Broadcasting Commission Letter addressed to Ms. Peggy Tabet (Québecor Media Inc.) and Mr. Kevin Goldstein (Bell Media Inc.)

Ottawa, 6 September 2019 

BY E-MAIL

Ms. Peggy Tabet
Vice President
Broadcasting, Regulatory Affairs
Québecor Media Inc.
tabet.peggy@quebecor.com

and

Mr. Kevin Goldstein
Vice President
Regulatory Affairs, Content and Distribution
Bell Media Inc.
kevin.goldstein@bellmedia.ca

RE: Packaging rules and complaint in undue preference Vidéotron v Bell - Alt Télé and Super Écran - Application No: 2019-0462-3

Ms. Tabet and Mr. Goldstein:

Please provide the following additional and/or explanatory information related to the dispute between Québecor Media Inc. (Québecor), on behalf of Vidéotron Ltd, and Bell Media Inc. (Bell), regarding the inclusion of Super Écran in the Alt TV package.

Québecor

  1. Subscription trends — Please refer to paragraphs 34 and 35 of your letter of application dated 14 June 2019 and clarify by 
    • Providing subscriber numbers; and
    • Specifying the dates for the quarters mentioned at paragraph 34.
  2. Comparable entities — We note that you do not consider Super Écran and Club illico to be comparable (as mentioned at paragraph 15 of your 1 August 2019). Please indicate if Vidéotron distributes any comparable service(s) to Super Écran.
  3. Regulatory Framework — At paragraph 4 of your reply dated 1 August 2019, Québecor questions Bell TV’s right to operate Alt TV under its terrestrial BDU licence, but accepts that Alt TV can be distributed in this way for the purpose of discussion.
    1. Please indicate under which policy or regulation Alt TV should be operated, specifying applicable sections and justifying your choice.
    2. Should comparable services to Alt TV exist in the Canadian market, identify them and justify.

Bell

  1. Regulatory framework — Bell stated that it is operating Alt TV by virtue of its current BDU licence (Bell TV) but that a consumer can only subscribe to Alt TV if they also subscribe to Fibe Internet, which operates under a different type of authorization.
    1. Please explain how Alt TV is distributed and how subscribers can access it. In the event that your service is accessed outside subscriber residences, please specify the effects on its access and distribution. In your response, be sure to include technical information about networks and how content is distributed by these networks.
    2. Please provide a network diagram that shows how Alt TV works from the reception of the content (i.e. when the content is initially received for distribution by a network) to the delivery to residences of subscribers. If there are differences, please also provide separate network diagrams for cases where your service is accessed from outside subscriber homes. The network diagram(s) must identify the following:
      • The various network components and networks used to deliver Alt TV;
      • The interconnection points with other networks and with the access network
      • The access network technology (e.g. FTTH, cable, DSL, wireless) ;
      • If wireless technology is used, a detailed description of the standard use and the spectrum (licensed or unlicensed)
      • Which part(s) of the network(s) owned, which part(s) are leased and which entity owns it (them) ;
      • Which networks are public networks and which are private.
    3. Please confirm if and how the programming services vary according to the different licensed areas.
    4. If parts of the service are distributed on the Internet or are dependent on the Internet, please explain how they comply with applicable or applicable CRTC policies and regulations.
  2. Rates — As Bell mentioned in its response, it is common for vertically integrated entities to negotiate wholesale rates for the distribution of multiple services and for linear or multiplatform pricing simultaneously. Further, your website presents Alt TV as a multiplatform app.
    1. Please indicate why linear rates for Super Écran should be considered in the context of this dispute.
    2. Further, please confirm what subscriber rates are currently being paid by Quebecor for Super Écran, breaking down the linear and multiplatform rates.
  3. Operating costs — With regards to your report showing Bell TV’s payments to Bell Media for the distribution of Super Écran.
    1. Please confirm whether the rates used in the report are for linear or multiplatform distribution.
    2. In addition to programming costs, please detail the other average costs per subscriber related to the operation of Alt TV.
  4. Best practices - In Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2016-458, the Commission considered that “it would be contrary to the intent of the Policy [Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2015-96] for a larger service provider to take advantage of its competitive position to tie its TV services to the subscription of an additional service such as Internet.” Please explain how requiring a Fibe Internet subscription in order to subscribe to Alt TV, as Bell seems to be doing, is consistent with best practices established by the Commission in Decision 2016-458.

Procedure

Your reply letter and all supporting documents should be added to your application and made available for public examination. Please file this information no later than 13 September 2019 and email a copy to the other party and to
Differends-disputes@crtc.gc.ca.

The Commission requires that your documents be submitted electronically using the secured service My CRTC Account (Partner Log In or GCKey) and be accompanied by the “Broadcasting and Telecom Cover page” located on this web page. Information on the submission of applications to the Commission is available on the following web page: Submitting applications and other documents to the CRTC using My CRTC Account).

Should you require further information concerning this application, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Marie-Claire Bouthillier
Senior Analyst,
Alternative Dispute Resolution in Broadcasting
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
marie-claire.bouthillier@crtc.gc.ca
Tel.: 873-353-1612
Fax: 819-994-0218

c.c.: Regulatory Affairs, Bell Canada, bell.regulatory@bell.ca

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