Videotron Defends Music Service Accused of Violating Net Neutrality

Videotron’s Unlimited Music service for mobile subscribers launched in late August and since then it has been accused of violating net neutrality, as data used does not count against customer data buckets.

Yesterday, we heard how Rogers criticized Videotron’s service as violating net neutrality and today, we have learned the latter’s response to widespread criticism received, according to a filing response made Wednesday, according to The Globe and Mail:

“In the present case, Videotron is being accused of everything from blocking competition in the music streaming business, to trying to control access to music content, to creating a two-tiered Internet, to trying to marginalize a part of its own customer base,” the company said, adding, “The truth is much less conspiratorial.

Videotron added its music offering, along with wireless services, attracts the key demographic of 14-34 year olds and noted it had “found an attractive and innovative way to broaden that appeal.”

Other organizations have also opposed Videotron’s music service, such as a group of Canadian radio operators with online music streams; Eastlink Wireless; and Benjamin Klass (he started the mobile TV challenge), all filing interventions with the CRTC.

The Quebec-based carrier does have some supporters though. TELUS filed to the CRTC saying “offering consumers differentiated services in order to entice them to subscribe to a rate plan is normal in competitive markets where different groups of customers pay different prices depending on their demand for services.”

Meanwhile the The Canadian Network Operators Consortium (CNOC), which represents independent ISPs, similarly supported Videotron, noting in its filing providers should be able to “freely package services in innovative ways that respond to market trends and consumer demand.” However, CNOC did not support Videotron’s move to have music services opt-in, as net neutrality advocates say this favours small groups able to participate and excludes others.

Videotron, which has 700,000 wireless subscribers, will soon be sent a list of requests from the CRTC for more information on its music service, while also accept final filings from participants, with the submission deadline not set yet.

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