CCR Short Takes

Licensing framework for pay/specialties delayed
A CRTC decision on the much-anticipated licensing framework for new pay and specialty television services has been delayed until early January. A decision was expected before the commission breaks for the holidays. However, Andreé Wylie, the CRTC’s vice-chair of broadcasting, announced the delay during a presentation to the Standing Committee on Industry earlier this month.

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Vidéotron signs high-speed resale agreements with two internet providers

Vidéotron ltée became the first cable operator to comply with the CRTC’s order to resell high-speed Internet service to independent Internet service providers (ISPs) last week, but the battle over third-party access is far from over. The Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP) quickly fired off a letter to the commission asking it to force Vidéotron to charge wholesale rates that are 25% lower than the price it charges its cable subscribers. 

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Youth News Network plans to rollout in new year despite attacks from educators

After several delays and despite fierce opposition, the Youth News Network (YNN) is proceeding with plans to launch a national television network available through high schools. Rod MacDonald, president of YNN parent Athena Educational Partners Inc (AEP), told CCR his company is currently doing dry runs and getting feedback from focus groups on programming. He expects to be on the air after schools return from the Christmas break.

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Technology makes digital deployment affordable for small cablecos

A growing number of small cable operators are looking at deploying digital cable sooner than anyone expected thanks to a satellite-based technology solution that would save them thousands of dollars in capital costs. It's a technology that could also ensure the future for Canada's small cable industry, which faces intense competition from new and well-financed digital competitors such as satellite TV and wireless cable.

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Regional begins switch to digital

Constrained by a lack of bandwidth, Regional Cablesystems Inc has moved quickly to launch digital service in the Timmins and Sudbury areas. Rollout of new digital services will start this February, and company executives are hoping to have the swap-out process finished by next spring. When the rollout is finished, 63,000 subscribers will have access to an all-inclusive package that will include a digital music offering. Regional will use the additional capacity gained by the conversion to digital to add a new tier of programming.

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Broadcast regulator expected to boost monitoring role during next three years

Having exhaustively reviewed almost all of Canada's major broadcasting policies in the last three years, the country's under-funded and overworked broadcast regulator is poised to take on more of a monitoring role during the next three years. As the CRTC puts the finishing touches on its new three-year strategic plan early in the new year, it's unlikely that it will propose to take on any new major initiatives during that time.

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Business as usual for iCraveTV.com

Internet broadcaster iCraveTV .com has ignored cease and desist letters by broadcasters and television programming rights holders to stop streaming 17 TV stations from the Toronto area and Buffalo NY over the Internet. As it continues to defy threats of legal action by Canadian and US interests, iCrave is actively planning the expansion of its service into Western Canada.

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Satellite hopefuls urge Ottawa to exclude Telesat from orbital slot race

Potential new players in the Canadian facilities-based satellite market are urging the federal government to exclude the incumbent from a competition to award one of two remaining Canadian orbital slots for fixed satellite services (FSS). Four companies or partnerships — including at least two foreign players — want to challenge Telesat Canada’s satellite monopoly, saying competition will lower satellite costs, promote efficiency, and facilitate the development of innovative, higher value services.

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