Bell Canada has announced the launch of an on-demand mobile TV app, but the app’s name has an unfortunate ring to some ears.
Simply put, Bell’s Alt TV app sounds a bit too much like “alt right” for some.
Use of the term “alt-right,” referring to ultra-conservative white nationalists, mushroomed in the wake of Donald Trump's election to the White House.
"I don't understand how this passed muster, given that Bell has been pretty careful about what it names things, and is a pretty conservative company when it comes to getting noticed for the wrong reasons," Mobile Nations tech analyst Daniel Bader told CBC News.
Rizwan Jamal, president of residential and small business services at Bell, told the network the name refers to the “alt” button on keyboards, in an effort to attract tech-savvy customers.
Starting at $14.95 a month for 30 Canadian and U.S. channels, the Alt TV app will allow customers to stream live TV to the device of their choice. There's one big catch: It requires a subscription to Bell’s Fibe Internet service.
Alt TV will be initially available in Ontario and Quebec, and will be expanded later to Atlantic Canada and Manitoba, Bell said in a statement.
Bell says using the Alt TV app will not count towards Fibe customers’ data usage caps — a move some observers say violates Canada’s net neutrality rules.
“Not counting a specific app against data usage caps is specifically prohibited by the CRTC’s net neutrality rules. Indeed, the ink is barely dry on that order, which came down just a few weeks ago,” tech blogger Peter Nowak wrote.
But certain “managed services,” such as telephone services over Internet lines, are exempt from the new rules. Bell’s Jamal told CBC the company is “confident” Alt TV will be recognized as a managed service.
“The company will have a hard time proving it,” Nowak wrote.
CORRECTION:An earlier version of this article stated that a subscription to Bell Fibe TV is needed to access Alt TV. In fact, a subscription to Bell Fibe Internet is required.
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