The Financial Post reports in its Thursday edition that Cogeco Cable, Eastlink and Quebecor on Wednesday launched an appeal "to Canadian TV viewers" to fight Bell Canada's takeover of Astral Media.
The Post's Peter Foster writes in the FP Comment page that Bell Canada controls CTV.
The Astral deal is subject to review both by the Competition Bureau and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommnications Commission. It is not clear if the Cable Three's preemptive move represents a low blow. Nevertheless, Mr. Foster says he is sure that the regulatory bureaucracies will welcome any intervention that makes them appear necessary to "protect" competition and culture.
The Cable Three's open letter was filled with dodgy but popular arguments: No other major economy would countenance Bell's dominance; Bell will be able to charge "whatever they want"; they will stick you with bundles of unwanted channels; they will force you to buy other Bell services.
Quebecor chief Pierre Karl Peladeau's rather strange idea of competition is that nobody should be allowed to have as much of the Quebec market as Quebecor. Mr. Foster says what the Cable Three are really worried about is that Bell will provide better and cheaper services.