Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
(CRTC) found that Bell Mobility gave itself a significant competitive advantage by entering into exclusive agreements for the mobile rights to popular National Hockey League (NHL) and National Football League (NFL) content.
“Canadians shouldn’t be forced to subscribe to a wireless service from a specific company to access their favourite content,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “Healthy and fair competition between service providers will promote greater choice for Canadians.”
Today’s decision was triggered by a complaint filed by Telus Communications after it had unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate for the rights owned exclusively by Bell Mobility. The NHL content in question includes games and video highlights, while the NFL content includes prime-time games, all playoff games (including the Super Bowl) and access to NFL Network programming.
Bell Mobility must file a report within 30 days explaining how it will ensure that Telus has access to its NHL and NFL content at reasonable terms.
This ruling was made pursuant to the CRTC’s new media exemption order, which prohibits undue preference, a notion that was further elaborated in the recent vertical integration policy.