Ben Klass and Bell Mobile TV Redux

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So it’s not just me…

About a month ago an ad on a Bell Canada repair truck — for which I now have photo proof — moved me to post about Bell’s TV Anywhere, which provides customers with up to 10 hours of Bell Media content for only $5/month. My beef with Bell was more about pigeonholing smartphone users as passive consumers of TV, but I did mention that the equivalent raw data throughput would cost a lot more were it not officially sanctioned video content from Bell.

A few days ago fellow Canadian blogger Ben Klass posted this:

Bell charges you $5 a month to watch 5GB worth of their own content. If you want to watch 5GB worth of Netflix on the Bell network, on the other hand, they charge you $40. That’s a markup of 800%.

Ah yes, Netflix… I’m not a user myself — the proprietary plugins required to use Netflix in a desktop web browser aren’t compatible with Linux. But this is exactly the right comparison to make. And Ben follows up on words with action; he is submitting an application to the CRTC, requesting fair treatment to Canadians by Bell Mobility, Inc. for Internet services. You can read the 26-page PDF of that application right here. A sneak peak at the table of contents:

I. Background

  •   What is Mobile TV?
  •   The ITMP Framework

II. Does Bell give itself preference?

  • The Application-specific Economic ITMP

III. What is the nature of the preference Bell gives itself?

  •   Innovation: Congestion Abated
  • Clarity: The Defined Need?
  •   Competitive Neutrality: Who pays for What?
  •   Transparency: Hours vs GB

IV. Possible and Existing Alternatives

  • Data Add-on and Competitive Neutrality
  •  “Soft” caps
  •  Capacity-based Billing

V. Recommendation

  • Prohibit the Application Specific Economic ITMP

VI. Concluding Remarks

I’ve found myself at Ben’s Angelus Novus blog before. Last summer he penned a thoughtful reply to Bell CEO George Cope’s open letter to all Canadians. It kicks off with this:

You begin the “unusual step of writing to all Canadians” (Strange, isn’t it, that “Canada’s Top Communication Company” should find it unusual to communicate with its customers?)

Ha ha, sick burn!

The rest of the letter is very much worth reading as a fact-checking and un-spinning of the Big Three’s now-infamous “Fair for Canada” campaign. And if you enjoyed that you might also want to check out a one-page ongoing rant about the origins of “The Great Canadian Wireless Rip Off” at

Ben is clearly committed to tackling the issue of high wireless prices in this country. He even attended the International Institute of Communications Canada Conference in Ottawa this week. If he keeps this up there might be an addendum to my list of Canadian mobile heroes soon. 🙂

I think it’s commendable that he has put in the effort to call out Bell through a proper CRTC application. It will be interesting to see when and how they respond…