ARCHIVED -  Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 1996-11

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Notice of Public Hearing

Ottawa, 27 September 1996
Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 1996-11
7 OCTOBER 1996, 9:00 A.M
In Public Notice CRTC 1996-69, dated 17 May 1996, the Commission announced a two-stage written comment process on its proposed approach to the regulation of broadcasting distribution undertakings, to be followed by an oral public hearing. The Commission hereby announces that this oral public hearing will be held in the National Capital Region at the Conference Centre, 140 Promenade du Portage, Portage IV, Hull, Quebec, commencing on 7 October 1996 at 9:00 A.M.
The written comments submitted by interested parties may be examined in the Commission's offices, as listed in this Notice of Public Hearing.
1. Scope of oral public hearing
There are several issues, including those identified in Public Notice CRTC 1996-69 and others raised in the written comments, that will require determination as part of this proceeding. However, in the context of the oral public hearing, the Commission intends to focus its questioning on the following matters that it considers require further discussion before it can make a determination:
Rate Regulation
·  the test for deregulating the basic service fees of existing Class 1 cable systems
·  issues relating to proposed revisions to the existing fee increase mechanisms
Financial contributions to Canadian programming
·  the allocation of contributions between local expression and an independently-administered production fund
·  models for local expression by existing and new distributors
Competitive Issues
·  access to programming by new distributors
access to existing inside wiring by new distributors
·  competitive access to apartment buildings and condominiums
·  resale of cable service
Simultaneous Substitution
·  the extension of simultaneous substitution privileges to pay and specialty services
·  CAB's proposal concerning "strip substitution"
Signal Carriage Rules
·  the availability of CPAC on an equitable, non-discriminatory basis
·  whether terrestrial distributors should be required to distribute the proceedings of the relevant provincial legislature
·  whether wireless terrestrial distributors should be required to distribute local radio stations
·  issues relating to the distribution of the U.S. 4+1 signals by terrestrial and DTH distribution undertakings
·  issues relating to the buy-through of basic service
·  the regional licence concept
·  whether the Commission should continue to assess, on a case-by-case basis, if the licensing of a competitive distributor would have an undue negative impact on the provision of service to the public.
For those issues not identified above, the Commission considers that the written record is clear, and that further discussion at the oral public hearing is not required. Parties are advised that the Commission has not come to any conclusion with respect to those particular issues.
2. Time for oral presentations
The Commission has received a large number of requests for appearance. In order to make the most effective use of time at the oral public hearing, the Commission will allow parties a maximum of 10 minutes in which to make a presentation. The Commission will follow with specific questions it wishes to explore with the various participants.
The Commission wishes to advise parties participating in this process that the following issues, which were raised in some of the submissions but which were not identified in Public Notice CRTC 1996-69, are not being considered as part of this proceeding.
1. Non-simultaneous-substitution
In Public Notice CRTC 1996-69, the Commission proposed certain refinements to the existing simultaneous substitution (SS) regulations, in particular with respect to imposing simultaneous substitution obligations on some Class 2 distribution undertakings, and extending substitution privileges to Canadian specialty and pay television services.
In its submission, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB), in addition to proposing certain other enhancements to the existing simultaneous substitution provisions, also proposed a number of "advanced" substitution measures, including non-simultaneous substitution.
The Commission considers that the CAB's proposals with respect to "advanced" substitution measures are beyond the intended scope of this proceeding, and therefore will not entertain discussion of such measures at the oral public hearing. The Commission is, however, prepared to explore the CAB's proposal with respect to "strip substitution" at the oral public hearing.
The Commission intends to announce, before the end of the year, how it intends to proceed with respect to examining the feasibility and options associated with non-simultaneous substitution and other "advanced" substitution measures.
2. Administration of Production Fund
In Public Notice CRTC 1996-69, the Commission proposed a model under which broadcasting distribution undertakings would make contributions to the creation and presentation of Canadian programming, including a specified level of financial contribution to an independantly-administered production fund. Many of the interested parties who have addressed this subject have also provided suggestions on the manner in which the monies contributed to the production fund should be administered, the criteria that would determine who would be eligible to access the fund, and the specific types of programming that should be supported by the fund.
The Commission considers that such issues are outside the scope of this proceeding.
3. Elimination of the Benefits Test for
Programming Undertakings
In Public Notice CRTC 1996-69, the Commission announced that, in assessing an application for authority to transfer the ownership or effective control of a broadcasting distribution undertaking, it would no longer require prospective purchasers to identify the significant and unequivocal benefits that would result if the transaction was approved.
The Commission set out its rationale for terminating the benefits test with respect to the acquisition of distribution undertakings, while maintaining it for acquisitions involving programming undertakings, in Public Notice CRTC 1996-69. Nevertheless. a number of submissions have proposed that the Commission should also eliminate the benefits test in the case of transfers of ownership or control of programming undertakings.
This proceeding is intended to develop the regulatory framework as it pertains to broadcasting distribution undertakings. Issues related to the regulatory framework for programming undertakings are beyond the scope of this proceeding. Accordingly, the proposal to eliminate the benefits test in the case of transfers of ownership or control of programming undertakings will not be discussed at the oral public hearing.
4. Licence Fees
Although not specifically addressed in the notice, several submissions have raised issues related the the payment of licence fees. The Commission does not intend to review such matters in the context of this proceeding.
The Commission intends, in the near future, to announce a separate process concerning the introduction of new licence fee regulations. Interested parties will be afforded, at that time, an opportunity to provide their comments on matters related to the calculation and payment of licence fees.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General

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