Quebec’s Cogeco Cable says it’s still against Bell buying Astral Media, arguing that it’s bad for both competition and consumers.

CEO Louis Audet says Bell is already too large in the Canadian broadcasting and telecom industries and is asking the CRTC for a second time to block the revised, $3.4-billion deal.

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Rogers Communications wants the CRTC to force Bell to sell Astral’s English pay TV services if it is going to allow the $3.4-billion merger to go ahead.   Rogers also told the  hearing reviewing the proposed acquisition it would then take a look at buying Astral’s Movie Network to add to its own content.

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Good morning ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this public hearing. During this hearing, we will review Astral Media Inc.’s application for authorization to transfer control of its radio and television services to BCE Inc.

The application

The proposed transaction consists of the purchase, by BCE, of all outstanding shares of Astral pursuant to the agreement entered into by BCE and Astral on March 16, 2012, and amended on November 19, 2012. This agreement would notably be subject to divestitures of certain television and radio services operated by Astral.

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On May 7, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC), Council of Senior Citizens’ Organization of British Columbia (COSCO), National Pensioners and Senior Citizens Federation (NPSCF) and Option consommateurs (OC) will appear before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to oppose the proposed acquisition of Astral Media Inc. by Bell Canada, a division of BCE Inc.

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