Your Voices On the Walls: Weekly News Update from OpenMedia.ca

Hey!

Here's Lindsey with your update:

This week, TPP negotiations are taking place in Virginia, and we're acting on our plan to make sure your voices are heard. Be sure to send your comments to TPP negotiators here. And in Canada, the CRTC is holding its hearing about Bell's takeover of Astral, and its increasing dominance over Canada's media system. Stop Bell's takeover here! 

For the Internet, 

- The OpenMedia.ca Team


Recent News

Reporting back on the Bell/Astral hearing: The early days

The first couple days of the Bell/Astral hearing have come and gone – and I've got to say, they've been riveting. No joke.

If you're wondering what I'm talking about, you may want to skip this blog for now and start by visiting our campaign page.

It's been really encouraging to see the CRTC ask tough questions and consider the public interest, competition, choice, and innovation thus far. Of course that means it'll be doubly disappointing if the CRTC fails to stand up to Bell (by completely blocking this merger rather than tinkering with it) and protect the Canadian media system—we'll have to raise our voices even louder—but regardless, it means they've been listening to the pro-Internet community. Read more »

 

Bell's Astral Takeover: What's at Stake?

Bell's escalating vertical integration is raising concern among Canadian citizens and scholars. Should their takeover of Astral Media receive approval by the CRTC, it will tighten Bell's grip on the communications market and limit Canadians with fewer media and telecom choices, higher prices and less opportunity for free speech.

As the CRTC continues to review Bell's $3.4B purchase of Astral Media this week, we're continuing to amplify our voices against the deal at StopTheTakeover.ca. Read more »

 

Media Advisory: The public demands the CRTC stop Bell’s takeover

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is examining Bell Canada's $3.4 billion takeover of Astral Media at hearings in Montreal the week.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre, an Ottawa-based consumer group is scheduled to appear before the Commission on Wednesday, September 12. PIAC is a member of the Stop the Takeover Coalition, which opposes the acquisition based on the principles at http://openmedia.ca/takeover/principles.

“This deal will give Bell more market power because they will control a remarkable share of television services,” says Public Interest Advocacy Centre counsel Janet Lo, “If the deal goes through, consumers will be offered even less flexibility in packaging and choices to pick and pay only for the television services they want to watch, and consumers will pay higher prices to access broadcasting services.”

“This deal will give Bell more market power because they will control a remarkable share of television services,” says Public Interest Advocacy Centre counsel Janet Lo, “If the deal goes through, consumers will be offered even less flexibility in packaging and choices to pick and pay only for the television services they want to watch, and consumers will pay higher prices to access broadcasting services.”

OpenMedia.ca, a grassroots organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open and affordable Internet, has further concerns about big telecom companies that own both content and the methods of distributing it. Read more »

 

The CRTC made a priority list – We're checking it twice

The CRTC is making attempts to emphasize affordability, access and a focus on citizen issues with a revised priorities document that was released late last week. By shifting towards an outlook that keeps the best interests of Canadians first and foremost, rather than heeding to corporate industry-defined mandates, the CRTC is recognizing that we should have a say in the future of our communications.

This reaction by the CRTC is the result of numerous actions by Canadians nationwide in staying engaged, informed and vocal about these issues. We'll have to ensure that the CRTC isn't trying to simply adopt our language to placate us without following through on these promises – it's up to us to make sure they walk the talk. Let's start this push now with StopTheTakeover.ca and let's tell the CRTC to stop corporate interests from diluting Canadian communications.

Article from MichaelGeist.ca

The Canadian communications world is focused this week on the proposed merger between Bell and Astral Media as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission holds its much-anticipated hearing on the issue in Montreal. While the merger takes centre stage, the Commission may have upstaged the process last Thursday by releasing a detailed priorities document that covers the next three years.

My weekly technology law column notes that with Jean-Pierre Blais installed as the new CRTC chair and the Conservatives emboldened by majority government, the Commission's priorities send a message of change in Canadian communications policy. The days of emphasizing Canadian content rules or legislative overhauls are over, replaced by a consumer-oriented focus on affordable access to both content and connectivity services. Read more »

 

Minister Toews still pushing online spying bill C-30, ignoring due process and police resourcing

Parliament resumes this month, and as Tim Harper of the Toronto Star asserts, the highly unpopular online spying bill, C-30, is still high on the government’s agenda. As there’s little on the books for the fall session of Parliament, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is taking the opportunity to once again push his controversial legislation.

But Toews may not be the Public Safety Minister for much longer—according to Harper, the online spying bill is in desperate need of a new champion following Toews’ public relations disaster earlier this year, when he asserted that all those who opposed the bill supported child pornographers. This showed blatant disrespect—not only in regards to this brutally serious crime—but also to the privacy commissioners, legal and policy expert, and thousands of Canadians who had asserted that the online spying bill is invasive, costly, and poorly thought-out. Now that Bill C-30 is so negatively linked to Toews, the Conservatives may be looking for a new salesman. Read more »

 

Financial Post: Bell's vertical integration hearings begin

CRTC hearings began this morning on Bell's proposed $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media. If the deal is approved, it would greatly increase Bell's media ownership across Canada's broadcast spectrum – all at the expense of restricting fair market choice and competition for Canadians.

The time to unite and speak out against Bell's maneuvering is now. Let the CRTC hear our disapproval by adding your voice to our ongoing campaign at StopTheTakeover.ca.

Article by Jamie Sturgeon for Financial Post

Odds are near certain you’ve never heard of ViaNetTV, a tiny Toronto-based television startup. And if BCE Inc. gets its way you never will, according to its founder, Alexei Tchernobrivets.

