ARCHIVED -  Public Notice CRTC 1997-97

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Public Notice
CRTC 1997-97

Ottawa, 22 July 1997

Request by Cancom to Add its Authorized Canadian Television Services to Section B of the List of Part II Eligible Satellite Services - Denied

In Public Notice CRTC 1997-20 dated 21 February 1997, the Commission announced a request by Canadian Satellite Communications Inc. (Cancom) to add all of its authorized Canadian television services to Section B of the list of Part II Eligible Satellite Services.

Approval of this request would mean that those television services could be distributed without the need to obtain prior Commission approval, on a discretionary basis, by any cable licensee holding a Class 1 licence, or a Class 2 licence for an undertaking that has 2,000 or more but less than 6,000 subscribers, as long as they are distributed in a package with Canadian pay television services.

The Commission’s current policy with respect to distant signals, as set out in Public Notice CRTC 1993-74 dated 3 June 1993 (P.N. 1993-74), stipulates that the distribution of distant Canadian signals by Class 1 licensees and by Class 2 licensees with 2,000 or more but less than 6,000 subscribers requires an application by cable licensees for prior Commission approval.

In an opposing intervention to this application, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) stated that Cancom’s request amounts to a partial reversal of the Commission’s policy on the carriage of distant Canadian signals in that distant Canadian signals could be carried on a discretionary tier without the need for Commission approval and without the opportunity for local broadcasters to comment. The Commission notes that CanWest Global System, in its intervention to this application submitted on behalf of Global Television, supported the position put forward by the CAB.

The Commission also notes that, as required by some of its programming contracts, WIC Television Ltd. (WIC), licensee of CHAN-TV Vancouver, CITV-TV Edmonton and CHCH-TV Hamilton, objected to the retransmission of its signals via cable as proposed. WIC pointed out that it did not oppose Cancom’s request on policy grounds.

In its reply, Cancom suggested that the Commission was prompted, as outlined in P.N. 1993-74, to limit the distribution of additional distant Canadian signals primarily due to the appearance of high penetration discretionary tiers, and that the carriage of Canadian signals on a very low penetration tier, which includes pay television services, was not addressed in the 1993 policy statement.

With respect to Cancom’s statement, the Commission notes that it indicated, in P.N. 1993-74, that it would require an application, in all cases, for the distribution of distant Canadian signals.

Having considered the views expressed by the parties, the Commission is convinced that the maintenance of the current guidelines on the cable distribution of distant Canadian television signals, as set out in Public Notice CRTC 1993-74, is warranted. This will ensure that local broadcasters retain an opportunity to comment on the addition of any distant Canadian signal by Class 1 undertakings and large Class 2 undertakings, either on high or low penetration discretionary tiers, and will enable the Commission to continue to take into account any potential adverse impact on such broadcasters.

In view of the foregoing, the Commission denies Cancom’s request.

Laura M. Talbot-Allan
Secretary General

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