Four telecom companies, under the collective name Cable Cable, have settled a dispute with the municipality of Kawartha Lakes, ON over access issues after arriving at a negotiated settlement. The companies, Cable Cable Inc., Fenelon Cable Inc., Bobcaygeon Cable Inc., and ccROUTE Inc., had found themselves at loggerheads with the municipality over rates to be paid to build and maintain a fibre optic telecommunications network in the area. While the city was proposing a fee that would have cost the small carriers $40,000 a year, the final figure of $2,000 earmarked for nature trail maintenance as a sign of good faith by the companies sees them gain access to the Victoria Rail Trail Corridor. The companies had been asking the CRTC to confirm their free access to public highways and municipal properties in the region in order to construct and maintain a fibre optic network. In a letter to the CRTC, Cable Cable expressed frustration that negotiations started with the city in March were leading nowhere, since the municipality did not provide acceptable terms and conditions for access. The property in question is two portions of the Victoria Rail Trail Corridor that span from the Village of Fenelon Falls to Lindsay and from Lindsay to Bethany. Cable Cable had asked for an expeditious treament of its request, citing Public Notice 2001-99 in which the commission enunciated a series of principles to be applied when establishing acceptable terms and conditions for a carrier to gain access to public highways located in the municipality. However, as the complaint filed to the CRTC indicated, the city of Kawartha Lakes hadn’t given the companies any clear terms of procedure, and was proposing "excessive and unnecessary" land fees. The municipality was demanding annual payments from Cable Cable for access to its municipal property, which Cable Cable believes would exceed causal costs and amounts to an annual "market-based" rate, something that the CRTC had previously deemed not necessary nor appropriate. Moreover, the two parties could not agree on other costs such as relocation and liabilities, with the companies saying their business would suffer greatly if they could not gain access to the area. Cable Cable had argued that the commission has the authority under the Telecommunications Act to give them permission to access municipal property in the area under dispute, and also to grant an interim order allowing them to install the network. The request was based on regulations which indicate the entering on and breaking up of any highway or other public place by a carrier for the purpose of constructing, maintaining or operating its transmission lines is subject to exclusive federal constitutional jurisdiction. However, Cable Cable conceded that the VIA corridor cannot be considered a highway, which prompted the city to propose a fee of $0.75/metre/year. The negotiations were brought to a halt, since the proposed fee was not economically viable for the telecom group.From Cable Cable’s point of view, its demands were reasonable and within the law. The appendix to the CRTC complaint lists a series of failed meetings and exchanges between the parties. Cable Cable general manager Michael Fiorino tells Network Letter that he’s pleased with the outcome. The application was withdrawn by Cable Cable on August 25.