OTTAWA, July 6 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell is extremely disappointed with today's
announcement of two new television subsidies by the Canadian Radio-television
and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) that will see millions of dollars
flow from consumers to broadcasting corporations.
The CRTC's decision to impose a 1.5 per cent tax on satellite and cable
service providers and their customers, called the Local Programming
Improvement Fund (LPIF), will see service providers and consumers pay more
than $100 million a year extra to fund the development of local programming by
Canadian broadcasters. Bell will begin collecting these fees on Bell TV bills
beginning in September.
Similarly, the CRTC's announcement today that it supports "fee for
carriage" will also mean significant new subsidies paid by consumers to
broadcasting corporations - despite multiple CRTC rejections of
fee-for-carriage subsidies in the past and no evidence that broadcasters need
"With this new LPIF contribution requirement coming on top of the nearly
$400 million that television service providers and their customers already
contribute each year to support broadcasters and the production of Canadian
content, it's clear that there is more than ample funding in the system," said
Mirko Bibic, Bell's Senior Vice President, Regulatory and Government Affairs.
"That reality makes the CRTC's support of yet another new broadcasting
tax, in the form of fee-for-carriage payments to broadcasters by TV service
providers and their customers, all the more perplexing," he said.
Despite having twice denied demands by broadcasters, most recently in
2008, to impose an additional fee-for-carriage tax on over-the-air signals
that satellite and cable service providers are obliged to carry, the CRTC said
today that it is "now of the view that a negotiated solution for compensation
for the free market value of local conventional television signals is also
appropriate." The CRTC has even raised the possibility that it will cut off
Canadian consumers' access to U.S. broadcast signals if such fees cannot be
"The CRTC should simply have dismissed broadcaster demands for consumers
to pay yet more fees. It's clear that the only beneficiaries of these new TV
taxes will be the major broadcasting corporations," said Bibic. "The CRTC's
new stance is especially concerning considering the House of Commons Standing
Committee on Canadian Heritage decided last month not to recommend such fees -
a decision that included the categorical rejection of a fee-for-carriage tax
by the Heritage Committee's government members."
Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers and
business with solutions to all their communications needs, including Bell
Mobility and Solo Mobile wireless, high-speed Bell Internet, Bell TV
direct-to-home satellite television, Bell Home phone local and long distance,
and IP-broadband and information and communications technology (ICT) services.
Bell is proud to be a Premier National Partner and the exclusive
Telecommunications Partner to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter
Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). 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: Jacqueline Michelis, Bell Media Relations,
(613) 785-1427, 1-888-482-0809, firstname.lastname@example.org