The Canadian Independent Distributors Group (CIDG), a group of more than 100 TV distributors, has filed a reply proposal in its ongoing carriage dispute with BCE Inc. division Bell Media. In a letter filed Monday with the CRTC, which is mediating the dispute, the CIDG sought to clarify when and how its members can repackage Bell’s specialty services and when they would be prepared to pay for those services on a penetration-based pricing system, as proposed by Bell. The two sides appeared before CRTC commissioners last week for a public hearing, resulting from a request from the distributors for mediation. The distributors coalition represents Bragg Communications Inc., the more than 100 members of the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance (CCSA), Cogeco Cable Inc., MTS Inc. and Telus Corp. Bell has proposed a penetration-based rate model for 12 disputed channels, including Bell's Category A (must offer) and Category C (sports and news) channels, which the company says would give the distributors the flexibility to repackage channels without its permission. Under Bell's model, the distributors would pay more to move Bell channels into lower-penetration packages. The distributors' reply letter said Bell has characterized CIDG’s position as seeking “unfettered flexibility” but the distributors accepted new “fetters when it presented its proposal at the hearing and accepted some of the proposals made by Bell.” Scott Henderson, vice-president of communications at Bell Media, said in an emailed statement that the distributors “continue to suggest that somehow adding new packages does not constitute a repackaging of services.” Henderson added: “In their latest letter, they’ve simply confirmed their position – they want fixed rates, but aren’t prepared to commit to set packaging or even consult us with respect to packaging changes.” A round of final offer arbitration is expected in April.