The CRTC will release its decision on the divisive value-for-signal issue Monday. The value-for-signal decision will be part of a broader decision on a group-based licensing approach to conventional television, which the CRTC considered in a hearing last year. Media and industry representatives will have an opportunity to preview the decision behind closed doors before it is publicly released at 4 p.m. Monday. Speculation has emerged that the decision could include a system similar to the retransmission consent regime in the United States, which CTV proposed at a hearing last November. Under the CTV proposal, stations that offer local programming would elect to negotiate the terms of signal carriage every three years. If the parties can't agree, television stations could withhold their signals or the distributors could refuse to carry them. The CRTC would not set rates for value for signal, but would support negotiations and ensure “good faith” bargaining. Broadcasters CTV and CanWest have been leading the value-for-signal campaign, arguing that the distributors should pay to carry their free, over-the-air channels. Distributors Shaw Communications and Rogers Communications strongly oppose any value for signal fees. At a conference in Ottawa last month, CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein encouraged the broadcasters and distributors reach an agreement—one that does not necessarily involve the payment of fees. An agreement could involve "in kind" terms, he said, in which distributors trade something for the carriage of over-the-air signals. “It can be in terms of ‘in kind,’ in terms of offering special deals on specialty channels, or on show times, or whatever,” von Finckenstein said. It’s not yet clear how Shaw’s plan to take control of CanWest’s broadcast assets could affect the issue, but observers say the deal could extinguish the CanWest’s support for value-for-signal.