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CCR Short Takes

News | 11/22/2002 5:00 am EST

Cable standards council downsizes, hopes to keep Shaw
The Cable Television Standards Council (CTSC) is cutting two of four staff members, and relocating to cheaper office space – a move that it hopes will convince Shaw Communications Inc. to remain as a member. CTSC president and CEO Gerry Lavallée tells Canadian Communications Reports, "They (Shaw) have indicated to us that they would like to resign by December 1. However, we are working quite hard to try to keep them in the fold." Lavallée says the council upped the amount it charged members from 7.5 cents to 8.5 cents per year for each subscriber a cableco has when Vidéotron ltée left the organization last year. He anticipates that if Shaw were to remain a member, then the rate would fall two or three cents per subscriber with the cuts. If it doesn’t, then the remaining members will probably have to pay the existing amount and get less service. Lavallée says the CTSC’s budget will be finalized on January 4, with it going to the board for approval in February. Shaw currently pays $170,000 of the council’s $600,000 budget. He adds that he’s in constant contact with Vidéotron, and hopes that the Quebec-based cableco will one day also rejoin the organization. The CTSC is also in the process of subleasing its 16,000-square-foot office space on the 19th floor of 350 Albert Street in Ottawa, and relocating to 500-square feet of space in the Canadian Cable Television Association’s offices at 360 Albert. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) made a similar cost-cutting move this year by moving under the same roof as the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) (CCR, Oct. 24/02). Customer complaints about the practices of cable companies that aren’t members of the CTSC would normally go to the CRTC. But Shaw has indicated it plans to set up an internal process to deal with customer complaints.

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