ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 95-903

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Ottawa, 20 December 1995
Decision CRTC 95-903
Shaw Communications Inc., on behalf of a company to be incorporated
Across Canada - 952050300
New, national, direct-to-home satellite distribution undertaking
- Denied
Following a Public Hearing held in the National Capital Region beginning 30 October 1995, the Commission denies the application by Shaw Communications Inc., on behalf of a company to be incorporated (Homestar), for a broadcasting licence to carry on a new national direct-to-home (DTH) satellite distribution undertaking. The proposal was for a service to be owned by a consortium of cable operators, led by Shaw Communications Inc. and Le Groupe Vidéotron Ltée. A 20% ownership interest had been reserved for a U.S. partner. This and other decisions issued today are introduced by Public Notice CRTC 1995-217.
The proposed service was to offer three basic service tiers, and various discretionary programming packages, largely in accordance with the distribution and linkage rules established for Class 1 cable distribution undertakings.
The Homestar application included plans to distribute authorized U.S. programming services direct from a U.S. satellite, specifically the Primestar satellite DTH service currently operating as a medium-power Ku-band DTH service. Subsequent to the filing of the Homestar application, the planned migration of the Primestar DTH service to a high-power direct broadcast satellite (DBS) became uncertain, due to a ruling by the Federal Communications Commission, placing in doubt the availability of the Primestar services for Homestar's use as proposed. This situation has the potential to jeopardize the planned source of the authorized U.S. services as proposed by Homestar in its application and certain aspects of the technical configuration planned by Homestar.
Given this turn of events, the Commission has significant concerns as to whether the Homestar application would be implemented as filed. The Commission is particularly concerned that licensing this proposal would mean that the Commission is prepared to authorize a proposed undertaking for which a significant component remains doubtful at this time and for an uncertain future. Accordingly, in order to preserve the integrity of its licensing process, the Commission has denied this application.
The Commission notes that, given the importance of establishing and entrenching attractive Canadian DTH services, both as competitors to cable and as strong Canadian alternatives to unauthorized non-Canadian Direct Broadcast Satellite services potentially available in the Canadian market, and as announced today in Public Notice CRTC 1995-217, it is generally not disposed to begin to process further applications for new Canadian DTH distribution undertakings until six months after the two DTH distribution undertakings licensed in Decisions CRTC 95-901 and 95-902, issued today, have commenced delivery of services to subscribers.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General

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