CRTC seeks consumer input on television services

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, Oct. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - At the Government of Canada's request, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will hold a public hearing on the implications and advisability of implementing a compensation regime for the value of local television signals. The hearing will begin on December 7, 2009, in Gatineau, Que. The CRTC is considering whether local television stations should be allowed to negotiate compensation from cable and satellite companies for their signals.

"We are examining various facets of the Canadian broadcasting system as it adapts to an environment that is rapidly changing," said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. "We are discussing a number of regulatory changes with the industry to ensure the system's future health. It is important that consumers make their voices heard on the issues that affect them the most."

December public hearing

In a notice issued today, consumers and members of the industry are invited to share their views on how negotiated compensation may or may not impact:

    
    -   the affordability of cable and satellite television services
    -   the availability of local television services, including local news,
        information and public affairs programming
    -   the industry as it adapts to a digital communications environment,
        and
    -   current or future business models facilitating access to local
        television stations after the transition from analog to digital
        signals.
    

Given the scope of this hearing and comments already received from the public, it is expected that other issues closely linked to affordability will be raised. These include such issues as consumer choice, the availability of low-cost basic television service, smaller packages of pay and specialty services, the ability to select pay and specialty services on a stand-alone basis, as well as the challenges posed by the transition to digital local broadcasting. As a result, the CRTC will also accept comments on these issues.

Comments will be accepted until November 2, 2009. Canadians can participate in this proceeding by:

    
    -   filling out the online form
        support.crtc.gc.ca/rapidscin/default.aspx?lang=en&applicant=2009-614
    -   writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N2, or
    -   sending a fax, at 819-994-0218.
    

Those who wish to appear during the public hearing must indicate their interest in their written submission. Interested parties will also have the opportunity to participate in the hearing by videoconference from the Commission's regional offices. For more information on how to participate, please see the notice of consultation.

http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2009/2009-614.htm

The Commission will also hold an online consultation during the month of November to further encourage public discussion. Details will be made available on the CRTC's website in the coming weeks.

Following the conclusion of the hearing, the CRTC will submit a report to the government.

The CRTC

The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.

Reference document:

News release, "CRTC to seek views on a compensation regime for the value of local television signals," September 17, 2009

http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/NEWS/RELEASES/2009/r090917.htm

These documents are available in alternative format upon request.

SOURCE Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

For further information: For further information: Media Relations: http://support.crtc.gc.ca/CRTCSubmissionMU/forms/Mediarelations.aspx?lang=e, Tel: (819) 997-9403, Fax: (819) 997-4245; General Inquiries: Tel: (819) 997-0313, TDD: (819) 994-0423, Fax: (819) 994-0218, Toll-free No. 1-877-249-CRTC (2782), TDD - Toll-free No. 1-877-909-CRTC (2782), Ask a question or make a complaint http://crtc.gc.ca/RapidsCCM/Register.asp?lang=E


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