Bell Canada opposes imposition of new TV fees



    Files additional submission to CRTC broadcast review

    OTTAWA, Ontario, Jan. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell Canada will today file a
submission with the CRTC setting out its opposition to the introduction of a
'fee-for-carriage' on over-the-air (OTA) television signals, a proposition the
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) recently
agreed to examine as part of its ongoing review of the regulations governing
broadcast distribution undertakings (BDUs).
    "A fee-for-carriage regime would have a serious negative impact on all
sectors of the Canadian broadcasting system including consumers, BDUs, program
producers and specialty and pay services," said Gary Smith, President, Bell
ExpressVu. "In fact, the only beneficiary would be the big broadcasting
corporations themselves."
    Conventional broadcasters have been lobbying for years for the imposition
of a subscription fee, or 'fee-for-carriage' on BDUs, including satellite and
cable service providers, for delivering local channels that are currently
available free over-the-air. In its submission, Bell argues that nothing has
changed that would justify such a fee since the CRTC last rejected it in May
2007. The submission also presents the results of a national consumer survey
conducted by Harris/Decima demonstrating that the vast majority of Canadians
(84%) are opposed to subsidizing major TV networks through a fee-for-carriage
on their satellite or cable bills.
    "OTA broadcasters have neither made a case for regulatory intervention
nor for having their bottom lines propped up at all, let alone by BDUs and
their customers," added Mr. Smith. "Nothing has changed in the last eight
months to justify imposing what amounts to a new tax on Canadians' television
bills and potentially drive them to spend less on Canadian broadcasting."
    According to the Harris/Decima survey, conducted January 3-10, 2008, a
clear majority (65%) of TV subscribers would either downgrade or discontinue
their existing service if their bill increased by $5/month due to such a fee.
Many others (64%) indicate they would turn to alternative media, including the
Internet or U.S. satellite services.
    The survey has a national sample size of 1,793 satellite or cable
subscribers, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 per cent at the
95 per cent confidence level.

    About Bell

    Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers with
solutions to all their communications needs, including telephone services,
wireless communications, high-speed Internet, digital television and voice
over IP. Bell also offers integrated information and communications technology
(ICT) services to businesses and governments, and is the Virtual Chief
Information Officer (VCIO) to small and medium businesses (SMBs). Bell is
proud to be a Premier National Partner and the exclusive Communications
Partner to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Bell is
wholly owned by BCE Inc. For information on Bell's products and services,
please visit www.bell.ca. For corporate information on BCE, please visit
www.bce.ca.




For further information:

For further information: For media inquiries: Jacqueline Michelis, Bell
Canada, Media Relations, (416) 581-3311, 1 888 482-0809,
jacqueline.michelis@bell.ca

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