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CCR Short Takes

News | 06/05/2006 4:00 am EDT

CRTC settles part of inside wiring dispute
Broadcast distributors servicing buildings that house transient residents – such as hotels, hospitals and nursing homes – will not have to open up their inside wiring to competitors, according to Broadcasting Public Notice 2006-68. The CRTC ruled on May 29 that its stated goal of increasing end-user choice would not be served by granting access to the inside wiring in such buildings to all broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs), because the "residents" in such an arrangement are neither permanent nor have any power over contracts to deliver broadcast service. The ruling was in response to a complaint originally brought against Rogers Cable Communications Inc. in February 2005 by Bell ExpressVu. The DTH provider claimed that Rogers was contravening section 10 of the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations by not granting it free and unfettered access to inside wiring in such locations, as well as in retail and commercial premises such as stores and banks. Other communications service providers, such as Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (MTS), SaskTel and Telus Corp., soon chimed in after the commission put out a call for comments in August 2005, saying that the lack of mandatory access to inside wiring was harming competition to provide their services. However, the commission ruled in 2006-68 that because their businesses were predominantly regulated by the Telecommunications Act rather than the Broadcasting Act, their complaint lay largely outside the scope of the current matter. The commission also noted that even by the most generous estimates, the size of the transient residency and commercial establishment markets for broadcast services was small.

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