Aliant Telecom Inc. has filed a Part VII complaint against Bragg Communications Inc. and its EastLink subsidiary because the cableco has stopped accepting the telco’s advertising on its cable channels in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. From July 31, 2003 until June 23, 2004, Aliant aired advertisements (slides with voice over) promoting their cellular phones on EastLink’s alphanumeric channels. Aliant points out that Bragg’s refusal in October 2004 to allow it to advertise its wireless phones came shortly after EastLink signed an agreement with Rogers Wireless that would enable cellular options in its bundles. It hints that Rogers and EastLink stand to benefit by Bragg’s use of its position as the sole cable service provider to deny Aliant the ability to advertise its telco products on the TV channels. In its complaint filed last month, Aliant asks the CRTC to issue a mandatory order requiring Bragg to immediately withdraw its refusal to accept Aliant advertising on its non-programming channels, and to give it access to its non-programming services for advertising purposes under the same conditions as Bragg provides itself and its affiliated telecommunications service providers. Aliant is pushing its case to the commission under both the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act. The telco states that EastLink is in breach of section 9 of the Broadcasting Distribution Rules, which specify that no licensee shall give an undue preference to any person, including itself, or subject any person to an undue disadvantage. "EastLink is a dominant service provider and through control over the content on cable-television channels is prohibiting access by one of its competitors to a scarce resource, namely the alpha-numeric channels," reads the Aliant complaint. "Refusing Aliant advertisements while airing Bragg affiliates’ (EastLink, EastLink Limited or, any other affiliate name) advertisements to promote telecommunications services gives an undue preference to Bragg and its affiliates and subjects Aliant to an undue disadvantage. Similarly, permitting other telecommunications service providers, such as competitive wireless service providers to advertise also subjects Aliant to an undue disadvantage," Aliant points out. The Atlantic telco, which is majority owned by Bell Canada, also charges that the ad refusal breaches section 27(2) of the Telecommunications Act. That section stipulates that "no Canadian carrier shall, in relation to the provision of a telecommunications service or charging of a rate for it, unjustly discriminate or give an undue or unreasonable preference toward any person, including itself, or subject any person to an undue or unreasonable disadvantage." Aliant writes, "Bragg is the major competitor to Aliant in the high-speed Internet and the local telephone services market in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Bragg is denying Aliant access to an advertising medium that it controls as a BDU covered under the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations, and more specifically as a distributor of non-programming services covered under the Act." According to the facts spelled out by Aliant, EastLink informed its media buyer Cossette Media Atlantic on October 8, 2004 in a telephone call, and later confirmed the decision in a letter dated October 12, that it would no longer accept any Aliant advertising on its non-programming alphanumeric cable TV channels in two Atlantic provinces. Aliant notes that EastLink is the only landline based broadcast distribution undertaking operating in the serving territory licensed to Bragg. Aliant tells the CRTC that it is "not filing this complaint frivolously" and has attempted to resolve the matter through discussions with Bragg.