Liberal Senator Michael Kirby has taken a temporary leave from the Senate subcommittee on communications, which is examining issues associated with media convergence and e-commerce. He is expected to re-join the committee in the fall.
New GSO plan adopted at WRC
Canada has helped broker a deal for a new broadcasting satellite plan for Europe, Africa and the Asia Pacific region. The agreement was adopted at the World Radiocommunication Conference in Istanbul. The new plan assigns one orbital position per country throughout both Europe and Africa from which the equivalent of 10 analog channels can be delivered. For Asia and Australia, 12 analog channels are available per country's orbital position. The decisions of WRC-2000 enable countries to take possession of the orbital positions once they're in an economic position to do so, without fear of losing the spectrum bands.
After four straight quarters of losses and a painful foray into digital media production, Behaviour Communications Inc has a new name, a new owner and a new business plan that shareholders hope will put the Montreal-based company back in the black.
Among the hundreds of applications for new digital specialty licences is a proposal from the founder of Vision TV for new network that promises to attract both subscribers and advertisers interested in the environment and sustainable development. David Nostbakken is now president and CEO of WETV International Inc, a Canadian-owned international specialty channel that features programming from developing countries and independent producers.
Digital TV applicants will have little time to convince the CRTC of the merits of their applications when Canada's largest broadcasting hearing begins August 14. The commission is struggling with the regulatory logistics of creating a 500-channel universe within the span of only a few months, and for most applicants, that will mean the first-ever paper proceeding for broadcast licensing. And depending on the outcome, the process could become established practice for licensing future new digital television channels.
Cable company revenues from base services showed a sharp slowdown in growth last year, and the number of basic and premium subscribers actually shrank in some regions, the CRTC's 1999 Broadcast Distribution Undertaking (BDU) Financial Summary shows.
The CRTC has dismissed complaints filed by Torstar Corp against three Toronto-area cable companies that refused to carry its specialty channel. Torstar, the parent company of Torstar Electronic Publishing, operates an exempt programming service, Toronto Star Television (TSTV), which is distributed on several Toronto-area cable systems.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corp is considering satellite distribution as an alternative to over-the-air transmission, according to an internal task force studying the sell-off of the company's broadcast infrastructure. A document prepared by the task force, and obtained by CCR, reveals that the CBC's cost-cutting options include partnering with other broadcasters and maintaining analog transmission while distributing digital signals without any over-the-air transmission. It says the public broadcaster is also working with information technology companies on "convergence" at the distribution level.
Michael Boychuk is the new CFO of Teleglobe Inc. He replaces Claude Seguin, who remains at the company as a special advisor. The BCE subsidiary is the holding company for Teleglobe Communications Corp, which made a number of senior appointments recently.