ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 2001-265
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BY FAX: (416) 935-4875
Decision CRTC 2001-265
Ottawa, 11 May 2001
Dear Ms. Dinsmore:
This letter is in response to the request by Rogers Cable Inc. and Rogers Cablesystems Ontario Limited (Rogers) for basic cable rate increases for Cable Pulse 24 (CP 24) and Star! in York, Etobicoke, Toronto/Peel and Downsview. This request was filed pursuant to Subsection 53(1) and Subparagraph 52(2) of the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations (the Regulations).
By majority vote, the Commission has decided to disallow the proposed rate increases described in your letter of April 6, 2001, pursuant to Section 54(2)(b) of the Regulations.
The Commission is aware that these rate increase applications are related to a proposed resolution of a longstanding dispute between Rogers and CHUM Ltd. over the distribution of Star! and Canadian Learning Television.
In this instance, the Commission notes that the proposed resolution would lead to an increase in the number of services on basic, as well as the cost to subscribers. The Commission remains concerned with maintaining affordable basic rates.
With respect to the proposed increase for CP 24, the Commission notes that it has just recently granted a licence amendment allowing this service to solicit local advertising (Decision CRTC 2000-438, 14 November, 2000). Part of the rationale for allowing this was the fact that CP 24 stated that "significant subscriber revenues have not been realized". Given this, the Commission does not consider it appropriate to authorize an increase in the basic rate for CP 24's carriage. The Commission also notes that CP 24 was not part of the original dispute between CHUM and Rogers, but the whole became linked in the dispute resolution process.
While the Commission encourages the use of alternative dispute resolution and hesitates to intervene in agreements between the two parties, the Commission must also take into account the public interest when evaluating the results of the dispute resolutions. The Commission considers that it would not be in the public interest to approve these particular increases. Accordingly, if there still is a dispute between the parties, the Commission encourages them to find a resolution that will more fully take into account the interests of the subscribers.
By May 25th, 2001, please confirm with the Commission, in writing, that no increase to the basic monthly fee will be implemented on June 6th, 2001. If fees above the authorized amounts have already been collected in advance then, in accordance with section 56 of the Broadcast Distribution Regulations, please indicate the means by which subscribers will receive "a refund or credit that is equal to the unauthorized amounts paid by each subscriber."
cc: CHUM Ltd.
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