bad.  Very bad.

If you don’t understand why, then go to the link above and read Digital Home‘s explanation of the decision – they have it explained at least as well as I could, if not better.

When you are done reading and you are furious – and you will be furious – you are going to want to know what you can do about it.  The truth is, getting something like this turned around is hard.  Government agencies, the CRTC especially, don’t like taking criticism and they really don’t like admitting they were wrong. 

But there are some things you can do, and our friends at Digital Home have a perfect list: 

If Canadians really want to stop UBB, the time is now. Instead of complaining on blogs or signing petitions, do the proper thing. Phone, mail and email your MP. Here is the link which lists all 305 Members of Parliament. Click on your MP and you will find a phone number and an email address. Send them an email to complain and when you’re done, email James Moore, Minister of Heritage Canada ( Moore.J@parl.gc.ca ) , email the Minister of Industry Tony Clement ( minister.industry@ic.gc.ca ) and contact Stephen Harper your prime minister at ( Harper.S@parl.gc.ca ).

When you are done that, goto this link and make a complaint online to the CRTC.


Do it.  If you have doubts about what you should include in your letters, check out Digital Home’s article Usage Based Internet Billing: What can you do? for help – it’s definitely worthwhile.

We can stop this. But not if we just sit by and watch it happen.

UPDATE:

This guy has the right idea – but he needs your support!  Make sure that your MP knows what is going on!

CRTC actually gets something right!

Posted in Aggravations, Thoughts with tags , , , , , on July 13, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

102.1 the Edge and The Dean Blundell Show were vindicated, again, last week – this time by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).  The 8 July ruling found that the 20 March 2009 iteration of the radio morning show,

did not fail to meet the objective of the Act that programming be of a high standard.

This comes after already having been decided as such by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) last February.

The CRTC concluded that,

…there was no violation of established broadcast standards. Rather, response to this program is clearly a matter of taste, one best managed by audiences exercising choice.

Yes! Yes, yes yes! Finally!

I am really not a fan of the CRTC.  Really not. But they got it right this time.

If you do not like what is playing on the radio, turn it off!