ARCHIVED -  Public Notice CRTC 1992-22

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Public Notice
Ottawa, 16 March 1992
Public Notice CRTC 1992-22
The purpose of this public notice is to inform cable television licensees and the public about the role of the Cable Television Standards Council (the Council) in the adjudication of disputes between cable television licensees, their subscribers and members of the public. The Council provides a means of complaint resolution in accordance with the provisions of the Cable Television Customer Service Standards (the Standards).
In 1988, the Canadian cable television industry established an independent body known as the Cable Television Standards Foundation (the Foundation) to oversee the implementation of voluntary standards and codes that would be developed by the industry from time to time to address specific issues of concern.
The Foundation is currently responsible for administering the Standards, which were accepted by the Commission in Public Notice CRTC 1991-60 dated 10 June 1991. The Foundation expected its members to be in compliance with the requirements of the Standards as of 1 January 1992. As noted in the Standards, the members of the Foundation are committed to provide every customer with:
* the most economic and reliable technologies capable of providing high-quality signals to the customer's home;
* access to a comprehensive selection of entertainment and informational video and audio products at reasonable prices;
* convenient access to friendly, courteous and competent employees who can provide assistance; and,
* clear and comprehensive billing for cable television services.
The Commission notes that approximately 85% of the members of the Canadian Cable Television Association (the CCTA) are also members of the Foundation. It further notes that membership in the Foundation is open to all cable licensees, and not just members of the CCTA.
The Council is a three-person body that includes two appointees of the Foundation. These are the President of the Foundation, and a second individual representing consumer interests. The Council's chairperson is elected from outside the cable industry by the other two members. The Council is responsible for resolving disputes arising between those cable television licensees who are members of the Foundation and their subscribers or other parties. The Commission notes the emerging role of the Council in the adjudication of complaints, and is confident that the Council will provide an increasingly important and useful mechanism for addressing complaints about compliance by Foundation members with the requirements of the Standards, as well as related operational matters. Accordingly, the Commission announces that it intends to refer to the Council, for its consideration and resolution, all complaints it may receive in future from members of the public regarding the practices of Foundation members in areas that fall within the scope of the Standards.
Nevertheless, the Commission wishes to emphasize that any interested party may, at any time, choose to approach the Commission directly. The Commission also notes that it will continue to deal directly with alleged breaches of the Cable Television Regulations, 1986, as well as with complaints about matters that are not covered by the Standards.
The Commission recognizes the importance of the Council in ensuring the effective implementation of the Standards. It further recognizes that the Council may reasonably be expected to play an important role with respect to any additional codes or standards developed by the cable industry that are submitted to, and accepted by, the Commission in the future.
The Commission will carefully monitor the activities of the Council in carrying out its new responsibilities. It expects to be informed of Council activities on an ongoing basis, and to be provided with timely updates on Foundation membership. In addition, the Commission expects to receive annual reports from the Council setting out the information specified in the attached Appendix. The first such annual report should cover the year ending 31 December 1992, and should be filed with the Commission no later than 31 March 1993. Reports for subsequent years should also be filed by 31 March in the year following. The Commission intends to review the success of the Council in meeting its objectives after three years.
RELATED DOCUMENTS: Public Notices CRTC 1991-90 dated 30 August 1991 ("Canadian Broadcast Standards Council"); CRTC 1991-60 dated 10 June 1991 ("Cable Television Customer Service Standards"); CRTC 1990-53 dated 15 May 1990 ("Cable Television Regulations, 1986 - Changes to the Regulation of Subscriber Fees and Related Matters"); and CRTC 1988-13 dated 29 January 1988 ("Guidelines for Developing Industry-Administered Standards").
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General
In its annual report to the CRTC, the Cable Television Standards Council is to provide details on the following:
1. All educational activities undertaken by the Cable Television Standards Foundation during the year. This would include, but not be limited to, the identification of new or emerging issues.
2. All promotional material made available by the Foundation to the public and to member cable licensees.
3. For each industry code accepted by the CRTC and administered by the Foundation, a summary and statistical information concerning all complaints dealt with by the Council during the year, broken out on a regional basis, with respect to:
 a) the general subject matter of the complaints, linked, where applicable, to the specific standards alleged to have been breached;
 b) the disposition of all complaints dealt with by the Council; and,
 c) for those complaints where the Council issues a written decision, the date of receipt of the complaint and the date of the Council's written decision.

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