Federal Court of Appeal Upholds CRTC Ruling Against Bell’s Mobile TV

A three-judge panel of the Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed Bell’s appeal against a CRTC ruling which found the carrier to have given unlawful preference over other applications to its Mobile TV service, reports the Globe and Mail.

Bell mobile tv1

The telecom regulator handed down the ruling in January 2015, saying that Bell was “offside in the pricing of its Mobile TV service”, which allows customers to stream content for a certain amount – the price was $5 when the ruling was handed down, but Bell has since increased the price to $8.

The catch was that by paying $5, Bell customers gained access to 10 hours of programming, which didn’t count against their monthly data cap.

Bell appealed against the ruling, so the three-judge panel heard the case in January and issued the ruling on Monday, upholding the CRTC’s findings. The judges say the regulator’s determination in the case was reasonable and dismissed Bell’s claim that the CRTC had mistakenly characterized the Mobile TV app as a telecom service.

As noted by Ben Klass, the communications graduate student who filed the initial complaint regarding the Bell Mobile TV product, Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal “gets it”. The ruling issued by the Court of Appeal reads: “The activity in question in this case related to the delivery of the program – not the content of the programs – and therefore, the policy objectives of the Telecommunications Act related to the delivery of the ‘intelligence’ were engaged.”

Speaking with the Globe and Mail, Bell said it is still reviewing the ruling, so its future strategy is as yet unknown.

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