Telus complains to CRTC over NHL content use by Rogers

Telus is dropping the gloves against Rogers and joining BCE in a regulatory rumble over NHL game content.

Bell made a similar submission to the country's broadcast regulator in October

Telus and Bell both charge that Rogers is breaking broadcast regulation rules by offering some NHL content exclusively to its subscribers through a mobile app. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Telus is dropping the gloves against Rogers and joining BCE in a regulatory rumble over NHL game content.

In a submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and shared with CBC News, Telus says Rogers is using its 12-year, $5.2-billion broadcast deal with the league to hold customers hostage and "drive subscriptions to its network access services." 

At issue is the GamePlus mobile app by Rogers. It offers smartphone and tablet users a series of fresh camera angles that can be replayed from a hockey game, including one from the referee's helmet. Those views are available only to Rogers customers.

BCE-owned Bell and Telus say that breaks CRTC policy on competition and vertical integration that says companies that create and disseminate media content must offer it to their rivals as well.

"Canadians should be able to access the content they want from the provider of their choice, and not be forced to pay for multiple wireless or internet services to get all the content they would like," said Telus in the submission dated last Friday.

Bell a 'crybaby': Rogers CEO

Telus said it supports Bell, which also wants the CRTC to put an end to Rogers' exclusive content. In a complaint filed in October, Bell said "consumers who are not Rogers customers will be harmed as a result of being blocked from accessing this content."

Rogers claims no regulatory rules are being broken since the content is created for the internet and mobile devices, not for television.

During a conference call discussing quarterly earnings with analysts, Rogers CEO Guy Laurence called Bell a "crybaby" and alleged the company is "trying to stifle innovation in hockey."

Rogers has until Nov. 20 to respond to the complaints. Bell will then have a chance to make another submission before the CRTC makes a decision.


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