Specialty services and broadcasters could end up paying more for their satellite capacity if the CRTC forces Telesat Canada to pay into a subsidy fund for local telephone service. The BCE Inc-owned satellite carrier, and its subsidiary TMI Communications Inc, have asked the commission to exempt itself and a subsidiary from the new subsidy pool, warning that any increase in satellite costs will be passed onto its customers. More than half of Telesat’s customers are broadcast services. "If the Decision (2000-745) remains unvaried, its impact will be to transfer a substantial new cost burden associated with high cost local telephone service primarily on to the broadcasting community of Canada," Telesat and TMI Communications write in their Feb. 28 application. It adds that if the new contribution system isn’t varied, Telesat’s customers will be collectively on the hook for about $8.3 million in 2001: "The result will clearly be that millions of dollars each year will be diverted away from the development of new Canadian programming services." Telesat also warns that the subsidy payments would also be passed onto new digital channel licensees, which haven’t considered such costs in their business plans.