The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports.
Jan Pachul has landed himself in a classic David versus Goliath scenario. Last week, the CRTC rejected the Toronto businessman’s application for a community television station for east Toronto (see lead story). But it appears the battle is far from over.
Sudbury native Sean Brushett has been appointed VP of marketing at Thomcast Communications Inc, a supplier of microwave transmitting equipment. Brushett will develop and drive the marketing strategy for both Thomcast’s core technologies, operations and new initiatives. Most recently he served as senior marketing manager/director of marketing for Cox Communications in New Orleans.
Cinar may disclose more information from internal audit
Cinar Corp plans to disclose some of the findings of an internal audit in the next few days. The company also appears close to striking a tax settlement with the federal and provincial governments. The company’s auditors, Ernst & Young, indicated recently they may not sign off on the company’s books for the next several months, leading some observers to speculate that Cinar will never produce audited statements. Meanwhile, the company’s shares have been delisted by the Nasdaq Stock Market, and remain halted on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
After years of squabbling between telcos, cablecos, new competitors and building owners, the CRTC has finally initiated a proceeding to establish rules for in-building access. Released August 25, Telecom PN 2000-124 will examine the possible fees, charges and other terms and conditions associated with access to multi-units dwellings (MUDs). The proceeding will look at the rules for facilities used by broadcast distributors, incumbent local exchange carriers and competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs).
Internet service providers (ISPs) can start selling cable Internet service early next year, assuming negotiations go smoothly with cablecos on the remaining technical and contractual agreements. The arrival of a competitive retail market for high-speed cable access has been a long time coming, but with the CRTC’s release of Order 2000-789 on August 21, it appears the biggest regulatory hurdle has now been cleared.
CRTC commissioners are quickly that more digital television channels doesn’t necessarily mean a wealth of new original Canadian programming. The first two weeks into the commission’s licensing hearing for digital specialty channels – PN 2000-22— revealed a trend by many applicants to rely heavily on repeat programming from their other television channels, at least during the early days of low digital penetration. The practice – referred to as "nesting" by some – poses a difficult policy dilemma for the CRTC, which has a mandate to promote diverse and original Canadian programming.
A consensus has emerged among digital channel applicants that new Category 1 licensees must hit the market by September 1, 2001 at the latest, and it seems to be a view CRTC commissioners support. What isn’t as clear though, is how these new services will be offered. Pure pick-and-pay may be what many consumers prefer, but it doesn’t appear this will be an option for Category 1 services. How much real choice viewers will have next September will depend on how the bundles are offered, and that’s still an unknown.
A "grey market" for digital satellite radio could open up next year in Canada, no matter what the federal government decides to do about the issue of harmonized radio frequencies, an industry expert says. Industry Canada is considering bringing certain radio frequencies in line with those in the United States. The band that has Canada’s broadcasting industry worried is 2320-2345 MHz, frequencies that will be used in the U.S. for digital audio radio service by satellite (DARS). Some broadcasters want the department to hold off on decisions until there is a comprehensive review of satellite radio in Canada.
Though denied a licence to launch a community TV station, Jan Pachul isn’t about to give up his plan to broadcast over-the-air. He says that he will launch a pirate UHF channel to complement the web content he’s already announced. Pachul is also taking his fight to the federal Cabinet, the Competition Bureau and the court of public opinion after a narrow majority of CRTC commissioners turned down his application for a low-power TV service in east Toronto.