ARCHIVED - Telecom Order CRTC 2002-434

This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. Archived Decisions, Notices and Orders (DNOs) remain in effect except to the extent they are amended or reversed by the Commission, a court, or the government. The text of archived information has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Changes to DNOs are published as “dashes” to the original DNO number. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats by contacting us.


Telecom Order CRTC 2002-434

Ottawa, 21 November 2002

Telesat Canada

Reference: 8340-T3-0398/01

NIMIQ 2 Transponder Agreement


The Commission received an application by Telesat Canada (Telesat), dated 23 August 2002, for approval, pursuant to sections 25 and 27 of the Telecommunications Act (the Act), of the executed NIMIQ 2 Transponder Agreement (the Transponder Agreement) between Telesat and Bell ExpressVu Limited Partnership (Bell ExpressVu), to provide capacity for Direct Broadcasting Satellite (DBS) services over the life of the NIMIQ 2 satellite, nominally expected to be 12 years.


Telesat requested approval of the Transponder Agreement as a special facilities arrangement, consistent with the approach it took when it applied for approval of the existing NIMIQ DBS transponder agreements, approved in Telecom Order CRTC 97-1331, 15 September 1997 (Order 97-1331).


In support of its application, Telesat filed, among other things, a copy of the Department of Industry Spectrum Licence for NIMIQ 2's orbital position, a copy of a 17 August 2001 letter from the Canadian Satellite Users Association (CSUA) to the Department of Industry, a background description of the events leading to the Transponder Agreement, an overview of the key features of the Transponder Agreement as well as Telesat's submissions outlining the benefits of approving the agreement. Telesat served a copy of the above-noted documents on all parties registered as interested parties in the proceeding that led to Order 97-1331.


Telesat filed, in confidence, an executed copy of the Transponder Agreement and an economic study for the NIMIQ 2 service. Telesat stated that these documents contained detailed financial and commercial information, which, if disclosed, would cause harm to the parties to the agreement. Telesat noted that it had not provided an abridged version of either of these documents for the public record since, in its view, any abridged version would not be meaningful.


In its application, Telesat noted that, under the terms of the Transponder Agreement, it would own and operate the NIMIQ 2 satellite bus, while Bell ExpressVu would purchase all of the DBS transponders under a "condominium-style" arrangement. Telesat would be the satellite facilities provider and would provide all satellite operations, including tracking, telemetry and command, station-keeping, attitude control and other satellite monitoring and switching functions as well as administrative functions incidental to operating the satellite. Under the condominium-style payment mechanism of the Transponder Agreement, Bell ExpressVu would be responsible for two types of financial payments: (a) transponder purchase price prepayments and (b) operating fees based on a fixed price per transponder payable on a monthly basis. Resale of the DBS transponders would be permitted under the Transponder Agreement.


Telesat submitted that the Transponder Agreement would allow Bell ExpressVu to implement its plan for critical back-up and service expansion capacity. According to Telesat, this plan would ensure that Bell ExpressVu's subscribers had continuity of service in the event of a satellite failure and, in addition, would provide additional capacity to attract and retain Canadian direct-to-home subscribers within the Canadian broadcasting system.


Telesat noted that Bell ExpressVu had contracted for all of the DBS capacity on NIMIQ 2. Telesat noted, however, that an arrangement had been made between Bell ExpressVu, the CSUA and Telesat to allow other Canadian broadcasters to have access to DBS capacity from Bell ExpressVu under reasonable commercial terms and on a non-discriminatory basis.


Telesat noted that the satellite was scheduled to be launched in December 2002 and commercial service was expected to commence in the first quarter of 2003.


The Commission received no comments with respect to this application.

Commission analysis and determination


The Commission notes that Telesat served copies of its application on the CSUA and other persons, including Star Choice Television Network Incorporated, Shaw Communications Inc. and Canadian Cable Television Association, and that no one requested public disclosure of any of the information filed by Telesat in confidence or opposed Telesat's application.


The Commission considers that back-up DBS capacity that would result from the launch of the NIMIQ 2 satellite will provide important benefits to Bell ExpressVu's subscribers and to the broadcasting services distributed by Bell ExpressVu in the event of a catastrophic satellite failure. The Commission agrees with Telesat that this capacity is also beneficial by providing growth potential for Canadian DBS service.


The Commission is satisfied, based on the economic study for the NIMIQ 2 service, that the proposed transponder payments are compensatory in nature. Furthermore, the Commission notes, based on the evidence on the public record, that the CSUA has met with Telesat and Bell ExpressVu and has developed a plan to ensure that other Canadian broadcasters can have access to the DBS platform.


The Commission considers that approval of this application will contribute to the objectives of the Act. Accordingly, the Commission approves Telesat's application.


The Commission is not persuaded by Telesat's argument that an abridged version of the Transponder Agreement would not be meaningful, particularly in view of the fact that Telesat has already filed an overview of the key features of the Transponder Agreement for the public record and the fact that Telesat did file abridged versions of the existing NIMIQ transponder agreements pursuant to the Commission's direction in Order 97-1331. In order to complete the public record, the Commission directs Telesat to provide, within 60 days of the date of this order, an abridged version of the Transponder Agreement, providing justification for any abridgement in relation to the harm that would likely result from disclosure weighing it against the public interest in disclosure.

Secretary General

This document is available in alternative format upon request and may also be examined at the following Internet site: 

Date Modified: 2002-11-21

Date modified: