CRTC says Vidéotron must stop offering Unlimited Music service by August 4th


Late last month, Vidéotron asked the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to give it additional time to wind down its Unlimited Music service, which the CRTC ruled in an April 20th decision went against the terms of the Telecommunications Act. On Thursday, the CRTC announced that it had extended the deadline — but only until August 4th.

In an email addressed to Dennis Béland, an executive in charge of regulatory affairs at Quebecor Media, the CRTC says the carrier should have been prepared for the eventuality that its Unlimited Music service likely violated the terms of the Telecommunications Act.

“Any claim that Vidéotron cannot comply with the Commission’s decision by the July, 19th 2017 deadline because of consumer-related statutory obligations undermines the purpose of such obligations, which is to protect consumers and ensure they are empowered to make informed choices. A company obviously cannot be allowed to justify the continuation of unlawful conduct based on the consequences of its own conduct,” says the CRTC’s Danielle May-Cuconato.

She later adds that the CRTC is under no obligation to grant Vidéotron 27 weeks to develop an alternative service. “The Commission did not direct Vidéotron to implement alternative services,” says May-Cuconato.

“The decision to replace the program with new services is of Vidéotron’s own choosing and cannot be used as a reason not to bring itself into compliance within 90 days of Telecom Decision 2017-105.”

However, the CRTC acknowledges that Vidéotron stated it would need to start communicating the change with affected subscribers by no later than June 9th 2017 in order to terminate all access to the Unlimited Music program as of July 19th, 2017. Since that deadline has already passed, the regulator has decided to extend the deadline for full compliance to August 4th, 2017.

The full letter can be read on the CRTC website.

Rose Behar contributed to this article.