Court Denies Bell Right to Keep Mobile TV Pricing During Appeal
The Federal Court of Appeal judge rejected Bell Mobility’s bid to retain its current pricing model — $5 per month for the Bell Mobile TV add-on — while the court challenge awaits a ruling, reports the Globe and Mail.
The current model allows Bell to favour its own content. The CRTC initially ruled against this pricing model based on the principle of net neutrality, saying that the 10 hours (5 hours based on the recently changed terms) of television that don’t count against the user’s monthly wireless data cap give the company an “unlawful preference over other applications.”
To overturn this ruling — which forced Bell to eliminate that pricing practice by April 29 — Bell filed an application with the Court of Appeal, claiming it would suffer irreparable harm and its reputation would be damaged. On top of that, Bell claimed it would need to spend $10 million just to change this pricing model.
However, the Federal Court of Appeal judge threw out Bell’s claims and pointed to Rogers and Videotron, which have already changed their pricing models for similar mobile TV apps — they didn’t complain (in public) about the costs.
“Bell would therefore be the sole remaining provider of this service if the CRTC decision were to be stayed,” Justice J.D. Denis Pelletier wrote in his decision on Monday. “This is the opposite of irreparable harm in that granting the stay would confer a competitive advantage on Bell by allowing it to continue to offer a product on a basis which its competitors have ceased to offer as a result of proceedings before the CRTC.”
The judge commented on the $10 million bill claim, saying it isn’t a significant harm, nor is it an amount that threatens Bell’s corporate existence.