The Globe and Mail reports in its Friday edition that industry tensions continue to rise over BCE's growing media dominance.
The Globe's Rita Trichur writes that on Thursday, the CRTC gave its blessing to a $1.3-billion agreement by BCE and Rogers Communications to purchase a majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. Also Thursday, Telus, Quebecor, Cogeco Cable and Eastlink warned they will expand their opposition to the Astral deal. The chief executives officers of Quebecor, Cogeco and Eastlink wrote a letter to Heritage Minister James Moore saying the Astral deal threatens to put consumer interests at risk.
The CRTC, meanwhile, also noted that it has already taken steps to ensure viewers will have access to a wide array of programming on their screen of choice: "In 2011, the CRTC prohibited companies from offering television programs on an exclusive basis to their mobile or Internet subscribers. Any program broadcast on television must be made available to competitors under fair and commercially reasonable terms."
In the case of Astral, Bell is proposing $200-million in tangible benefits to be spent over 10 years, including $40-million to improve telecom services across the North.