The Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Consumers’ Association of Canada (PIAC-CAC) claim that Shomi’s sales strategy violates the Telecommunications Act and the Broadcasting Act, due to its restrictions. However, this won’t stop the public launch of the streaming service, while consumers can submit subscription complaints to the CRTC (via the Financial Post).
Shomi is currently limited to existing cable or Internet subscribers of Rogers and Shaw, but plans to lift these restrictions sometime this summer have been announced. But that doesn’t seem to be enough for the two public interest advocacy groups.
They have highlighted two things they missed from the announcement: (1) a specific launch date and (2) whether or not an active TV subscription is required. Also, they asked if the CRTC still has plans to issue a decision on whether tying Shomi to a specific Internet service has been violating the law. A CRTC spokeswoman confirmed that the regulator will continue to accept complaints. Submissions are due Monday.
“It’s not enough for a company, who is facing a complaint that raises issues about complex matters under broadcast law and telecom law, to say at the last minute they’re changing their practice because there’s an issue of competition implicated right here,” Geoffrey White, external counsel to PIAC, said in an interview.
“Smaller, independent competitors who weren’t affiliated with Rogers or Shaw could have been losing out to Rogers and Shaw because of their unfair tied sale. We’d like a ruling on whether it was lawful.”
Speaking with the Financial Post, Shomi spokeswoman Jodi Cook specified the profile of eligible customers: The service will be available over-the-top to all Canadians through their Internet provider and also through set-top boxes via the company’s joint-venture partners.
Shomi costs users $8.99/month. For this amount, customers get 15,000 assets, 300-plus series, and more than 1,000 movies.