Telus Says Canadian Regulator Needs ‘Clear’ Rules on Content

Telus Corp., Canada’s third-largest wireless phone company, said Shaw Communications Inc.’s assurance that it won’t stop competitors from distributing its television content over wireless devices doesn’t eliminate the need for clearer rules from the regulator.

It would be “ highly beneficial” for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to give clear rules, “despite the commitment by Shaw that it will not enter into exclusive content distribution arrangements and that it will make content available to all distributors,” Michael Hennessy, Telus’s senior vice president for regulatory affairs, said today at public hearings into Shaw’s C$2 billion ($1.9 billion) purchase of Canwest Global Communications Corp.’s television assets.

Ken Stein, Shaw’s chief of regulatory affairs, told the hearings yesterday that the company would sell and trade its content with competitors, the National Post reported.

Telus, which competes with Shaw and BCE Inc., said prior to the hearings it wants the CRTC to impose “unequivocal and enforceable rules” to stop Shaw from engaging in “abuse of market power.” If it agrees, the CRTC would impose rules for the first time on how television content is delivered to cell phones.

“The Commission can lay out general principles with respect to exclusivity and fair dealing in this proceeding,” Hennessy said, according to the text of a prepared statement.

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