Shaw Cablesystems Ltd. has asked the CRTC to step in and referee a two-year-old dispute between it and the City of Vancouver over a municipal access arrangement (MAA). The Shaw Communications Inc. subsidiary says that before it commits millions of dollars to expand broadband infrastructure the company wants to secure a long-term access arrangement with the city, noting that Vancouver is only willing to discuss short-term agreements.  "Shaw requires a municipal access agreement of longer duration for network planning, budgeting purposes, as well as the resolution of other terms including applicable fees or other compensation," the company writes in a December 6 Part VII filed with the commission.  Ken Stein, senior VP of corporate and regulatory affairs at Shaw Communications, says the dispute with the City of Vancouver boils down to two issues. "One is that they won’t discuss with us a long-term agreement, and we can’t plan to continue to develop our high-speed Internet, to offer digital telephone services, to invest millions and millions of dollars unless (we) have some kind of long-term agreement, and number two is they refuse to recognize the jurisdiction of the CRTC," he tells Network Letter.  The jurisdictional wrangling relates to a 1993 Supreme Court of British Columbia decision in an access agreement case brought by the City of Vancouver against Shaw and Rogers Cable Inc., dubbed the "Wirevision Agreement", that expired in 2002. The problem arises from an asset exchange agreement between Shaw and Rogers, which took effect in November 2000. Shaw contends that it didn’t become party to an agreement with the City of Vancouver as part of its asset transfer with Rogers, while the city maintains its position that Shaw had assumed the obligations of the amended Wirevision Agreement. The city is seeking payment of fees owed for the years of 2001 and 2002, and feels British Columbia’s highest court is the proper venue in which to hash out a solution. "It is the city’s position that these matters are clearly within the court’s jurisdiction," Susan Horne, a lawyer with Farris Vaughn Wills & Murphy who is representing the City of Vancouver, writes in a December 23 letter to the commission.  When contacted by Network Letter for an interview, Horne didn’t want to comment on the case until the city’s comments were officially filed with the commission on January 19. The company wants the CRTC to grant Shaw access to public highways and other Vancouver municipal property on terms consistent with those set out in the Ledcor decision (Telecom Decision 2001-23). Shaw wants an agreement of 20 years or any other term of sufficiently long duration. Among other requested relief, the company wants the commission to grant an order "that all disputes, regarding the interpretation, application or amendment of the terms of access, be referred to the commission (if not otherwise resolved by the parties)…" The company also wants the commission to apply the terms and conditions retroactively to Nov. 1, 2000.  The Part VII comes at a time when the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and some of the country’s largest cities are balking at the CRTC’s jurisdiction in regulating municipal access arrangements. The FCM, along with the cities of Edmonton and Vancouver, were recently denied intervener status in disputes that MTS Allstream has with the City of Toronto and the City of Calgary in Telecom Decision 2004-79, which was released on the same day that Shaw filed its Part VII.  The Supreme Court of Canada has already ruled on the jurisdictional issue, saying that the CRTC does in fact have the right to regulate municipal access arrangements.