For more than a year, ViaNetTV has attempted to negotiate with Bell Media, the sprawling telecom and media conglomerate’s entertainment unit, for the right to carry Bell-owned television channels like Discovery and MuchMusic through its new TV service. Read more »

 

Open The TPP campaign turns heads at negotiations

Over the past week, we've been asking you to submit your comments, images and opinions regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Yesterday, our coalition partners met with negotiators and shared your feedback – turning heads and creating discussion based on what YOU had to say.

Your messages were provoking and united by a shared opinion that we deserve to know more about the secretive TPP trade agreement. If you haven't already, feel free to share your thoughts in a comment below or at OpenTheTPP.net. We'll continue to gather your comments and report back in more detail soon. Read more »

 

Council of Canadians: Talks resume on trade agreement that could harm innovation and online privacy

The latest round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership are underway this week, with lobbyists and corporate advisers making decisions on ways to regulate and restrict our Internet use.

The TPP's regressive approach to intellectual property is shrouded in secrecy and only made available to 600 or so industry representatives. Even Canada won't have a say in the negotiating process until they are formally admitted to talks in December.

Join our http://OpenTheTPP.net/ campaign to share your comments with negotiators and let's push to make the TPP text available to citizens worldwide.

Article by Stuart Trew for The Council of Canadians

A 14th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade and investment negotiations begins in Virginia, U.S.A. today as scorn for the agreement’s proposed intellectual property chapter piles up. To be fair, that scorn is almost entirely aimed at the United States’ positions on patent and other monopoly protections for pharmaceutical firms, as well as on copyright and internet rules, which civil society observers and even other TPP negotiating countries see as regressive, unnecessary, dangerous to public health and harmful of online privacy and innovation. Read more »

 

What is the TPP hiding from us?

The negotiating parties behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership are continuing to restrict access and input to the TPP text, effectively disregarding the voices of citizens worldwide in letting themselves be heard.

We've created an online tool at OpenTheTPP.net to get your messages in front of TPP negotiators. Together, let's push open the doors of the TPP. Read more »

 

Open The TPP!

Closed-door Trans-Pacific Partnership meetings are resuming this week. Officials behind the TPP Internet trap will continue to develop a plan to impose new restrictions; including consumer fines and website blocking. We’ve created an easy-to-use tool that will get your voice to TPP officials. 

We encourage you to share your comments at http://OpenTheTPP.net/, or send a message through Facebook or Twitter for others to see. Read more »

 

We made something for you

Imagine you could speak out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) threat to Internet freedom, and have your comments projected on the walls in front of TPP officials. That’s exactly what we at OpenMedia are working overtime to accomplish.

Closed-door TPP meetings take place this week in Leesburg, Virginia, where officials will continue developing a plan to impose new Internet restrictions, including consumer fines and website blocking.1 It’s not just unfair, it’s undemocratic. Read more »

 

The Globe and Mail: Bell's $3.34B Takeover will shortchange competition and choice

We've seen how Big Telecom has been putting a cap on our data, but now Bell is looking to capitalize on Canadian choice with a $3.34-billion takeover of Astral Media. Should the deal go through, it would provide Bell with a 37.6% stake in Canadian TV viewership and an increased radio spectrum.

As the CRTC reviews the Bell/Astral acquisition this month, the time to speak out is now. Add your voice to our growing campaign at http://StopTheTakeover.ca/.

Article by Simon Houpt and Steve Ladurantaye for The Globe & Mail

In the past week, a consumer-focused group called Stopthetakeover.ca launched its own online drive to scuttle the Bell/Astral deal by appealing to the country’s Competition Bureau and Industry Minister, both of which have the power to alter or outright kill the deal.

The group – whose membership roster includes anti-poverty groups and unions – argues that Bell will use its size to dominate smaller rivals, charging them high rates for programming that will eventually be passed to consumers. Read more »

 

STC: Broadband Costs Decline - So why don't our prices?

Canadian citizens are being price-gouged by Big Telecom even as their costs seemingly go down. We're paying more but falling behind and getting less than our global counterparts due to restrictive data caps that are becoming increasingly prevalent.

We've seen how Big Telecom has avoided being transparent about their pricing procedures before, but data is calling this secrecy further into question.

Tell the CRTC that we want a full and comprehensive review of Big Telecom's Internet rates at http://PriceHike.ca/ and together we can put an end to deceptive data pricing.

Article by Phillip Dampier for StopTheCap.com

Prices to move data across the Internet continue to decline throughout the world. According to new data from TeleGeography’s IP Transit Pricing Service, price declines in most locations accelerated over the past year, at an accelerating pace. But none of those savings are showing up on customer bills. In fact, while providers have been increasing broadband prices over the past three years, their costs to provide the service continue to plummet. Read more »

 

Momentum shifts in push towards Internet freedom: StopTheTrap.net Update

Get ready to raise some ruckus: the next round of TPP negotiations is only a week away. From Thursday, September 6th to Saturday the 15th, in Leesburg, Virginia, U.S.A, negotiators will reconvene behind closed doors and make decisions about the future of Internet freedom worldwide.

We at OpenMedia and the StopTheTrap.net Coalition are planning our next moves—we can’t wait to share them with you—but while we plug away, here’s a quick update on where the fight against the secretive and restrictive TPP agreement is today: Read more »

 

RWW: Why you should be terrified of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has long been shrouded in secrecy. Although a few key leaks have given insight to strict copyright laws, collection of private data and criminalized Internet use – we still haven't been granted access to the text or negotiating process. 

Even the upcoming 'Stakeholder Presentations' are beginning to see resistance from trade representatives, making it an extremely limited way of including public interest in the discussions. 

We have a plan to ensure your voices are heard. Stay tuned for further updates and help spread the word on our http://StopTheTrap.net/ campaign. Read more »