OTTAWA, March 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell is disappointed with today's decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to force satellite and cable companies to negotiate a fee with broadcasters for the mandatory carriage of local television signals that are already available for free over the air. Implementation of the regime will take effect if the Federal Court of Appeal determines the CRTC has the jurisdiction to impose its preferred regime.
"Today's decision is bad news for Canadian consumers. The CRTC is prepared to have Canadians pay even more to subsidize profitable broadcasters and their ever-increasing spending on U.S. programming," said Kevin Crull, President of Bell Residential Services. "It is outrageous for the CRTC to completely ignore the huge profits broadcasters are making from their specialty channels, not to mention the fact that they are increasing what they spend in the U.S. while they are actually cutting Canadian content at the same time."
Canada's major TV broadcasters have campaigned relentlessly for additional revenues from Canadian satellite and cable customers. They persuaded the CRTC to accept this new subsidy despite the fact the Commission had twice before rejected similar demands.
"It is unfortunate that TV networks that are already receiving millions in consumer subsidies for the very local programming they continue to cut are allowed once again to dip their hands in the pockets of Canadian consumers," said Mirko Bibic, Bell's Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Government Affairs. "There is no public policy merit in imposing yet another regulatory tax on consumers - especially when this is money broadcasters will simply send south of the border. We intend to participate in the Federal Court of Appeal hearing. We do not believe the CRTC has the jurisdiction to impose this TV tax."
Bell TV has invested more than two billion dollars in its satellite TV service over the last 12 years. Despite success in attracting customers with a great product and considerable choice, including the most High Definition channels in Canada, Bell TV has yet to return a profit in the intensely competitive video market.
Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers and business with solutions to all their communications needs, including Bell Mobility 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 Games.
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.
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For further information: For further information: Jacqueline Michelis, Bell Media Relations, (613) 785-1427, 1-888-482-0809, firstname.lastname@example.org