Quebecor claims Bell continues to abuse process in ongoing dispute

Quebecor says Bell's claim to $150 million in damages in a court filing is a delaying tactic

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Following the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) mandatory order passed to TVA Group late last week, Canadian telecom Quebecor claims Bell continues to abuse process.

Bell claimed $150 million in damages from Quebecor in a court filing this week. Quebecor called the filing a “maneuver to evade the substantive issue” in the ongoing dispute over TVA’s specialty channels.

Further, Quebecor said in a press release that it’s “disappointed by Bell Canada’s decision to engage in multiple delaying and diversionary tactics instead of responding to the CRTC’s and Quebecor’s call to negotiate in the matter of the fair value of TVA’s specialty channels.”

The two Montreal-based telecommunications companies appeared at a CRTC hearing on April 18th to resolve the dispute, leading to the commission’s mandatory order for TVA to comply with regulations after it pulled the signal for its TVA Sports channel just as this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs began.

At the hearing, Quebecor’s CEO, Pierre Karl Péladeau, said TVA pulled the signal because of unfair treatment from Bell and the unfair negotiations. Further, Péladeau claimed Bell was taking advantage of smaller players with the prices it was charging.

However, regulations prohibit carriers in commercial partnerships from cutting signals if a dispute occurs.

Bell secured an injunction from the Quebec Superior Court requiring Quebecor to restore the signal. Because the order was only effective until April 23rd, Bell asked the CRTC to impose an order before the deadline, saying Quebecor could try and pull its signal again.

Accordingly, the CRTC filed the order with the Federal Court, noting that failure to comply may result in contempt of court proceedings, fines or other corrective measures. The commission also said the TVA Sports licence would automatically be suspended if the signal is interfered with or held before the dispute is resolved. The suspension would last for the duration of the time the signal isn’t provided to Bell.

Quebecor also claims that Bell’s legal action “appears designed to silence” the telecom, and intends to defend its rights in court.

Source: Quebecor