Thursday, April 20, 2017

CRTC rules today on video, music streaming services and data plans


Some companies allow users to stream from certain services without counting against data plan

The Canadian Press
Posted: Apr 20, 2017 8:33 AM ET
Last Updated: Apr 20, 2017 8:33 AM ET

Canada’s telecommunications watchdog is set to release a decision today that could change whether all video and music streaming services count towards customers’ cellular data plans.

Last fall, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission held hearings into what’s known as differential pricing, such as when companies allow customers to access certain streaming services without it counting against their data plans.

That review stemmed from a complaint about Quebecor-owned Videotron over the way it bills customers for the data they use, a matter that the CRTC will also address today.

Videotron launched an unlimited music streaming service in August 2015 that allowed its customers to stream music from specific third-party services without it counting against their monthly data cap.

Videotron 20160530

The CRTC review stemmed from a complaint about Quebecor-owned Videotron over the way it bills customers for the data they use. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

The practice has angered consumer advocacy groups. They say it unfairly discriminates against other music streaming services that were still subject to data usage fees.

Telecommunications giants including Bell (TSX:BCE) and Telus (TSX:T) have argued that differential pricing results in more choice for customers.

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