Rogers-Videotron Battle Could Decide Future Of Streaming

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Rogers-Videotron Battle Could Decide Future Of Streaming

Postby Marsbar » Wed Oct 21, 2015 2:04 pm

CP | By David Friend, The Canadian Press

TORONTO — The way you listen to music on your smartphone is becoming a prickly issue with some of the country's wireless carriers.

Rogers Communications filed a complaint with the CRTC this week over Videotron's Unlimited Music offering, which allows certain customers to stream audio on the go without it counting towards their mobile data plan.

But Rogers says the service clashes with rules set by the regulator which prohibit telecoms from favouring customers when it comes to the transmission of wireless data.

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Launched in August, Unlimited Music eliminates a common complaint from music fans who say that frequent audio streaming can max out their data plans and ultimately cost them extra money.

There are a few stipulations to Unlimited Music, although it's only included in Videotron's premium wireless plan and just a select list of streaming services like Stingray, Rdio, Google Play and Spotify are exempt from data caps. Both of those factors have raised concerns with Rogers.

The Toronto-based telecom company filed a complaint with the CRTC on Tuesday saying Unlimited Music contravenes a regulatory decision on how telecom companies market mobile exemptions to consumers.

David Watt, vice-president of Rogers' regulatory operations, said Videotron is "acting as the gatekeeper" by selecting which music streaming companies apply to its data exemption, giving them "an undue and unreasonable preference," according to the complaint documents.

Rogers also has a problem with Videotron making Unlimited Music available only to premium plan customers.

It said the Videotron's favoured exemption of mobile data conflicts with a CRTC ruling earlier this year against Bell Mobility. The decision forced Bell to stop offering its customers an upgraded service for $5 a month, which let them stream a certain amount of video programming on their mobile devices without counting the usage against their monthly wireless data caps.

In January, CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said all mobile service providers should treat content flowing through their networks equally, without offering perks to their customers.

Rogers (TSX:RCI.B) alleges Videotron is essentially doing that with Unlimited Music and favouring certain music services while leaving others, like Apple Music, off the eligible list.

Videotron fired back in its response to the regulator:

"It is astonishing at times to behold the range of ulterior motives that can be ascribed to a provider that is simply seeking to make its services more attractive to consumers," said Dennis Beland, vice-president of regulatory affairs at Quebecor.

"The truth is much less conspiratorial."

Videotron said it created Unlimited Music as a way to broaden its wireless package appeal to the 14- to 34-year-old demographic.

Streaming music has become an increasingly popular way for listeners to play their favourite tracks on demand. Most of the companies not only offer their services through mobile phone apps, but some also connect through desktop computer programs, tablets and even gaming consoles.

Over the past two years, a barrage of music streaming companies have entered the Canadian market hoping to gain a bigger share of consumers who are searching for alternatives to traditional terrestrial and satellite radio.

Rogers has its own streaming music agreement through the Fido brand. The company partnered with Spotify to bundle a commercial-free version of the service with its monthly plans. Unlike Videotron, Fido still counts streaming music as part of its customer's data package.

But wireless competitor Telus Corp. (TSX:T) supports Videotron's position. The company filed comments with the CRTC earlier this week saying it didn't see a problem with Unlimited Music.

The complaints "fail to understand that Videotron is merely making available a competitive offering to consumers," a Telus executive wrote to the regulator.

"No consumers are harmed by this offer being made available in the market and some might be significantly better off as a result of it."

A spokesman for Bell declined to comment.
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Re: Rogers-Videotron Battle Could Decide Future Of Streaming

Postby Sunbeam » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:47 am

Interesting battle... Canadians pay more for substandard wireless/wired Internet service than almost any other jurisdiction in the world.. with the possible exception of some parts of the USA.

European and Asian subscribers enjoy various ridiculously enhanced service/price ratios compared to what we are availed in North America. Our telecom corporations are just plain greedy. I refuse to subscribe to a data plan on my (Bell) mobile phone for this very reason.

Cheers to Quebecor/Videotron, my only complaint is with the limited list of content providers which are eligible under their plan. Open it up. Bell and Rogers, suck it up and get real. If the infrastructure is in place to provide the bandwidth, bandwidth should be open at flat rate.

My monthly Bell bill is just unreal, and I refuse to deal with Rogers. I'm about ready to go dry-loop for my DSL copper wire service through Distributel, go VOIP for home phone, go ROKU for TV, and tell Bell to take a hike.

It's not just Bell and Rogers- the CRTC has framed an ambiguous and incoherent regulatory structure which has utterly failed to anticipate 21st century growth of data transmission.
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Re: Rogers-Videotron Battle Could Decide Future Of Streaming

Postby Sunbeam » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:59 am

Just got promoted to Bar Manager. Drinks are on the House. :D
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Re: Rogers-Videotron Battle Could Decide Future Of Streaming

Postby Marsbar » Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:10 am

A few months back, I cut the cord. Gone was my Bell landline, Bell internet service and Bell Fibe for TV.

I then picked up a couple of indoor over-the-air TV antennae for about $20 each. I now get all channels from the GTA and Buffalo in stunning HD format. Much brighter and more crisp than anything Bell Fibe provided. Plus about 5 over-the-air channels that I never knew existed. (please note this excellent reception is in the city)

Also I get DAB radio free - but there's not much there yet that excites me.

I use Wind as my cell-phone carrier - with unlimited data etc for about half what Rogers and Bell charge.

If you're tired of the major communications companies - I highly recommend cutting the cord.
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Re: Rogers-Videotron Battle Could Decide Future Of Streaming

Postby Sunbeam » Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:21 am

:D Good advice David, I'm about ready to do that. Wind has limited coverage outside a certain GTA corridor, (and I'm outside) so I'd probably keep my (limited) Bell mobile phone service-- it's cheaper than a land line.

For all the rest, I agree completely.

I'm going to find my wire-cutters... :)
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Re: Rogers-Videotron Battle Could Decide Future Of Streaming

Postby Sunbeam » Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:15 am

Yes- I'm looking at ROKU, Sling TV and NetFlix, AirVPN ("I'm a US Customer now"), Distributel VOIP, and I'm saving $70 per month. Bye Bye Bell.

This ignores the original subject of wireless bandwidth, but it's germane to the subject of bandwidth cost in consumer reality.
Last edited by Sunbeam on Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rogers-Videotron Battle Could Decide Future Of Streaming

Postby Sunbeam » Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:40 am

If anyone reading this thread has experience with "cutting the cord" and using alternative providers for TV/Home Phone/Mobile Phone/Internet, please share your experience.

I'd really like to see this thread liven up with some accounts of personal experience, good or bad. Or, should we move this to a new thread? I feel like I've kinda hijacked the original subject.
Mr. Moderator?
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Re: Rogers-Videotron Battle Could Decide Future Of Streaming

Postby Marsbar » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:26 pm

There is not Hi-Jack....just thoughts. And that is good enough for me.... :)
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Re: Rogers-Videotron Battle Could Decide Future Of Streaming

Postby MoodyBlue » Wed Dec 30, 2015 5:48 pm

Sunbeam wrote:If anyone reading this thread has experience with "cutting the cord" and using alternative providers for TV/Home Phone/Mobile Phone/Internet, please share your experience.


My location kills any OTH signal, the shop in Guelph that sells the hardware said forget it.

But for those of you who want a guide to see what you could expect to receive via OTH there is this this website:

http://tvfool.com/

Cheers

John
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