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TELUS Opposed To Bell's Proposed Acquisition Of Astral Media

CRTC submission highlights urgent need to preserve competition to ensure choice, lower price options and service delivery innovations

VANCOUVER, Aug. 14, 2012 /CNW/ - TELUS has filed a submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), opposing Bell's potential acquisition of Astral Media and specifically the impact that an unprecedented concentration of market power in the broadcasting sector would have on Canadian consumers. TELUS supports the views expressed last week by the Say No to Bell coalition, comprised of Quebecor, Cogeco and Eastlink, as well as the concerns expressed by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and its associates. TELUS is joining the discussion and is speaking out against the purchase of one of the last large independent television groups in Canada.

Already Canada's largest vertically integrated media and communications company, Bell has not complied with the spirit of the policies adopted by the CRTC, choosing instead to engage in behavior that limits choice for Canadians and raises the costs of content for consumers.

"All Canadians should be able to access the content they want through the provider they choose; we all benefit from competition between a variety of organizations and no one company should be in a position to take away choice or access to content for consumers," said Darren Entwistle, TELUS President and CEO. "If the Bell/Astral merger proceeds, the concentration of Canadian ownership will be equal to an American company owning Verizon, Direct TV, CBS, ESPN, MTV, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, Bloomberg Television, HBO, Starz, ClearChannel Radio, ESPN pay-per-view, HBO pay-per-view, Lamar Outdoor Advertising and Radio Shack - it's a gravely concerning proposition when examined in that context."

Bell's proposed acquisition of Astral Media is not in the public interest; if the transaction is approved, Bell could hold a 49.51 per cent share of the English-language television audience share when joint venture assets such as Teletoon, which is 50 per cent owned by Astral, and MLSE assets, which are pending approval, are factored in.

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