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Statements by Bell CEO |  She denounced “unfair” competition from web giants and vendors

Statements by Bell CEO | She denounced “unfair” competition from web giants and vendors

Bell CEO Mirko Bebek agrees with his big rival Pierre-Karl Péladeau on one point: competition from big digital platforms like Netflix is ​​“unfair.” However, the agreement with Quebecor’s CEO stops there: allowing resellers to access Bell’s fiber network, as he was recently asked to do, “jeopardizes the Canadian telecom giant’s expansion,” he said.

Mr. Bebek made the remarks to an audience of about 420 businessmen gathered at the Palais des Congrès during an event organized by the Canadian Club of Montreal. He initially described “very difficult circumstances” for the Canadian telecommunications sector, especially for Bell, which announced the loss of 1,300 jobs last June.

“Broadcasting is at a crossroads,” Mr. Bebek said. No one escapes the turmoil. I must sound the alarm. » Bell Media’s revenues are down $130 million this year compared to 2019. “Last year, we lost $40 million in our news services. So we had to make some tough decisions. »

not enough

In particular, he described at length the investments, in content and networks, that Bell had made to meet competition; The network has invested $4 billion in Quebec, its ad sales methods have been updated and its Crave platform has more than 11,500 hours of French-language content.

That’s not enough to compete with the big U.S. platforms, which are under no obligation to invest in Canadian content, Mr. Bebek said.

“We simply cannot compete with foreign broadcasters due to the limitations of the current system […]. Many federal governments and the CRTC did not react as quickly to the arrival of the Internet. The entire ecosystem is now at risk. He believes the Trudeau government’s recent legislative proposals are “a step in the right direction, but they are not moving fast enough.”

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Before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), currently holding public hearings in Gatineau, Bell first asked for relief from the obligations of traditional broadcasters. We also want to require American producers and foreign platforms to cooperate with Canadian companies.

“Accessing American content is more difficult than ever, as major sports leagues and major studios demand higher prices, or outright refuse to sell their content to Canadian broadcasters,” he said. Increasingly, American studios and networks are selling their shows directly to Canadian residents. »

Expansion is at risk

Mr. Bebek also requested that these platforms contribute to Canadian production funds, with a portion allocated to news.

He added that the danger facing Bale does not come only from abroad. He attacked the CRTC’s recent decision to force Bell to open its fiber network to vendors.

“In recent months, we have deployed our pure fiber network in Trois-Pistoles, Saint-Come, Lac-Beauport and dozens of other communities across the province,” he explained. He denounces the CRTC’s decision as “harming the business model for future investments.” This will jeopardize the expansion of our network in the communities of Ottawa, Laurentides, Estrie, Basse-Saint-Laurent, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, and much more.