The CRTC has closed the Public Interest Advocacy Centre’s (PIAC) complaint over the fairness of the Shomi online video streaming service having found that the issue raised “is now moot.” Geoff White, PIAC’s lawyer, is disappointed by the regulator’s decision, claiming that the “Commission avoided deciding in this issue.” (via the Globe and Mail)
After Shomi launched in November 2014, PIAC complained that Rogers and its partner Shaw did not play fair when they launched a “beta” test phase of the video streaming service, because it was only available to their own customers.
It has filed a complaint with the regulator over the “tied selling” of Shomi (tied to other telco services) in April, 2015. However, you may recall that since August Shomi has been available to anyone and “re-launched” as an “over the top” service, as the new rules allowed them to keep content exclusive to their own service if it was made available to anyone over the Internet.
As such, from the CRTC’s perspective everything is all right, as “Shomi is complying with the all current regulatory obligations,” Secretary General Danielle May-Cuconato wrote to PIAC.
Telus and Eastlink, however, don’t seem to agree, and there is a reason why: Rogers and Shaw did not make the service available to third-party TV distributors who wished to negotiate access, they say.
“There were legitimate concerns about the tied selling of the service, there was wide-ranging support for the application from others in the industry, as well as a number of pleas to the Commission from competing service providers to render a decision regardless of the subsequent behaviour of the service providers,” Geoff White, lawyer for PIAC, said in an e-mail to the Globe and Mail
PIAC is disappointed, because the regulator returned its two earlier complaints about Shomi and Bell’s CraveTV and suggested they reconsider them after the new rules for video streaming service go live in March.