ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 96-777

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Ottawa, 5 December 1996
Decision CRTC 96-777
UMG Cable Telecommunications Inc.
Cobourg and Port Hope and surrounding area, Ontario - 951028000
Licence renewal
Following Public Notice CRTC 1996-46 dated 27 March 1996 and Decision CRTC 96-589 dated 30 August 1996, the Commission renews the Class 1 licence held by UMG Cable Telecommunications Inc. (UMG), for the cable distribution undertaking serving the above-noted communities, from 1 January 1997 to 31 August 2002.
The licence term granted herein, while less than the maximum of seven years permitted by the Broadcasting Act, will enable the Commission to consider the next licence renewal of this undertaking in accordance with the Commission's regional plan and to better distribute the workload within the Commission. The term is not reflective of any Commission concern regarding the licensee's performance.
The operation of this undertaking is regulated pursuant to Parts I, II and IV of the Cable Television Regulations, 1986 (the regulations) and the licence will be subject to the conditions in effect under the current licence, as well as to those conditions specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued.
In addition to the services required or authorized to be distributed pursuant to the applicable sections of the regulations, the licensee is authorized, by condition of licence, to continue to distribute, at its option, WXYZ-TV (ABC) and WDIV (NBC) Detroit Michigan, as well as WTOL-TV (CBS) Toledo, Ohio, received via satellite from CANCOM, as part of the basic service.
Consistent with Decision CRTC 91-468 dated 12 July 1991, by condition of licence, the licensee is relieved of the requirement of section 9 of the regulations to distribute TFO, the French-language educational television programming service operated by TVOntario, on the basic band, so long as the service is distributed as part of the basic service.
The licensee is relieved, by condition of licence, of the requirement of section 12 of the regulations to distribute the signal of CHEX-TV Peterborough on an unrestricted channel. Should the quality of the signal deteriorate significantly, the Commission expects the licensee to undertake immediate corrective action including, if necessary, the distribution of this service on another channel.
The Commission notes that the licensee is controlled by Shaw Communications Ltd. (Shaw). With respect to the development of community programming, the Commission draws to UMG's attention that, in Decision CRTC 95-57 dated 17 February 1995, it noted that, for each of its undertakings, Shaw will meet or exceed the Commission's policy guideline announced in Public Notice CRTC 1991-59, that 5% of base portion revenues be devoted to the operation of the community channel, exclusive of capital expenditures.
In Public Notice CRTC 1992-59 dated 1 September 1992 and entitled "Implementation of an Employment Equity Policy", the Commission announced that the employment equity practices of broadcasters would be subject to examination by the Commission. In this regard, the Commission encourages the licensee to consider employment equity issues in its hiring practices and in all other aspects of its management of human resources.
The Commission acknowledges the interventions received from Canadian specialty service licensees: CHUM Limited, licensee of Bravo!, Showcase Television Inc., licensee of Showcase, Your Channel Television Inc., licensee of the Life Network and Lifestyle Television (1994) Limited, licensee of the programming service WTN. These specialty licensees, while not opposing the renewal of the licence, wished to address the fact that the licensee is not presently distributing their respective services. Bravo!, Showcase and WTN requested that the licensee be required, by condition of licence, to carry their respective service on a high penetration discretionary tier and that the services be launched by a specific date.
In its reply, UMG indicated that available channel capacity is not an issue and that it has offered to carry these specialty services as part of an unscrambled discretionary tier, packaged with a pay television service, using negative trapping and the "positive option" marketing method.
In Public Notice CRTC 1996-60 entitled "Access Rules for Broadcasting Distribution Undertakings", the Commission determined that "a broadcasting distribution undertaking to which the access rules apply should distribute, as a general rule, the services of all licensed specialty and pay television undertakings appropriate for its market, to the extent of available channel capacity."
In this particular case, UMG has confirmed that lack of channel capacity is not an issue. Therefore, UMG is required to make available channels for the distribution of the programming services of the above-noted licensees on a discretionary basis or, with the agreement of the service provider, as part of the basic service.
At the same time, the Commission notes that the access rules do not guarantee that a given service will necessarily be distributed on a particular tier. Accordingly, the Commission is not prepared to impose a condition of licence requiring UMG to carry the services of the respective specialty licensees on a specific tier, nor that their services be launched by a specific date.
The Commission expects that UMG will negotiate, within a reasonable time period, appropriate carriage arrangements with each specialty service.
In this regard, the Commission notes its statement, in Public Notice CRTC 1996-60, that, "in general (emphasis added), it will not be disposed to entertain dispute resolution applications that deal with matters such as channel placement and the packaging and marketing of programmming services" as "these issues are essentially of a commercial nature and are best addressed without regulatory intervention".
This decision is to be appended to the licence.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General

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