ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Commission Letter addressed to Cynthia Rathwell (Shaw Communications Inc.)

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Ottawa, 18 February 2015


Ms. Cynthia Rathwell
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs
Shaw Communications Inc.
40 Elgin Street, Suite 1400
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5K6

RE: Part 1 Application by Star Choice Television Network Incorporated (“Shaw Direct”) to request certain expedited relief in connection with the requirements for mandatory distribution of emergency alert messages set out in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2014-444

Dear Ms. Rathwell:

This letter is in response to the above-noted application by Star Choice Television Network Incorporated (Shaw Direct) requesting an extension to the date by which Shaw Direct must implement a public alerting system, consistent with the determinations in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2014-444, Amendments to various regulations, the standard conditions of licence for video-on-demand undertakings and certain exemption orders - Provisions requiring the mandatory distribution of emergency alert messages (BRP 2014-444).

In order to complete the analysis of this application, please provide responses to the following questions:

Solution alternatives:

  1.  Confirm if the legacy receivers (i.e. receivers impacting the Affected Customers) are capable of relaying emergency alert messages using text-crawls.
  2. In paragraph 34 of its application, as part of its proposed communications plan, Shaw Direct refers to messages being pushed to DSRs from March 2 to March 20, 2015, limited to 65,000 per day.
    1. Confirm the method of delivery (ex. VCOs, TAMs, etc.).
    2. Confirm the length and duration the message will remain visible.
    3. Confirm if end-user action is required to clear the pushed message.
    4. Explain the rationale for limiting the notice period to March 2 to March 20 compared with continuing the messaging either i) indefinitely, ii) for a reasonable period after 31 March 2015 (e.g. for one month afterwards, or six months), and iii) throughout the Transition Period (i.e. until 31 March 2016).  
  3. Confirm if the legacy receivers (either the same or similar models) are utilized elsewhere in North America by other providers and if they are utilized for Emergency Alerting.  Please confirm if Shaw Direct has attempted dialogue with any such providers for assistance in creating a solution for Emergency Alerting, whether or not fully compliant with BRP 2014-444.
  4. In its application, Shaw Direct outlines technical solutions which it explored (software updates, email alerts, VCOs, TAMs, Source switching, etc.) as well as the reasons why they are not feasible. List these solutions in order of “mostly compliant” to “least compliant” with BRP 2014-444.  As part of this list, provide the criteria used to create the list (ex. message delivery latency, national vs. geographic, etc.).
  5. In its application, Shaw Direct discusses the option of “Source switching”. Confirm if Source switching can be implemented for the Affected Customers on a national basis while maintaining target-message-delivery for all other viewers.

Affected Customer Profile

  1. Confirm if the Affected Customers own or lease (or combination) the incompatible receivers.
  2. In paragraphs 2 and 15 of its application, Shaw Direct estimates there to be 223,000 Affected Customers as of January 2015.  Provide an estimate, based on Shaw Direct’s proposed transition plan, of the number of Affected Customers expected to be remaining by March 31, 2016, being the end of Shaw Direct’s requested extension.


  1. In paragraph 32 of its application, Shaw Direct estimated the cost to Shaw Direct to provide DSR600 receivers to the Affected Customers.  Please elaborate on the cost structure of this proposal, including the purchase price to Shaw Direct from the manufacturer, the amount which Shaw Direct proposes to subsidize, and the cost of the receiver to the consumer.  Please provide the breakdown both in total, and on a per unit basis.
  2.  In paragraph 32 of its application, Shaw Direct states that upgrading legacy receivers to the DSR600 receivers will not result in higher revenue. Elaborate on whether or not the upgrade will result in an increased opportunity for additional revenue through services or features that are not available on the legacy receivers.

Please provide your response by no later than 24 February 2015 by using the secured service “My CRTC Account” (Partner Log In or GCKey). Copies of your response should also be sent to

We also request that you repeat each question in your response.

Procedural request

Shaw Direct requested that the Commission consider the application on an expedited basis, in view of the fact that participation in the National Public Alerting System is required by no later than 31 March 2015.

Given the importance of the implementation of the mandatory distribution of emergency alert messages, Commission staff considers it important to give interested persons a reasonable opportunity to comment on Shaw Direct’s application.

Considering the procedural request, and the issuance of the above-listed requests for information, the timetable for the proceeding is changed as follows:

Interventions may be filed by 3 March 2015

Shaw Direct may file its reply comments, if applicable, by 6 March 2015.

A copy of this letter and all related correspondence will be added to the public record associated with your application.

Should you need further information concerning this procedural letter, please do not hesitate to contact me at 613-410-8708 or

Yours sincerely,

Original signed by

Stephan Meyer
Manager, Network Technology


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