CRTC Sets Rules for Cable, Satellite Carriage of DTV Signals

November 17, 2003
The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has set out rules for distribution of over-the-air DTV by cable TV and direct-to-home satellite systems. The rules give priority to carriage of over-the-air Canadian DTV signals. The CRTC Press Release said distribution undertakings (cable TV and satellite direct-to-home services, for example) will be required to carry both the analog and digital versions of priority services until at least 85 percent of their subscribers are capable of receiving digital services. At that point, they may apply to the CRTC to discontinue analog signal distribution.

CRTC said 75 percent of the Canadian television audiences receives television services from "broadcast distribution undertakings," the CRTC's description of cable and direct-to-home satellite providers. Charles Dalfen, CRTC Chairman, commented, "For the transition to digital to work, digital services need to be widely distributed so that Canadians can watch them. Giving viewers better access to digital signals, including high definition signals, will help drive the transition to digital, to the benefit of the broadcasting system as a whole."

The Public Notice describing the framework indicated that distribution of multicast programming would be handled on a case-by-case basis.

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