TORONTO — Bell Canada and its media arm have won a round in their battle against regulatory restrictions on their activities as television content producers and distributors.
The Federal Court of Appeal has issued a 2-1 split decision that agrees with Bell’s argument that the Broadcasting Act doesn’t give the CRTC authority to enforce its “wholesale code.”
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission introduced the code in 2015 after extensive public consultations, known as Let’s Talk TV, that resulted in a number of reforms for regulated media companies.
Soon after the code was issued, Bell launched the court challenge to the CRTC’s restrictions on how distributors like phone, cable and satellite companies negotiate contracts with content producers.
The CRTC had introduced the restrictions out of a concern about the increasing market power of vertically integrated companies, such as Bell, that both create programming and distribute it to consumers.
Bell Canada owns the country’s largest telecom network, including residential television and internet services, as well as Bell Media — which owns the CTV television network, specialty TV channels and production facilities.
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The Canadian Press