OTTAWA – Consumer rights group the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) said today that basic television service in Canada is not affordable and that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) should not further burden consumers with unnecessary “mandatory carriage” services.
PIAC represented the Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC), Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of British Columbia (COSCO), and National Pensioners and Senior Citizens Federation (NPSCF) before the CRTC in an oral hearing today on applications for mandatory distribution on basic television service. PIAC urged the CRTC to balance consumers’ interest in access to truly exceptional services and maintaining consumer choice and affordability. PIAC asked the CRTC to grant mandatory distribution only in exceptional cases.
“Canadian consumers are concerned about the increasing cost of basic television services,” said Janet Lo, Counsel for PIAC. “Each additional service the CRTC requires distributors to carry leads to higher prices for consumers and restricts consumers’ ability to select the broadcasting services they want,” she added.
PIAC’s presentation called on the CRTC to scrutinize basic television service prices offered to consumers. PIAC noted the trend of increased cost and size of basic television service packages offered in the market.
“Television providers have said to the Commission that approval of any services for mandatory distribution would significantly increase consumer cost and reduce consumer flexibility,” Lo said. “Canadians deserve transparency if the television providers will use this excuse to increase the cost of basic service.” Lo further noted, “Television providers themselves control the level of packaging flexibility offered to consumers.”
PIAC opposed the majority of the applications for mandatory distribution on basic television service. PIAC supported only a few select services that meet the high bar of the Commission’s criteria: Canadian Public Affairs Channel, Accessible Media Inc. Television, Accessible Media Inc. Audio, and the Legislative Assemblies of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. PIAC conditionally supported other applicants with reservations about their proposed wholesale rates: the Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network, Canal M, AMI-tv Français, Avis de Recherche, and All Points Bulletin.
Read the PIAC/CAC/COSCO/NPSCF oral remarks to the CRTC:

thumb_pdfDownload File: 91hpresentation_final.pdf [size: 0.04 mb]

For more information:
Janet Lo
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
ONE Nicholas Street, Suite 1204
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 7B7
(613) 562-4002×24
mobile: (613) 816-5688

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