ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2004-86

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Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2004-86


See also: 2004-86-1

Ottawa, 12 November 2004


Call for comments on changes to the winback rules regarding their application to both customers and subscribers

  The Commission seeks public comment on whether the winback rules should be modified to apply to both customers and subscribers. Instructions for filing comments are provided at the end of the notice.



In CISC Dispute - Rules Regarding Communication Between the Customer and the Broadcasting Distribution Undertaking, CRTC letter decision dated 1 April 1999, the Commission established rules (the winback rules) that prohibit the targeted marketing by incumbent cable companies of customers who have cancelled basic cable service. These rules require incumbent cable companies to refrain, for a period of 90 days, from:
  • directly contacting customers who, through an agent, have notified their cable company of their intention to cancel basic cable service; and
  • offering discounts or other inducements not generally offered to the public, in instances when customers personally initiated contact with the cable company for the purpose of cancelling basic cable service.


In Changes to the winback rules for broadcasting distribution undertakings, Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2004-62, 13 August 2004, the Commission announced that it would retain the above winback rules with respect to customers in multiple-unit dwellings (MUDs), and introduced additional winback rules to govern the conduct of incumbent broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) with 6,000 or more subscribers in their dealings with residents of MUDs. In that notice, the Commission further prohibited such incumbent cable companies from:
  • initiating communication with residents of a MUD for a period of 90 days from the date on which a new entrant enters into an access agreement to provide service in the MUD; and
  • engaging in the targeted marketing of all residents of a MUD, or from offering them discounts or other inducements not generally available to the public, for a period of 90 days following the date on which a new entrant enters into an access agreement to offer services in the MUD.


As noted above, the winback rules set out in the Commission's letter of 1 April 1999 make specific reference to "customers." In Complaint by Bell ExpressVu Limited Partnership against Rogers Cable Inc. alleging certain anti-competitive practices, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2004-494, of today's date (Decision 2004-494), the Commission announced that it would seek public comment on whether the winback rules should apply to both "customers" and "subscribers."


The Broadcasting Distribution Regulations specifically distinguish between "customer" and "subscriber," which are defined as follows:

"customer" means a person who is liable for payment for programming services that are distributed by a licensee and that are received directly or indirectly by one or more subscribers. It does not include the owner or operator of a hotel, hospital, nursing home or other commercial or institutional premises.


"subscriber" means
a) a household of one or more persons, whether occupying a single-unit dwelling or a unit in a multiple-unit dwelling, to which service is provided directly or indirectly by a licensee; or
b) the owner or operator of a hotel, hospital, nursing home or other commercial or institutional premises to which service is provided by a licensee.


In Decision 2004-494, the Commission noted that, in the case of a bulk services agreement, the "customer" would be the condominium corporation, or landlord as the case may be, that enters into a bulk-billing agreement with the BDU and is liable for payment for the services distributed under that agreement, and not the condominium unit holder or tenant. Therefore, in these circumstances, on a strict reading of the rules, the winback rules would prohibit a BDU from contacting the board or landlord but not the end-user.


In Decision 2004-494, the Commission also stated its preliminary view that the objective of the winback rules would be better achieved by ensuring that they apply to both the customer and the subscriber, when basic cable service has been cancelled. The principle would apply equally whether the subscribers are tenants or condominium unit holders in a MUD.

Call for comments


The Commission seeks comment on whether the winback rules should be modified to apply to both customers and subscribers. This modification is intended to ensure, among other things, that the incumbent BDU cannot contact directly, during the established period, any of the residents of MUDs, including individual condominium unit holders or tenants, that were subject to a bulk billing agreement that has been cancelled, and cannot provide inducements, that are not generally offered to the public, to a subscriber in a MUD that has contacted the BDU directly to terminate basic cable service.


The Commission will accept comments that it receives on or before Monday, 13 December 2004.


The Commission will not formally acknowledge comments. It will, however, fully consider all comments and they will form part of the public record of the proceeding, provided that the procedures for filing set out below have been followed.

Procedures for filing comments


Interested parties can file their comments to the Secretary General of the Commission by using ONE of the following formats:
  • Intervention/Comments form
    available from the Commission's web site by indicating and selecting the public notice number under the Decisions, Notices and Orders section


  • by electronic mail to


  • by mail to
    CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2


  • by fax at
    (819) 994-0218


Submissions longer than five pages should include a summary.


Please number each paragraph of your submission. In addition, please enter the line ***End of document*** following the last paragraph. This will help the Commission verify that the document has not been damaged during transmission.


The Commission will make comments filed in electronic form available on its web site at but only in the official language and format in which they are submitted. Such comments may be accessed in the Public Proceedings section of the CRTC web site. Copies of all comments, whether filed on paper or in electronic form, will also be placed on the public examination file.


The Commission encourages interested parties to monitor the public examination file and the Commission's web site for additional information that they may find useful when preparing their comments.

Examination of public comments and related documents at the following Commission offices during normal business hours

  Central Building
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
1 Promenade du Portage, Room G-5
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0N2
Tel: (819) 997-2429 - TDD: 994-0423
Fax: (819) 994-0218
  Metropolitan Place
99 Wyse Road
Suite 1410
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B3A 4S5
Tel: (902) 426-7997 - TDD: 426-6997
Fax: (902) 426-2721
  405 de Maisonneuve Blvd. East
2nd Floor, Suite B2300
Montréal, Quebec H2L 4J5
Tel: (514) 283-6607
Fax: (514) 283-3689
  55 St. Clair Avenue East
Suite 624
Toronto, Ontario M4T 1M2
Tel: (416) 952-9096
Fax: (416) 954-6343
  Kensington Building
275 Portage Avenue
Suite 1810
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2B3
Tel: (204) 983-6306 - TDD: 983-8274
Fax: (204) 983-6317
  Cornwall Professional Building
2125 - 11th Avenue
Room 103
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 3X3
Tel: (306) 780-3422
Fax: (306) 780-3319
  10405 Jasper Avenue
Suite 520
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3N4
Tel: (780) 495-3224
Fax: (780) 495-3214
  530-580 Hornby Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3B6
Tel: (604) 666-2111 - TDD: 666-0778
Fax: (604) 666-8322
  Secretary General
  This document is available in alternate format upon request and may also be examined at the following Internet site:

Date Modified: 2004-12-08

Date modified: