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CCR Short Takes

News | 07/30/2004 4:00 am EDT

CRTC considers mandatory order over Star Choice dispute
The CRTC is considering issuing a mandatory order that would force direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV distributor Star Choice Television Network Inc. to pay overdue wholesale rate payments of more than $1 million to MusiquePlus Inc. (Broadcasting Notice of Public Hearing 2004-7). The matter will be considered at a public hearing on September 7 in Gatineau PQ. As of February 2004, Star Choice was in arrears to MusiquePlus by $1.12 million, according to the broadcaster. It was Star Choice that on May 1, 2003 asked the CRTC to resolve a dispute between it and MusiquePlus, the licensee of two French-language specialty services, MusiMax and MusiquePlus. The dispute concerned the wholesale rate payments owed and payable by Star Choice to MusiquePlus in both the Quebec market and the rest of Canada between the periods of July 31, 2001 to August 31, 2003, and September 1, 2003 and August 31, 2006. Both parties were asked to submit final offers with rationale to the CRTC. On December 23, 2003, the CRTC chose the offer submitted by MusiquePlus, but considered the proposal to begin July 31, 2001, the date marking the beginning of the period upon which the commission’s determination had been sought, rather than September 1, 2000 as the starting date for the wholesale rate payments. Alleging that Star Choice failed to make wholesale rate payments in compliance with the CRTC decision, MusiquePlus requested that the regulator issue a mandatory order to Star Choice, pursuant to subsection 12(2) of the Broadcasting Act.

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