Bell proposes new "freesat" service as part of innovative public policy solutions to benefit Canadian consumers and broadcasting industry

    OTTAWA, Ontario, April 29 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell today proposed a series of
innovative public policy and regulatory recommendations designed to address
financial challenges facing the broadcasting industry, including a proposal to
provide Canadians who currently rely on analog over-the-air television with a
package of local and regionally relevant over-the-air television channels free
of charge as part of the transition to digital broadcasting.
    If conventional broadcasters do not replace all their analog towers with
digital towers, many Canadians are at risk of losing access to over-the-air
television channels. Bell's "freesat" proposal would guarantee consumer access
to these TV channels, helping avoid any new tax on consumers or a government
bailout for Canadian broadcasters. Consumers would be required only to
purchase a compatible satellite dish and digital receiver.
    "Our 'freesat' proposal addresses the needs of Canadian consumers who
rely on over-the-air television channels," said Kevin Crull, President, Bell
Residential Services. "If Bell's recommendations are accepted by the CRTC,
then consumers would be able to receive a package of at least five digital TV
channels without having to subscribe to Bell TV. For many consumers, that's
more channels than they can access today over the air."
    Bell submitted its proposals to the CRTC as part of a licensing renewal
proceeding underway for Canada's major broadcasters. In contrast to proposals
from broadcasters, "freesat" and other solutions put forward by Bell would
benefit consumers without impairing the company's ability to compete in
broadcasting distribution.
    Many of Canada's leading broadcasters are arguing they need new sources
of funding to support a changing business model, including a
"fee-for-carriage" that would essentially amount to an additional tax on
satellite and cable companies' customers. Bell's proposals would help
eliminate the need for fee-for-carriage or any increase to other subsidies.
    "Our 'freesat' proposal offers significant public interest benefits,"
added Mirko Bibic, Bell's Senior Vice-President, Regulatory and Government
Affairs. "It would be good for Canadian consumers and it would enable Canadian
broadcasters to save hundreds of millions of dollars by not having to
construct new digital infrastructure."

    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 Telecommunications
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 For corporate information on BCE, please visit

For further information:

For further information: Jacqueline Michelis, Bell Media Relations,
(613) 785-1427, 1-888-482-0809,

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