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PIAC says Vertical Integration Protections Must Extend to Consumers

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), which participated in the proceedings giving rise to today’s CRTC Decision Regulatory Policy 2011- 601, expressed its satisfaction with the determination by the Commission that vertical integration (VI) presents potential problems that may lead to abuse of market power with serious effects upon Canadian creators, programmers and consumers.

However , PIAC also noted while the decision ensured that needed protections were afforded to industry players including non-exclusivity of programming designed for television, and a code of conduct for commercial arrangements, protections for individual consumers are incomplete.

“With the reluctance to accept a modified basic cable/or satellite package that would reduce subscriber commitment, the CRTC has kicked the can down the road when it comes to consumer choice and value for service” said Michael Janigan, executive director and general counsel of PIAC.

He noted that the CRTC plans to revisit the issue next year when VI players must report on their efforts to increase consumer choice. PIAC had strongly supported a “skinny basic” model noting that cable and satellite basic TV service had almost doubled in price since the CRTC had stopped regulating the basic rate.

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Regulatory Policy 2011- 601

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