Ben Klass’ reply to Cope is getting some attention

From the Wire Report on Wednesday …


Blog post replying to Cope gets 60,000 views

Published: Wednesday, 08/07/2013 4:30 pm EDT

Benjamin Klass, who penned a blog post replying to George Cope’s open letter about the Conservative government’s wireless policies, said his post has received about 60,000 views, with 7,500 shares on Facebook and 300 on Twitter.

Klass published the blog post, entitled “I am Canadian, A reply to Bell’s open letter” on Aug. 3. It responded to the BCE Inc. chief executive’s open letter to Canadians about wireless policies favouring a foreign owned company, possibly U.S. giant Verizon Communications Inc., entering Canada’s wireless market.

“The ‘critical situation’ I face comes every month, when I open my wireless bill wondering whether I’ll be able to afford to pay it,” Klass concluded in the post, in which he challenged the arguments of the incumbents about an unfair playing field, particularly in the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction.

“Your company, along with Canada’s other major wireless providers, have had 30 years to address this situation. But you’ve failed. Posting huge profits and paying dividends year after year might satisfy your shareholders, but individual Canadians and their families are being hung out to dry. It’s time for a change,” wrote Klass, who is studying the historical development of telecommunications in Canada at the University of Manitoba’s department of political studies.

Klass said in a phone interview Wednesday that he “only ever tweeted it once,” and that he was appearing on CBC Television on Wednesday to discuss the issue. He said he hasn’t had any official responses from incumbents BCE, Telus Corp. or Rogers Communications Inc.

The incumbents have been campaigning against the government’s wireless rules, arguing they will lead to the loss of Canadian jobs and give a large American company advantages over them.

Could HBO Nordic foreshadow a standalone HBO Go?

One of the next online competitors for your television provider’s TV everywhere product could be a standalone HBO Go app and website.

While Time Warner Inc. says it has no plans to launch its HBO Go app as a standalone online service like Netflix, the company has already done precisely that in Scandinavia.

Last summer, HBO launched an online website and app service, called HBO Nordic, in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. The service costs 129 kroner ($22) per month, or for a 12-month term, 79 kroner ($13.50) per month, according to its website.

Right now, the rest of the world can’t get the HBO Go online product unless they also subscribe to it through a traditional TV service. But HBO Go could emerge as a competitive threat to TV providers around the world.

Mike McGuire, an analyst with Gartner in California, told Wire Report’s editor Simon Doyle in a phone interview in July that he believes HBO’s launch of a standalone OTT service is coming, someday.

“Ultimately, all in all, yeah,” said McGuire when asked whether a standalone HBO Go service is inevitable over the long-term. “The challenge is picking the point in time,” as well as the right price point, he said.

That could have an impact on companies like Canada’s BCE Inc., which plans to launch a TV Everywhere service following its purchase of Astral Media and its TMN service, which includes the rights to HBO Canada. “I would think they might be a little concerned if HBO chose to go over-the-top, so to speak, with an a la carte app,” McGuire said.

In March, at a Game of Thrones premiere in San Francisco, HBO chief executive Richard Pepler shot down suggestions, for now, of a standalone HBO Go app, according to a Los Angeles Times report on March 28.

“We always talk about variations on a theme,” Pepler said, according to the LA Times. “Maybe HBO Go, with our partners as broadband-only, could evolve some day, but not tomorrow. Right now, we are very excited about the enthusiasm around Go, the way our customers are embracing it. For right now, we have the right model.”