Option consommateurs calls on consumers to do their part to block the acquisition of Astral by Bell
MONTREAL, Aug. 21, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, Option consommateurs launched its online petition and invites consumers to do their part to block Bell's acquisition of Astral by making their voices heard by the Competition Bureau and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
Option consommateurs believes that if the merger between Bell and Astral becomes a reality, consumers will pay the price. This would also result in a decrease in service offerings and most likely affect customer service. "With so few players in the market, what options will consumers have if they are not satisfied with their service provider?" asked Robert Cazelais, Executive Director of Option consommateurs.
As a result of the merger, the conglomerate would hold almost 40% of the Canadian viewing share and would control approximately 80% of French-language specialty programming. The communications giant would also own no less than 106 radio stations and one of the largest billboard advertising networks in the country.
According to Option consommateurs, this level of concentration would be dangerous. Particularly since the CRTC approved the acquisition of the MLSE media company by Bell, in partnership with Roger, this past August 16. Bell now has five additional specialty channels. "At what threshold will the level of media concentration finally be deemed unacceptable?" asked Mr. Cazelais.
In the coming days, Option consommateurs will meet with the Competition Bureau in order to share its serious concerns about this merger. The group also wishes to be heard on the same subject during the CRTC consultations in September.
This rights group nonetheless insists on the power of consumers in this file. "Consumers know that monopolies bring them little benefits. They always lead to an increase in prices. The more voices are heard, the more likely this transaction will be blocked," stated Robert Cazelais.
To sign the petition, go to: http://option-consommateurs.org/besoin/appel_a_tous/93/
About Option consommateurs
Created in 1983, Option Consommateurs is a not-for-profit association dedicated to the defence and promotion of consumers' rights. It has initiated approximately 20 class-action suits and closely monitors issues related to the health sector, the agrifood industry, energy, financial services and business practices.
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